Bolshoi artistic director returns to theater after acid attack

The artistic director of the world famous Bolshoi Theater has returned to his place of employment and is ready to start work after an acid attack nearly blinded him eight months ago. Sergey Filin is set to undergo additional surgeries in Germany.

Filin returned to Moscow on Saturday after a six month treatment in Germany.

“My treatment is not over,” Filin told journalists. “Both of my eyes are being monitored. I will periodically travel to Germany for checkups for short periods...A few more operations are planned.”

The 42-year-old ballet master was attacked by a masked assailant who splashed acid onto his face near his Moscow apartment on January 17. Filin suffered severe third-degree burns and lost 90 percent of his vision in his left eye while becoming totally blind in his right eye.

After undergoing 20 eye surgeries, Filin now has 80 percent of his left eye vision restored and can recognize large objects with his right eye.

The acid attack has stained the reputation of Russia’s most renowned ballet company.

Russian authorities have arrested three men in connection with the attack, including Bolshoi ballet soloist Pavel Dmitrichenko, accused of ordering the attack, Yury Zarutsky, the alleged attacker, and Andrey Lipatov, who reportedly drove Zarutsky to Filin’s apartment to carry out the attack.

The State Academic Bolshoi Theatre troupe gathered before the opening of the theater season on September 17,2013. (RIA Novosti / Vladimir Vyatkin)

A leading Bolshoi Theater dancer, Pavel Dmitrichenko is the prime suspect in the acid attack, which was reportedly prompted by a Shakespearean-style feud between him and Filin over a young ballet dancer, Anzhelina Vorontsova.

The attack prompted infighting between former Bolshoi chief Anatoly Iksanov and star dancer Nikoli Tsiskaridze. Iksanov accused Tsiskaridze of creating a negative atmosphere which set the scene for the attack. Meanwhile, Tsiskaridze stated that the Bolshoi became a place for crime and violence under Iksanov’s direction. Both parties were forced out of their positions following the attack.

Tsiskaridze has for years been a major critic of the Bolshoi reconstruction, which lasted from 2005 to 2011. In 2009, the prosecutor’s office launched an investigation into the alleged misuse of reconstruction funding.  The cost of the overhaul grew 16 times by the end of the project, according to Russian Auditing Chamber estimates.