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Dancer admits being behind Bolshoi chief attack

/ 04:32 PM March 06, 2013

Russian dancer Pavel Dmitrichenko, as Ivan the Terrible, after a dress rehearsal of Ivan the Terrible (Russian Tsar Ivan the Terrible) in the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow, Russia. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, file)

MOSCOW— A star Russian ballet dancer who most recently played the title role in “Ivan the Terrible” at the famed Bolshoi Theater has confessed to the acid attack on the theater’s ballet chief, Moscow police said on Wednesday.

Pavel Dmitrichenko and two of his accomplices have confessed to masterminding and carrying out the attack, police said in a statement.

Sergei Filin, the artistic director of the Bolshoi ballet, suffered severe burns to his eyes and face on Jan. 17 when a masked attacker threw a jar of sulfuric acid in his face as he returned home late at night. The 42-year-old former dancer is now undergoing treatment in Germany.

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The Bolshoi Theater did not return calls and emails seeking comment Wednesday morning.

Police footage obtained by The Associated Press showed bleary-eyed Dmitrichenko pose for a mug shot.

Dmitrichenko, who joined the Bolshoi in 2002, has danced several major parts in recent years, including Ivan the Terrible in the ballet of the same name and the villain in “Swan Lake.” Bolshoi Theater spokeswoman Katerina Novikova said on Tuesday management was not aware of a conflict between him and Filin. Channel One state television reported, however, that Dmitrichenko’s girlfriend, also a Bolshoi soloist, was known to have been at odds with Filin.

The Bolshoi Theater is one of Russia’s premier cultural institutions, best known for “Swan Lake” and the other grand classical ballets that grace its stage. But backstage, the ballet company has been troubled by deep intrigue and infighting that have led to the departure of several artistic directors over the past few years.

Dmitrichenko with ballerina Anna Nikulina as Anastasia performs at a dress rehearsal of Ivan the Terrible (Russian Tsar Ivan the Terrible) in the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow, Russia. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, File)

Filin’s colleagues have said the attack could be in retaliation for his selection of certain dancers over others for prized roles. Filin told state television before he checked out of a Moscow hospital that he knew who ordered the attack but would not name the person.

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