Acid attack dancer ‘had made threats previously’

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THE artistic director of the Bolshoi Ballet has said the dancer arrested on suspicion of authorising an acid attack that badly burned his eyes and face had previously threatened him.

Sergei Filin told Russian state television that someone whom he would not name might have pushed leading soloist Pavel Dmitrichenko, 29, into staging the attack.

Mr Filin, 42, said: “It appears that someone had worked really well on that and pushed him into doing it, since every time, every moment, my every meeting with Pavel Dmitrichenko meant another threat, another show of dislike.”

He said Dmitrichenko – who recently took the title role in Ivan the Terrible – was part of a “narrow circle of people who openly disliked me and threatened me and many other people.”

Mr Filin’s face did not look red and swollen as it had been in early February, when he was last seen in public before flying to Germany for treatment.

Dmitrichenko told a Moscow court last week that he gave his blessing to the 17 January attack, but never expected that the assailant would go as far as to throw acid in Mr Filin’s face. He said he was angry at Mr Filin for what he described as corruption and favouritism at the company.

Dmitrichenko was arrested by police along with the alleged perpetrator of the attack and another man accused of serving as a getaway driver.

Some 300 Bolshoi employees, including leading dancers, have issued an open letter defending Dmitrichenko. They said police failed to produce any evidence of Dmitrichenko’s guilt, and claimed he had been pressured by police into confessing.

Reacting to the letter, Bolshoi general director Anatoly Iksanov yesterday said Dmitrichenko will not be fired unless found guilty. Mr Iksanov said: “If the court proves his innocence, then, sure, we will have no legal grounds to fire Dmitrichenko.”