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Bolshoi acid attack: arrests

Posted on March 7, 2013

bolshoi andrew-bayda-fotolia.comDancer Pavel Dmitrichenko is one of three people arrested in connection with the acid attack on Sergei Filin, artistic director of the Bolshoi Ballet. He is accused of hiring Yuri Zarutsky and Andrei Lipatov to attack Filin. All three men have been denied bail.



In a Moscow court hearing on March 7, Dmitrichenko admitted that he had agreed to an attack on Filin, but denied that he had authorised the use of acid. Zarutsky is accused of carrying out the assault, while Lipatov is suspected of driving the getaway vehicle.


Dmitrichenko, who joined the Bolshoi in 2002, is a leading soloist with the company. His repertoire includes the title roles in Spartacus and Ivan the Terrible and the Evil Genius in Yuri Grigorovich’s production of Swan Lake. He was due to appear in The Sleeping Beauty on March 16, but will be held in custody until at least April 18.


Reports suggest that Dmitrichenko clashed with Filin over fellow dancer Angelina Vorontsova, whose career has apparently stagnated under Filin’s directorship. Russian newspaper Izvestia suggests that Vorontsova asked Filin for the role of Odette-Odile in Swan Lake last December. He is alleged to have replied: “Go and look in the mirror. What sort of Odette-Odile would you make?” However, he did cast her in the principal role in The Nutcracker. He is believed to have advised Vorontsova, who is coached by dancer Nikolai Tsiskaridze, to get a female teacher.


Dmitrichenko and Vorontsova have been romantically linked. Izvestia reports that when the couple complained about Filin to Tsiskaridze, he allegedly replied, “What if he should no longer wish to see himself in the mirror?” When the attack on Filin occurred, this clash was already known to the Bolshoi administration. Bolshoi manager Anatoly Iksanov had accused Tsiskaridze of inspiring the attack, if not being behind it. Tsiskaridze was questioned as part of the investigation, but has denied any involvement.


Izvestia has also reported that Dmitrichenko is a computer expert, suggesting that he may have been connected to the disruption of Filin’s email.


After a series of operations on his eyes, Filin has been moved to Germany, where doctors hope that further treatment may improve his vision.


With thanks to Tony Devereux for translation and additional reporting.


Picture: Bolshoi Theatre, Moscow. Photograph: Andrew Bayda, Fotalia

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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