'I organised acid attack' says Bolshoi's Dmitrichenko - video
Soloist Pavel Dmitrichenko confesses to attack that nearly blinded Bolshoi ballet director Sergei Filin
A BOLSHOI BALLET male soloist has been arrested after admitting he masterminded the acid attack that nearly blinded the company's director, Sergei Filin.
Pavel Dmitrichenko told Russian police that he "ordered" the 17 January attack in which sulphuric acid was hurled into Filin's face outside his Moscow home.
"Yes, I organised this attack, but not to the extent that it occurred," said Dmitrichenko, who The Guardian described as looking "tired and unkempt" in a police video aired on Russian television (see below). The 28-year-old dancer, who was arrested yesterday, did not explain his motive for the attack. But the paper notes that there has been speculation in Russia that Dmitrichencko's girlfriend, the ballerina Angelina Vorontsova, has "clashed professionally" with Filin.
Police said that Dmitrichenko's accomplices – the attacker and a getaway driver – have also confessed.
The suspected driver Andrei Lipatov said: "Yes, I was there at the time [of the attack]. I drove someone. I didn't see how it happened. I just drove him, waited, and drove him away. I was asked to do it, without explanation."
Confessions are common in Russia, says the BBC's Moscow correspondent Daniel Sandford, "though often the accused later complain of mistreatment".
Dmitrichenko, who joined the Bolshoi in 2002, is not one of the "half-dozen very senior male dancers at the company", says Sandford. He is "a leading soloist one level down", a position known as a premier. Most recently, he performed the lead role in Sergei Prokofiev's Ivan the Terrible.
Filin, 42, suffered severe burns to his face and neck and has had several operations to restore his eyesight and repair his skin. He is undergoing further treatment in Germany.
The Guardian notes that Filin always insisted the attack was related to his work at the Bolshoi. He had clashed publicly with several dancers, some of whom wanted more dancing roles, and others who wanted his job.