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Bolshoi Acid Attack Suspects Held, Dancer’s Home Searched

March 05, 2013

Bolshoi Theater's Artistic Director Sergei Filin

Sergei Filin, artistic director of Bolshoi Ballet, speaks to journalists as he leaves a hospital in Moscow, on Feb. 4, 2013. Source: AFP/Getty Images

Moscow police detained three suspects, including a lead dancer, in the acid attack on the Bolshoi Theater’s artistic director, Sergei Filin.

Bolshoi ballet soloist Pavel Dmitrichenko, who’s been with the theater since 2002, was detained on suspicion of organizing the attack, according to Anatoly Lastovetsky, an Interior Ministry spokesman. The police searched his house earlier today. An ex-convict, who is suspected of throwing the acid in Filin’s face, and his alleged driver are also being held, Lastovetsky said by phone.

Katerina Novikova, a spokeswoman for the Bolshoi Theater, declined to comment immediately.

The police had been probing the possible involvement of Bolshoi ballet dancers and employees in the Jan. 17 assault on Filin, 42. The investigation has fanned rivalries at the historic theater, founded in 1776 by Catherine the Great, between supporters of Filin and of Nikolai Tsiskaridze, the principal dancer.

Tsiskaridze, 39, accused management of waging a Stalin-era witch-hunt against him, while repeatedly denying involvement in the attack.

“They are organizing meetings against me and forcing people to sign letters against me,” Tsiskaridze said in an interview with the British Broadcasting Corp. that was posted on the BBC’s website Feb. 8.

Pornographic Photos

The previous week, Bolshoi General Director Anatoly Iksanov told billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov’s Snob magazine that he believed Tsiskaridze was behind the Internet release of gay pornographic photos that led to the resignation of Filin’s predecessor, Gennady Yanin, in 2011.

In the Snob interview, Iksanov, 61, blamed the Georgian- born dancer for fostering a culture of animosity within the theater by openly seeking Filin’s job, without didn’t accuse Tsiskaridze of ordering the attack on Filin.

Tsiskaridze accused Filin of seeking to turn one of his pupils against him by offering her a part in Swan Lake if she stopped taking lessons from him.

Filin has said that his mobile phones were tampered with and his e-mail and Facebook Inc. accounts hacked in the days before a masked assailant threw acid at his face as he arrived at his home in the Russian capital.

Filin is still being treated in Germany and plans to return to work by the summer, the Bolshoi’s Novikova said on state-run Rossiya 24 television earlier today.

“That the police have a suspect now is great news for the Bolshoi,” Novikova said at the time.

To contact the reporter on this story: Stepan Kravchenko in Moscow at skravchenko@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Balazs Penz at bpenz@bloomberg.net


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