RUSSIA

Bolshoi dancer denies planning acid attack on artistic director

PUBLISHED : Friday, 09 August, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 09 August, 2013, 2:50am
AFP

Share

A Bolshoi dancer detained on suspicion of organising an horrific acid attack against the Moscow ballet company's artistic director yesterday denied planning such an assault.

Pavel Dmitrichenko, who has been charged together with two suspected accomplices, told a Moscow court he deeply regretted the acid attack on Sergei Filin and was happy he planned to return to work next month.

The dancer, who was often cast in dark roles such as Ivan the Terrible, admitted he had artistic differences with Filin but said he had never wanted him to be so badly hurt in the attack on January 17.

Dmitrichenko told the court he had agreed to a "proposal" by the suspected perpetrator, unemployed ex-convict Yury Zarutsky, to "hit" Filin, but no more.

"I did not imagine that this person [Zarutsky] was capable of such a cruel and inhuman crime," said Dmitrichenko.

He expressed regret for encouraging Zarutsky. "Now I understand that I should not have done this," he said.

Dmitrichenko said he respected Filin "as an artist" but that he had not agreed with decisions he made after becoming artistic director of the Bolshoi.

Filin is in a clinic in Germany, trying to recover some eyesight after being almost completely blinded in the attack. But he said last week he was hoping to return to Moscow for the new Bolshoi season, which starts next month.

"I am happy that Filin is returning to work at the Bolshoi Theatre," said Dmitrichenko. "The main thing is that he now recovers after the inhuman crime committed by Zarutsky, with whom I am unfortunately acquainted."

A third man, Andrei Lipatov, suspected of driving Zarutsky to the scene, has also been held.

In a dramatic day in court, Zarutsky fully backed Dmitrichenko's testimony and said the former Bolshoi soloist should not be behind bars.

"I do not deny my responsibility and I admit my guilt," Zarutsky said. "The initiative for the attack was mine and I am the one who should be judged, not the guys who are sitting behind bars there."

Dmitrichenko, who has been formally charged with organising the crime, said he intended to plead not guilty as he maintained it was Zarutsky who planned the use of acid.

All three are being held in pre-trial detention and it is still not clear when a trial will begin.