Bolshoi director confronts alleged acid attacker in court

Wed Nov 6, 2013 1:48pm EST
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By Maria Tsvetkova

MOSCOW (Reuters) - The artistic director of Russia's Bolshoi ballet told a Moscow court on Wednesday that a dancer accused of plotting an acid attack that nearly blinded him had spread false accusations that he had love affairs with ballerinas.

The poisonous backstage rivalries that may have led to the January 17 attack flared up again in court as Sergei Filin, his damaged eyes shielded by dark glasses, made an emotional first appearance at the trial of Bolshoi dancer Pavel Dmitrichenko and two co-defendants.

"I don't forgive anybody for what happened to me. That is very important," Filin told the court, after describing the late-night assault in which a masked attacker threw acid from a jar in his face as he was returning home from the Bolshoi.

"I immediately felt very strong pain. My eyes dimmed. I have never felt such pain in my life. I wouldn't like to speak of how I was falling, crawling in the dirt...," he said, a purple scar still visible under his right cheek.

Filin, who was left writhing in agony in the snow before he managed to get help, demanded damages for emotional suffering of 3 million roubles ($92,200) and 508,000 roubles to compensate for material losses.

"The life of all the people around me changed. I lost my eyes, I cannot see my children," he said, his voice breaking, when the judge asked him to describe the impact of the attack.

He did not look at the courtroom cage where Dmitrichenko and the other defendants were sitting and said he had done nothing to deserve the attack.

"PURE LIES"   Continued...

Sergei Filin, the artistic director of Russia's Bolshoi ballet, addresses the court in Moscow, November 6, 2013. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin