Bolshoi dancer goes on trial over acid attack

MOSCOW, Dmitry Zaks- A Bolshoi dancer accused of organising a horrific acid attack against the famed Moscow ballet company's artistic director went on trial Wednesday, with hearings expected to shed more light on infighting inside the troupe.
Soloist Pavel Dmitrichenko faces up to 12 years in prison after being charged with planning a January assault against his former boss Sergei Filin.

Bolshoi dancer goes on trial over acid attack
He is being held in detention along with Yury Zarutsky -- accused of flinging a mix of sulfuric acid and urine in Filin's face -- and a driver who drove the assailant to the scene named Andrei Lipatov.
Wednesday's preliminary hearing was held behind closed doors and dealt with procedural issues rather than the essence of the case.
Filin's lawyer Tatyana Stukalova said her client and the Russian government would both seek damages from the accused.
"The health ministry will seek compensation for the money it spent on (Filin's) treatment," Stukalova told the Rossiyskaya Gazeta government daily.
"And we will seek compensation for moral damages," she said.
The attack outside Filin's apartment block in Moscow virtually blinded the 42-year-old artistic director and former ballet star and left him with severe facial burns.
But it also laid bare the rifts and jealousies that run deep at one of the world's most prestigious artistic institutions -- one that has been Russia's calling card since the Bolshoi's formation in 1776.
Dmitrichenko is suspected of ordering an attack on Filin in an act of personal vengeance. He has admitted to being angry at the limited role played at the theatre by his then girlfriend and fellow dancer Angelina Vorontsova.
The 29-year-old Dmitrichenko has since been ousted by the company while Vorontsova has quit the Bolshoi and is now dancing with the Mikhailovsky ballet in Saint Petersburg to considerable acclaim.
The trial is largely expected to expose the inner workings of the Bolshoi at a time of great upheaval at the venerable company.
The Bolshoi over the summer fired its general director Anatoly Iksanov and replaced him with Vladimir Urin of the Moscow Stanislavsky Theatre.
It also parted ways with flamboyant star dancer Nikolai Tsiskaridze after he waged a bruising war of words with both Filin and Iksanov.
Dmitrichenko -- often cast in dark roles such as Ivan the Terrible in the ballet of the same name -- also admits to having had serious artistic differences with Filin.
The dancer admitted at a bail hearing in August that he had asked Zarutsky to organise an attack that would send Filin a message but not injure him permanently.
The case's chief investigator Dmitry Altynov said Dmitrichenko "experienced shock" upon hearing on television that Filin had his face doused with sulfuric acid.
"His hands started shaking in his knees went weak," the investigator told the Moskovsky Komsomolets tabloid. "He could not eat, drink or talk."
Filin triumphantly returned to the company's historic home in Moscow in September after undergoing multiple operations in Germany on his eyes.
But he wore a thick pair of wrap-around sunglasses -- a sign that he is still battling for his sight and will likely need more operations abroad before returning to his post full-time.
Filin has been temporarily replaced as the Bolshoi's artistic director by veteran dancer Galina Stepanenko but still retains huge sway over the company.

Monday, October 21st 2013
Dmitry Zaks

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