The artistic director of the world renowned Bolshoi Ballet was the victim of a vicious acid attack in central Moscow that may stem from rifts within the dance company.
Russian news reports say Sergei Filin was walking home on Thursday night when a masked assailant threw acid on his face and ran off.
Filin, 43, is said to be in stable condition, but the attack left him with third degree burns across his face. Doctors are scrambling to save his eyesight. He is schedule to undergo surgery today and is expected to be flown to Belgium for further treatment. Russian news reports say he will require plastic surgery and that recovery could take months.
Filin was a star ballet dancer with the Bolshoi company before becoming artistic director in 2011. Investigators have suggested that internal theater politics may be behind the attack. In a statement, the Bolshoi Theater said he had been the subject of an intimidation campaign in recent months. According to RIA Novosti, his car tires were slashed, he received threatening phone calls, and there were attempts to hack into his Facebook account.
So far no suspects have been apprehended. RIA Novosti reports that, if caught, they face up to eight years in prison.
Also, from the NYT: The stories about vengeance at the Bolshoi Ballet go back centuries: The rival who hid an alarm clock in the audience, timed to go off during Giselle’s mad scene, or who threw a dead cat onto the stage at curtain in lieu of flowers. There are whispers of needles inserted in costumes, to be discovered in midpirouette, or — the worst — broken glass nestled in the tip of a toeshoe.