Bolshoi director wants $108k in damages for acid attack, ‘will forgive no one’

Bolshoi director wants $108k in damages for acid attack, ‘will forgive no one’
Russia’s Bolshoi ballet artistic director Sergey Filin, victim of an acid attack allegedly masterminded by his soloist, has testified in a Moscow court. Filin described the pain and the damage the attack has caused, demanding the culprits to be punished.

After more than 20 operations on his face and eyes, Filin on Wednesday recalled the January attack in court, describing the “unbearable, terrifying pain” he experienced.

He said a hooded man approached him near his home at night, and threw some liquid in his face – later identified as 50 percent sulphuric acid solution – saying it was a “greeting” for him.

Filin said the assault was “life-changing” for him and his family, as he was left partially blind and could not see his children anymore.

He stressed he links the attack only with his professional activity.

While he could not identify the actual assailant in court, Filin spoke of his relations with the alleged attack’s mastermind, former Bolshoi solo ballet dancer Pavel Dmitrichenko.

Bolshoi ballet dancer Pavel Dmitrichenko, accused of organizing an attack on the Bolshoi Theatre's artistic director Sergei Filin, in the hearing room of Meshchansky district court in Moscow (RIA Novosti / Maxim Blinov)

Although Dmitrichenko has confessed he wanted the attacker, Yury Zarutsky, to intimidate or beat Filin, he pleaded not guilty on the severity of the crime, claiming he never wanted to inflict serious harm and that the acid attack was not his idea.

Speaking in court on Wednesday, Dmitrichenko apologized to Filin, and said he does not deny his “moral responsibility” for what has happened, while adding that he “knew nothing” about Zarutsky’s plan.

But Filin said it was up to the court to decide, who was responsible.

“I forgive no one for what has happened to me, no one,” Filin stressed.

He said he wants 3 million rubles ($92,700) as a compensation for moral damages, and 508 thousand rubles ($15,700) for the material harm.

The Bolshoi ballet artistic director outright dismissed the idea of having been unfair in distributing roles, stressing he has “never” been involved in any offstage “schemes.”

He also appeared to be surprised by the logic of Dmitrichenko’s alleged motives for the crime, saying that he never gave him grounds for such violent move. He described Dmitrichenko as “quick-tempered and supersensitive to criticism,” but still an excellent, hardworking dancer who was steadily making his ballet career with no apparent obstacles before him.

However, Filin said he now understands that in at least since one particular conflict, for which Dmitrichenko made an apology in writing, the dancer was trying to “mire his image” behind the director’s back.

The prosecution believes Dmitrichenko had a grudge against Filin over the assignment of roles for some of the dancers, as well as for the distribution of salaries – something the suspect has denied since the start of the investigation.

If found guilty, Dmitrichenko faces up to 12 years in prison. While he denies conspiring in preparing the actual attack, Zarutsky pleaded guilty and claimed he was fully responsible. The third suspect who appeared in court, the driver of the car that took the assailant to the crime scene, denies any involvement in the attack.