Bolshoi soloist jailed for six years over acid attack on director
A Bolshoi star dancer has been jailed for six years for an acid attack on the ballet's director in a trial which exposed vicious backstage bickering at the renowned theatre.
Prosecutors had asked for a nine-year sentence for soloist Pavel Dmitrichenko over the attack on Sergei Filin in January. Dmitrichenko and two other men had plotted to hurt Mr Filin a few months earlier.
Ex-convict Yuri Zarutsky, suspected of carrying out the attack, was jailed for ten years and their driver, Andrei Lipatov, for four.
Mr Filin lost most of the sight in one eye and 20% in the other.
Giving evidence, he called Dmitrichenko a volatile employee who was always stirring up trouble, but stopped short of accusing him of plotting the attack.
Over the course of the trial, Dmitrichenko said that Zarutsky had approached him with an offer to beat up Mr Filin, and the dancer agreed. He said he was shocked when he heard about the acid attack and told Zarutsky they should surrender to the police.
Judge Yelena Maximova accepted that Dmitrichenko was unaware of the plan to use acid, which was potentially reflected in the softer sentence.
The dancer pleaded not guilty, but he has admitted "moral responsibility" because he spoke badly of Mr Filin in front of Zarutsky. Dmitrichenko had claimed he was passed over for the best parts in the theatre.
"I didn't know about what was going to happen to you," Dmitrichenko told Mr Filin in court in November. "I still don't relieve myself of moral responsibility." Dmitrichenko told the court that he had told Zarutsky that he disapproved of Mr Filin's management style.
Dmitrichenko insisted that he always spoke highly of Mr Filin, but blamed him in part for the negative atmosphere in the theatre. He cited several incidents in which troupe members were driven to tears during heated conflicts.
Mr Filin did not deny the incidents but said it was simply part of the "artistic process."