Bolshoi Ballet Dancer Convicted of Ordering Attack on Artistic Director
A Russian Bolshoi Ballet dancer was on Tuesday convicted of ordering an acid attack that nearly blinded the world-famous Russian dance company's artistic director, with two other people convicted of executing the attack and driving a getaway car, respectively.
Pavel Dmitrichenko had admitted orchestrating the attack, which took place in January, of Sergei Filin, but denied planning or ordering the use of acid. Judge Yelena Maximova told a Moscow court that his guilt -- and that of two co-accused --- had still been "established in full."
The three were all convicted of intentionally causing "grievous bodily harm."
Dmitrichenko, who was due to be sentenced later Tuesday, faces up to nine years in prison. Prosecutors have demanded a 10-year term for Yuri Zarutsky, who carried out the attack, and six years for getaway car driver Andrei Lipatov.
Handcuffed alongside his co-defendants inside a cage in a Moscow courtroom -- standard practice in Russian criminal trials -- Dmitrichenko looked toward a window as the judgment was read.
Dmitrichenko, famous in Russia ballet circles for his role as Ivan the Terrible, said he had intended to have Filin roughed up, but denied ordering that acid be used.
During the trial, which revealed deep rivalries and bitter envy behind the scenes at Moscow's Bolshoi Theater, Zarutsky said he had come up with the idea himself before going through with the attack in a snowy city courtyard Jan. 17.
The court heard that Dmitrichenko had accused Filin of playing favorites. Last week, dancer Nikolai Tsiskaridze detailed the poisonous atmosphere at the theater. He told the court that Filin had denied Dmitrichenko and his ballerina girlfriend lead roles.
Tsiskaridze, who was not connected to the attack, left last year when the Bolshoi decided not to renew his contract after a 20-year career at the theater, which is located a few minutes' walk from the Kremlin and Red Square.
Defense witnesses portrayed Filin as fickle and emotional and Dmitrichenko as a champion of ordinary dancers afraid to speak out against the autocratic rule of the artistic director, whose decisions could make or break careers.
Filin's eyes were so badly damaged that he needed more than 20 operations at a German clinic. He returned to work at the Bolshoi in September but wears dark glasses to protect his eyes from light.
The Kremlin has moved to limit the damage from the scandalous revelations at the theater and in July dismissed its longtime director, Anatoly Iksanov, in an effort to draw a line under the affair.