Russia replaces head of Bolshoi Theatre after acid attack
The Russian government replaced the head of the Bolshoi Theatre on Tuesday following a series of scandals including an acid attack that left the artistic director of its ballet company almost totally blind.
Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky announced Anatoly Iksanov's departure after 13 years leading one of the world's top theatres and said Vladimir Urin, general director of the Stanislavsky Musical Theatre, would take his place.
"He (Urin) will be able to unite the troupe and continue the development of the best theatre in the country and one of the best in the world," Medinsky told a news conference.
"A difficult situation had developed around the theatre and the troupe, and everything pointed to the need for renewal at the theatre."
Iksanov was appointed in 2000 and had more than a year of his contract to run. But the theatre has been in the news for all the wrong reasons since January, when a masked man threw acid in the face of Sergei Filin, the Bolshoi Ballet's artistic director, as he returned to his Moscow apartment late at night.
One of the top dancers, Pavel Dmitrichenko, later confessed to hiring accomplices to attack Filin but said he had not expected acid to be thrown in his face. The Bolshoi said last month that Filin had been almost completely blinded by the attack, despite undergoing 18 operations.