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Acid attack on Sergei Filin

Posted on January 18, 2013

bolshoi andrew-bayda-fotolia.comSergei Filin, the artistic director of the Bolshoi Ballet, has been the victim of an acid attack, the New York Times reports. On January 17, Filin was opening the gate to his home when a masked man shouted his name and threw the contents of a bottle in his face. Filin has third degree burns, and his eyesight is threatened.

Filin, who signed a five-year contract as director of the Bolshoi in 2011, had been threatened before. In recent weeks, his mobile phone and email accounts had been hacked and correspondence published. Dilyara Timergazina, Filin’s assistant, has said that he refused the offer of a bodyguard.

“Sergei was constantly receiving threats after he took up this post,” Katerina Novikova, the Bolshoi’s press spokeswoman, told Russia’s Channel One, adding that his predecessors had also been under attack. “We never thought that this war for roles – and not for real estate or oil – could reach such a criminal level. And we always wanted to believe that people connected with theatre would have a minimal level of morality. That’s why this is an absolutely frightening story.”

The Bolshoi leadership has been troubled for years, with a long wait to replace former director Yuri Burlaka and the resignation of Gennady Yanin after sexually explicit pictures allegedly of him were posted on the internet. Filin has clashed with principal dancer. Alexei Ratmansky, who directed the Bolshoi until 2008, has written on Facebook that the incident was “not a coincidence”, wishing Filin “swift recovery and courage”.


Picture: The Bolshoi Theatre. Photograph: Andrew Bayda,

Zoë was born in Edinburgh, and saw her first dance performances at the Festival there. She is the dance critic of The Independent, and has also written for The Independent on Sunday, The Scotsman and Dancing Times. In 2002, she received her doctorate from the University of York for a thesis on “Nationhood and epic romance: Ariosto, Sidney, Spenser”. She is the author of The Royal Ballet: 75 Years and The Ballet Lover’s Companion.

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