Finally: Answers In The Bolshoi Acid Attack

November 28, 2001

After weeks of questions, it looks like there are finally some answers as to who was behind the acid attack on Bolshoi Ballet artistic director Sergei Filin. Last night, Russian police obtained confessions from three men, including Bolshoi dancer Pavel Dmitrichenko. It turns out that Dmitrichenko hired the other two to accost Filin as the director was getting into his car on January 17. On Russian state television yesterday, Dmitrichenko said he did not intend for the attack to go as far as it did.


A lead soloist whom Filin had recently cast in the title role of Ivan the Terrible, Dmitrichenko, 29, is known for his volatile temperament. He’s been romantically involved with Bolshoi dancer Anzhelina Vorontsova. Here’s where the plot thickens: Vorontsova’s supporters believe Filin has held her back. When Filin led the smaller Stanislavsky Theater, he’d offered Vorontsova a job, but she turned him down to join the Bolshoi. Then, once Filin arrived at the Bolshoi, he apparently refused to promote her.


Vorontsova’s coach, Nikolai Tsiskaridze (who had been one of the main suspects in the case) claims that it was no secret that Dmitrichenko and Filin openly disagreed over dancer salaries. Today’s New York Times reports that Dmitrichenko complained to Private Correspondent magazine that dancers salaries were so low that “migrant workers would not agree to work on a construction site for this money.” All three defendents face up to 12 years in prison if they’re convicted. For now, Filin is still in Germany receiving treatment for his eyesight, and the Bolshoi is rehearsing understudies for Dmitrichenko’s parts.