Russian Bolshoi dancer denies ordering acid attack as trial starts

Tue Oct 29, 2013 11:07am EDT
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By Maria Tsvetkova

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian dancer Pavel Dmitrichenko pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to ordering an acid attack that nearly blinded the Bolshoi ballet's artistic director, and a jobless former convict accused of carrying it out told a court he had acted alone.

Guards brought Dmitrichenko and the suspected attacker, Yuri Zarutsky, handcuffed into a Moscow court room and locked them in a metal cage with a third defendant at the start of a case that has tarnished the reputation of a prime Russian cultural symbol.

All face 12 years jail if convicted of intentionally inflicting grave bodily harm on Sergei Filin in the January17 attack that shocked Russia.

Dmitrichenko, looking pale and reading out a pre-written statement from a piece of paper, denied the charges. He had said previously that he wanted Filin to be roughed up but had been shocked to learn that acid was used.

"What happened to Filin is a result of Zarutsky's savage conduct, not a result of my activities. I had no hostile attitude towards Filin," Dmitrichenko said.

"Zarutsky... heeding his own motives, committed this dangerous act, which we never discussed since I had no intent, and could not have had one to commit such act in any form."

Prosecutors say Zarutsky attacked Filin on his return home from the Bolshoi late in the evening and left the 43-year-old in the snow, writhing in agony.

COUNTRY HOUSE   Continued...

Dancer Pavel Dmitrichenko looks out from the defendant's holding cell during a hearing in Moscow October 22, 2013. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov