Russian Police: Three Confess to Acid Attack on Bolshoi’s Ballet Director

Sergei Filin - H 2013
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As a motive, officials cite a personal grudge held by a dancer who masterminded the assault that made global headlines.

MOSCOW – Moscow police have named three suspects in an acid attack on the Bolshoi ballet director Sergei Filin last January, stating a personal grudge as the motive.

On March 6, Moscow police said that three men held in custody had confessed to committing the attack, which was related to a personal grudge and behind-the-scenes intrigues at the Bolshoi ballet troupe.

The three men are Yury Zarutsky, described by the police as a career criminal who allegedly carried out the attack; Andrey Lipatov, who didn’t have any affiliation with the Bolshoi either and drove Zarutsky to the Moscow apartment complex, in which Filin lives; and Bolshoi Theater’s leading solo dancer Pavel Dmitrichenko, who apparently ordered the attack.

The attack on Filin occurred on Jan. 17 when an unidentified attacker threw concentrated acid in his face. After the attack, Filin was hospitalized with burns to the face and third-degree burns to his eyes. He later underwent several operations on his eyes and face in Germany.

The attack on Filin came as one in a series of incidents involving high-profile theater personalities, which shocked the Moscow artistic community over the last few months. Last December, Alexei Malobrodsky, general director of Moscow’s Gogol Theater, was beaten up while exiting the theater following a controversy over the theater’s revamp. After the Filin attack, the theater’s artistic director Kirill Serebrennikov told the Russian media that he had also received violent threats.

The Bolshoi wasn’t available for comment on Wednesday. Earlier, the theater’s spokesperson said that no major confrontations among the Bolshoi ballet troupe was known.