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Eye-Scarred Bolshoi Maestro Demands $108,000 From Acid Attackers

Bolshoi Dancer Pavel Dmitrichenko
Bolshoi Theater dancer Pavel Dmitrichenko stands inside the defendant's cage during a court hearing in Moscow, on October 22, 2013. Photographer: Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP via Getty Images

Nov. 6 (Bloomberg) -- Sergei Filin, the artistic director of the Bolshoi Theater whose eyesight was scarred by an acid attack, is seeking 3.5 million rubles ($108,000) in damages.

Filin, 43, told a criminal court in Moscow today that he’s filing a civil lawsuit demanding material and moral compensation from the three defendants, who include Bolshoi soloist Pavel Dmitrichenko, according to a transcript of the hearing on legal information portal Rapsi, which is run jointly by state news service RIA Novosti and the country’s top courts.

Filin accused Dmitrichenko, 30, of seeking compromising information about him and indirectly threatening him during a conflict between the two men. In a courtroom appearance last week, Dmitrichenko denied masterminding the Jan. 17 attack. Police said in March he had confessed to organizing the crime and was motivated by “personal animosity.” Two other men are charged with playing the role of driver and the assailant.

The Bolshoi, Russia’s most famous theater, founded in 1776 by Catherine the Great, has been riven by scandals that included the acid attack and a resignation by Filin’s predecessor over the publication of explicit photos on the Internet in 2011.

Ballet star Nikolai Tsiskaridze was forced out in June after he’d called for Anatoly Iksanov to resign as Bolshoi head. Iksanov himself was replaced in July.

In February investigators cited rivalries at the Bolshoi as probable motives for the crime, particularly between supporters of Filin and Tsiskaridze, who was locked in a battle with the ballet company’s management.

Open Letter

More than 300 members of the ballet came out in defense of Dmitrichenko and signed an open letter to President Vladimir Putin, calling the idea of Dmitrichenko masterminding the crime “absurd.”

Iksanov has said he didn’t believe that Dmitrichenko was behind the acid attack. Tsiskaridze has repeatedly denied involvement in the assault.

The theater has also been criticized for mismanaging a six-year, $680 million overhaul. Anastasia Volochkova, a ballerina who was fired in 2003, claimed that dancers were pimped out as escorts for wealthy and influential patrons’ parties, which Iksanov dismissed as “nonsense and dirt.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Henry Meyer in Moscow at hmeyer4@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Balazs Penz at bpenz@bloomberg.net

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