Acid Thrown in Face of Bolshoi Ballet Director

Sergei Filin may lose his eyesight
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 18, 2013 9:19 AM CST
Acid Thrown in Face of Bolshoi Ballet Director
In this Sept. 20, 2011 photo, Sergei Filin, center, poses with members of the Bolshoi Theater company involved in the Sleeping Beauty ballet, after a rehearsal, in the Bolshoi Theater, Moscow, Russia.   (AP Photo/Mikhail Metzel, File)

(Newser) – The artistic director of the Bolshoi Theater's ballet troupe was splashed with acid and may lose his eyesight in an attack that the Bolshoi said appeared to be linked to struggles for influence at one of the world's most famous ballet companies. Sergei Filin, a 42-year-old former ballet star, was approached last night by an unknown man who threw the acid at his face as he got out of his car outside his home in central Moscow. Theater officials said the man was masked.

The theater's general director, Anatoly Iksanov, said he believed the attack was linked to Filin's work. "He is a man of principle and never compromised," Iksanov said on state TV. "If he believed that this or that dancer was not ready or was unable to perform this or that part, he would turn them down." Several stars at the Bolshoi have complained about what they call Filin's unfair treatment of dancers. Filin knew that someone was trying to threaten him or undermine his position at the theater, Iksanov said: Filin's car tires had been slashed earlier this week and he was targeted in early January by hackers who posted his professional correspondence online. (Read more Sergei Filin stories.)

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