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Bolshoi acid case: Filin testifies

Posted on November 7, 2013

bolshoi andrew-bayda-fotolia.comSergei Filin, the Bolshoi artistic director who was injured in an acid attack, has appeared in court. On November 6, he gave evidence against dancer Pavel Dmitrichenko, accused of ordering the attack.


Filin, who has had 23 operations since the attack, denied Dmitrichenko’s accusations that he had taken bribes or had “intimate relations” with young dancers of the Bolshoi Ballet. He blamed Dmitrichenko for the threatening atmosphere at the Bolshoi before the attack, describing his outbursts against Filin’s authority. Before the attack, Filin’s tyres were slashed, his email was hacked and he received threats of violence.

Filin described his pain and fear during the attack, and broke down as he described its after-effects, including damage to his sight. He said that he does not forgive his attackers, and did not look at Dmitrichenko while he was in court. He has another eye operation planned in Germany, and asked the judge if he could be released from further participation in the trial.

Filin has asked for three and a half million roubles in compensation for his injuries. When asked what punishment he sought, he said he left it to the court.

There are three defendants in the trial: Yuri Zarutsky, who has admitted carrying out the attack, Andrei Lipatov, who is accused of driving Zarutsky to the scene, and Dmitrichenko, who is accused of ordering the assault. Dmitrichenko has said he went along with the idea of beating Filin up when Zarutsky spoke of it, but did not order an acid attack. Reading from a prepared statement, he said: “What happened to Filin is a result of Zarutsky’s savage conduct, not a result of my activities.”


With thanks to Tony Devereux for translation.

Picture: the Bolshoi Theatre, Moscow. 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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