Bolshoi Ballet director says asked for protection after threats

Tue Jan 22, 2013 5:08pm EST
 

By Steve Gutterman

MOSCOW (Reuters) - The Bolshoi Ballet's artistic director told a Russian newspaper he had received threats for more than a month before a masked attacker threw acid in his face last week but his request for protection was rebuffed.

Sergei Filin, who has been in the high-pressure job at the heart of Russian culture for nearly two years, had surgery to treat severe facial burns on Tuesday and was preparing for a second eye operation on Wednesday to preserve his sight.

His remarks to Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper will fuel speculation over what provoked the attack outside his Moscow apartment building as he returned home on Thursday night.

Filin did not go into details on the threats. But dancers and administrators have suggested the motive may have been envy or resentment.

"On December 15 I was in the office of the theatre's general director and asked for protection and help, because I had heard a serious threat addressed to me," he was quoted as saying in the interview published on Tuesday.

"But the director told me that, well, we have hard jobs, that he himself had worked as if on the front lines for 12 years already, and that it was necessary to take courage and find in oneself the strength not to react to these threats."

Filin's job gave him the power to make or break careers at the theatre known for its rivalry and intrigue.

Foreign ballet figures who have visited "say that the troupe is in excellent form," Filin told the newspaper. "But from the inside we are always hearing some sort of dissatisfaction."   Continued...

 
Sergei Filin, artistic director of Russia's prestigious Bolshoi Ballet, gestures during an interview in a still image from footage shot by REN TV in a Moscow hospital January 18, 2013. REUTERS/REN TV via Reuters TV