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Russian police detain suspect in Bolshoi acid attack

March 05, 2013|By Khristina Narizhnaya
  • Bolshoi Ballet's artistic director Sergei Filin speaks to journalists as he leaves a hospital in Moscow where he was treated after the acid attack.
Bolshoi Ballet's artistic director Sergei Filin speaks to journalists… (AFP/Getty Images )

MOSCOW -- Police detained and questioned a suspect Tuesday in the acid attack that almost blinded Sergei Filin, the artistic director of the Bolshoi Ballet, casting a shadow on Moscow’s recently renovated iconic theater and exposing longtime bitter infighting among its dancers.

The suspect, whose house was searched, is believed to be one of two or more people who carried out the attack, police said.

The unidentified man had no direct connection to the Bolshoi but was involved in the attack on Filin, said Russian tabloid news site Life News, citing an unnamed police source. Investigators used cellphone records to find the suspect, Life News reported.

Police also searched the house of principal dancer Pavel Dmitrichenko, but it was not clear whether he is considered a suspect. Police left shortly after they did not find the dancer at his official address, Russian newspaper Izvestia reported.

Police conducting the investigation were looking at dancers within the Bolshoi, reports published last month said.

A masked assailant threw sulfuric acid at Filin's face outside of his home on Jan. 17, searing his face and neck with third-degree burns and damaging his eyesight.

He is now in Germany receiving treatment. He has had more than 10 surgeries, and his condition is steadily improving, Bolshoi spokesperson Katerina Novikova said. Filin, 42, may be back to work as early as the upcoming summer, Novikova said.

"The detainment gives us hope that the perpetrators will be found and punished," Novikova said, adding that those who have been threatening Filin over the telephone and who hacked his Facebook page prior to the attack also need to be found.

Filin, who has worked at the Bolshoi since 2011, was in charge of assigning roles to a troupe of 200 people.

"There were many who were satisfied with him and many who were not," Novikova said. She did not elaborate but said there was no noticeable tension in the troupe.

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