Russian dancer convicted of horrific acid attack on Bolshoi ballet director
A Bolshoi star dancer has been convicted for an acid attack on the ballet's director in a trial which exposed vicious backstage bickering and intrigue at the renowned theatre.
Russian prosecutors asked for a nine-year sentence for Bolshoi soloist Pavel Dmitrichenko over the attack on Sergei Filin last January. Dmitrichenko and two other men had plotted to hurt Mr Filin a few months earlier.
Ex-convict Yuri Zarutsky, suspected of carrying out the attack, faces 10 years and their driver, Andrei Lipatov, six years.
Mr Filin lost most of the sight in one eye and 20% in the other.
In evidence he called Dmitrichenko a volatile and threatening employee who was always stirring up trouble, but stopped short of accusing him of plotting the attack.
During the trial in Moscow, Dmitrichenko said that Zarutsky had approached him with an offer to beat up Mr Filin, and the dancer agreed. He said he was shocked when he heard about the acid attack in the news and told Zarutsky they should surrender to the police.
Judge Yelena Maximova accepted that Dmitrichenko was unaware of the plan to use acid, which may result in a softer sentence. Zarutsky said that Dmitrichenko was unaware of the intention to use acid.
The dancer pleaded not guilty but has admitted "moral responsibility" because he spoke badly of Mr Filin in front of Zarutsky. Dmitrichenko had claimed he was passed over for the best parts in the theatre.
"I didn't know about what was going to happen to you," Dmitrichenko told Mr Filin during a court session in November. "I still don't relieve myself of moral responsibility."
Dmitrichenko told the court that he had told Zarutsky that he disapproved of Mr Filin's management style. Dmitrichenko insisted that he always spoke highly of Mr Filin, a former ballet star, as an excellent dancer, but blamed him in part for the negative atmosphere in the theatre. He cited several incidents in which troupe members were driven to tears during heated conflicts.
Mr Filin did not deny the incidents but retorted that it was simply part of the "artistic process."