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Bolshoi Ballet dancer, 2 others confess to acid attack, police say

March 06, 2013|By Khristina Narizhnaya
  • Bolshoi Ballet dancer Pavel Dmitrichenko has been detained in the attack on the company's artistic director.
Bolshoi Ballet dancer Pavel Dmitrichenko has been detained in the attack… (Alexander Zemlianichenko…)

MOSCOW -- Three suspects detained in connection with the acid attack on Bolshoi Ballet artistic director Sergei Filin have confessed and face up to 12 years in prison, Moscow police said Wednesday.

Bolshoi principal dancer Pavel Dmitrichenko confessed Wednesday to organizing the attack, and the other men, Yuri Zarutski and Andrei Lipatov confessed to carrying it out, a statement on the Interior Ministry's website said.

"I organized the attack, but not to the extent of the damage that happened," Dmitrichenko said, stone-faced, to Russian news Channel One. The dancer, who has performed such roles as the Evil Genius in Swan Lake and Russia's brutal ruler Ivan Grozny in a ballet of the same name, planned the assault for "personal resentment related to his work," police said, according to Russian media reports. 

Zarutski threw the acid at Filin, 42, on the night of Jan. 17, searing his face, neck and eyes with third-degree burns, while Lipatov drove Zarutski to Filin’s apartment building, then drove him away when he fled the crime scene, police said.

Zarutski has been previously convicted for beating someone to death, police said.

Police said they found the suspects by tracing a suspiciously high number of cellphone calls made between the three on the night of the attack. The men were detained Tuesday in Moscow and the surrounding region after their apartments were searched, officials said.

The attack put a spotlight on bitter, deep-seated infighting and intrigue at the Bolshoi, one of the world's top ballet theaters. Dmitrichenko's girlfriend, Anzhelina Vorontsova, is reported to have had a conflict with Filin because he didn't assign her the roles she wanted.

Filin, who had stated earlier that he knows who organized the attack, is undergoing treatment in Germany and is expected to come back to work by the summer.

However, Bolshoi principal dancer Nikolay Tsiskaridze, who was one of the first to be questioned by the police after the attack, said he does not believe Dmitrichenko had anything to do with the assault.

"I think that this is related to the criticism that they didn't, and won't, find anyone. Now they are making it look like they did," Tsiskaridze told Russian newspaper Gazeta.ru.

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