Bolshoi star jailed for acid attack on director
BOLSHOI dancer Pavel Dmitrichenko has been sentenced to six years in prison for his role in an acid attack on the ballet's artistic director.
Over the course of the month-long trial, dancers lined up either to defend the director, Sergei Filin, who lost much of his sight as a result of the attack, or condemn him as the source of vicious backstage bickering.
The judge also sentenced ex-convict Yuri Zarutsky to 10 years for splashing the acid in Mr Filin's face and his driver Andrei Lipatov to four years. The three were ordered to pay 3.5 million roubles (€78,000) in damages to Mr Filin.
Dmitrichenko's mother held her hand over her mouth as the sentence was pronounced.
The dancer's father said he had hoped for a lighter sentence. But it was still shorter than the nine years demanded by the prosecution.
The trial often focused less on the crime than on Mr Filin's controversial role in the Bolshoi Theatre, where infighting has raged for years.
Mr Filin told the court that he was making his way home from the theatre late at night on January 17 this year when someone said his name.
He turned around and felt liquid tossed in his face.
The attack left him struggling blindly through the snow towards home and would eventually deprive him of almost all of his vision in one eye.
Dmitrichenko testified that he had first started discussing the Bolshoi's backstage politics and his complaints about Mr Filin with Zarutsky, a casual acquaintance, when he had asked for advice about sending his daughter to ballet school.
Zarutsky then offered to beat up the ballet chief for him.
Dmitrichenko agreed, but said he never wanted the attacker to use acid or for Mr Filin to be seriously hurt. It was only after the attack, when reports of what had happened started hitting the morning news, that the dancer said he realised how far Zarutsky had gone.
Dmitrichenko said he rushed to meet Zarutsky, who told the court he used battery fluid in the attack on the artistic director, thinking that it was less likely to cause serious injury.