Acid Attack Takes Dancer From Limelight To Lockup

A former Bolshoi dancer has been convicted in the attack on Bolshoi director Sergei Filin, in which acid was thrown on the man’s face, partially costing him his sight.

Judge Yelena Maximova declared dancer Pavel Dmitrichenko guilty in the attack on Filin, saying that he, as well as two other men, had made plans to hurt Filin in the months prior to the January 17 attack involving sulfuric acid.

For his part in the attack, the dancer will be sentenced to six years in prison; Dmitrichenko admitted to conspiring to have Filin attacked but denied any knowledge of the use of acid. Yuri Zarutsky was found guilty of actually carrying out the acid attack and was sentenced to 10 years; Andrei Lipatov drove Zarutsky from the scene of the acid attack and was sentenced to four years in prison.

Prosecutors asked for a nine-year sentence for Dmitrichenko—who’d been a dancer for the company since 2002—but Judge Maximova saw fit to punish the dancer on a lesser scale, accepting that he had neither asked for nor knew of the use of acid in the attack. The events came to be when Dmitrichenko had complained to Zarutsky about the corrupt goings-on in the Bolshoi company and his treatment as a dancer.

“When he said: ‘OK, let me beat him up, hit him over the head’, I agreed,” the dancer said via the BBC. “But that is all that I admit to doing. It’s not true that I ordered him to throw acid at Filin.”

Testimony throughout the trial revealed a sordid state of affairs within the Bolshoi house, from nepotism and other corruption, with money and favors exchanged for coveted positions. While Filin denied anything less than a meritocratic situation in the company, it’s not the only black eye for the company this year. Dancer Joy Womack, the first American dancer to be accepted to the Bolshoi academy, quit the troupe in November with claims of being extorted.

Dmitrichenko, a dancer who has portrayed the likes of Ivan the Terrible, should not be expecting reconciliation any time soon for the attack.

“I don’t forgive anyone for what happened,” Filin said during his testimony.