Photo: REUTERS/Anton Tarasov
The violent scandal at the heart of the Russian ballet could get even uglier.
Pavel Dmitrichenko, a soloist with the Bolshoi Theatre who had played the lead in “Ivan the Terrible”, admitted this week to organising an attack that saw acid thrown on the face of the theatre’s artistic directer.
However, victim’s Sergei Filin’s family say they don’t believe Dmitrichenko acted alone, the Associated Press reports.
The scandal began one January evening in Moscow when a man walked up to Filin near his home, asked for him by name, and threw acid into his face, covering him with third degree burns and severely damaging his eyesight, according to the Guardian.Following the incident, Filin’s mother told the Russian press that her son had been receiving threatening phone calls for a weeks, and a Bolshoi spokesperson said his tires had been slashed a number of times. Bolshoi staff members believe the attack was the result of professional jealousy.
While Dmitrichenko seems to have accepted full responsibility for organising the attack, and will appear in court this week with the alleged hit man and his driver, there may still be more to the story.
FIlin’s family’s comments suggest that lingering suspicion of Nikolai Tsiskaridze, star principal dancer with the Bolshoi Ballet, is involved. Tsiskardize had been questioned as a witness to the crime, but denied any involvement.
According to ABC News’s Kirit Radia, Tsiskaridze is the mentor of Dmitrichenko’s partner Anzhelina Vorontsova, and both men had accused Filin of spitefully passing her over for the top role in “Swan Lake”.The Associated Press reports severel members of ballet company who attended the hearing said they couldn’t believe that Dmitrichenko had masterminded the attack. One dancer suggested he must have confessed under duress — “The man we saw is half the man we knew,” Andrei Bolotin says.
There certainly seems to a lot of bad blood in the Bolshoi. Anatoly Iksanov, general director of the theatre, recently told the Daily Telegraph, “Tsiskaridze is like an abscess.”
In an apparently unrelated case, Svetlana Lunkina, a renowned Russian ballerina with the famed Bolshoi Theatre, told a Russian newspaper in January that she is afraid to return from Canada to Moscow due to threats on her life.
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