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Bolshoi Leading Soloist Pavel Dmitrichenko Arrested as Acid Attack Perpetrator

By Kina Poon


Bolshoi leading soloist Pavel Dmitrichenko, conspiring with two other men, has confessed to being the perpetrator behind the horrific acid attack on company director Sergei Filin in January. The three men were apprehended early Tuesday morning. Ellen Barry for The New York Times reports that Dmitrichenko hired Yuri Zarutsky to carry out the attack and Andrei Lipatov to drive Zarutsky. According to ABC News, in Dmitrichenko's taped confession, which aired on Russian television, he said, "I masterminded this attack, but not to the extent that it eventually happened." Police were led to the men responsible by cell phone records; Filin had been victim to electronic hacking in the days leading up to the physical altercation.

Filin and the Bolshoi's general director, Anatoly Iksanov, have stated from the beginning that the attacks were professionally motivated. Dmitrichenko was a known supporter of Yuri Grigorovich, the longtime Bolshoi director and choreographer. While under Filin, the company continued to perform Grigorovich's work (Dmitrichenko danced the title role in a new version of Grigorovich's Ivan the Terrible last November, for example, and was promoted from first soloist to leading soloist a month later), Filin also expanded the repertoire to include more "Western" works, like that of Wayne McGregor (see DM's interview with Filin published in the January issue). Dmitrichenko is also reportedly dating soloist Anzhelina Vorontsova, "whose supporters blame Mr. Filin for stalling her career," according to The Times. The Washington Post states that Vorontsova previously worked for Filin at the Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Theater, Moscow's second largest company, but after her apprenticeship, she joined the Bolshoi rather than the Stanislavsky. (Filin was appointed Bolshoi director two years later, in 2011.) Vorontsova's teacher-repetiteur is Nikolai Tsiskaridze, the outspoken Bolshoi principal who has been a vocal critic of the company's direction under Filin (and who Iksanov has accused of being complicit in creating the volatile company culture that led to these attacks). Vorontsova was promoted from the corps de ballet to soloist in May 2012.

 

The Times article also states that Dmitrichenko was a member of the Bolshoi's commission on grants paid to dancers, and quotes Tsiskaridze as saying that Dmitrichenko and Filin "clashed openly about money." As of this posting, Dmitrichenko's biography is inaccessible on the company's website.

Filin is currently rehabilitating in Germany. The Bolshoi hopes that he will be sufficiently recovered to accompany the company on its tour to London in July.

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