Bolshoi will withstand acid attack on director - Putin aide

Wed Mar 13, 2013 4:33pm EDT
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By Alexei Anishchuk and Steve Gutterman

MOSCOW (Reuters) - President Vladimir Putin's spokesman said on Wednesday that an acid attack that severely injured the Bolshoi Ballet's artistic director would not ruin the theatre's reputation.

Putin has not spoken publicly about the January 17 attack, which shocked many Russians, revealed discord in the theatre and left doctors fighting to save victim Sergei Filin's eyesight.

The Bolshoi "is an element of Russian culture. It is a social, cultural and simply Russian brand and this can hardly damage it", Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

"The Bolshoi Theatre is a group of people, a mini-society," he said. Such problems can arise in any other society," he told journalists who asked about the attack and its aftermath.

"This is not about the Bolshoi Theatre, it's about people."

A masked assailant splashed acid in the face of Filin, 42, as re returned home from the Bolshoi, causing severe burns and damaging his eyes.

A top dancer at the Bolshoi, Pavel Dmitrichenko, has been charged along with two alleged accomplices, and all three are being held in custody while the investigation continues.

Dmitrichenko, 29, confessed in a police video to organizing the attack but said in court that he did not intend Filin's assailant to use acid.   Continued...

Sergei Filin, artistic director of Russia's Bolshoi Ballet, speaks to journalists as he leaves a hospital accompanied by his wife Maria (L) in Moscow February 4, 2013. REUTERS/Vselovod Kutznestov