Bolshoi Ballet Dancer Sentenced to Six Years in Prison for Acid Attack
A Russian dancer from the Bolshoi Ballet was sentenced to six years in prison Tuesday for ordering an acid attack that nearly blinded the world-famous Russian dance company's artistic director.
Pavel Dmitrichenko, who admitted arranging for Sergei Filin to be roughed up, was sentenced along with ex-convict Yury Zarutsky, convicted of executing the attack, who was imprisoned for 10 years, and getaway driver Andrei Lipatov, who will serve four years.
As the sentences were read out by Judge Yelena Maximova to a hushed Moscow courtroom Tuesday, the dancer's mother clasped her hand to her mouth. Dmitrichenko's father later said he had hoped for a lesser sentence. It was, however, lighter than the nine years demanded by the prosecution.
The three men, all convicted of causing grievous bodily harm, were also ordered to pay $106,000 in damages to Filin. Dmitrichenko's lawyers said they would appeal his verdict.
During the trial Dmitrichenko, famous in Russian 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.
Zarutsky, who was revealed to have earlier served seven years in prison for beating another man so badly that he later died from his injuries, said he had come up with the idea himself before going through with the attack in a snowy city courtyard Jan. 17
Dmitrichenko testified that Zarutsky was a casual acquaintance and that he was unaware of his previous conviction.
The trial revealed deep rivalries and bitter envy behind the scenes at Moscow's Bolshoi Theatre. 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.