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Putin Spokesman Says Acid Attack Won’t Hurt Bolshoi Brand

Bolshoi Ballet's Artistic Director Sergei Filin
Sergei Filin, Bolshoi Ballet's artistic director, speaks to journalists as he leaves a hospital in Moscow on Feb. 4, 2013. Source: AFP/Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said an acid attack on the Bolshoi artistic director won’t hurt the theater’s reputation as a cultural brand.

In a haggard appearance on state television last week, soloist Pavel Dmitrichenko confessed to organizing the attack that damaged the face and eyes of the theater’s director Sergei Filin, although he denied any intention to use acid in the assault.

The Bolshoi is “an essential element of Russian culture as a cultural, social and Russian brand,” Peskov said. The attack “has nothing to do with the Bolshoi Theatre itself, it has to do with people,” he added.

Dmitrichenko admitted to masterminding the assault outside the director’s apartment building on Jan. 17, Moscow police said in a March 6 statement, adding in a separate statement that he was motivated by “personal animosity.” Two other men confessed to being the driver and the assailant and all three remain in custody after being detained last week.

Dmitrichenko, 29, has been with the Bolshoi since 2002, and last starred as Ivan the Terrible in Sergei Prokofiev’s work of the same name.

Investigators last month cited rivalries at the Bolshoi as probable motives for the crime, particularly between supporters of Filin, 42, and of Nikolai Tsiskaridze, the principal dancer.

More than 300 members of the Bolshoi ballet have come out in defense of Dmitrichenko. In an open letter to Putin and the media, they said the idea that the soloist was behind the crime was “absurd.”

Moscow police said they have “a deep respect for the work of artists of the Bolshoi” and their views and assured them that investigators are pursuing their investigation fairly, according to a statement on their website today.

The theater was founded in 1776 by Catherine the Great.

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