Russian dancer Pavel Dmitrichenko was sentenced to six years in a high-security prison yesterday for ordering an acid attack that nearly blinded the artistic director of the Bolshoi Ballet and tarnished the reputation of the renowned theatre.
A judge announced the sentence after convicting Dmitrichenko and two co-defendants of the attack on Sergei Filin last January, which exposed poisonous rivalries over roles, money and power at one of Russia's most prominent cultural institutions.
Yuri Zarutsky, who admitted to being the masked attacker who threw acid in Filin's face in January, was sentenced to 10 years in prison. Andrei Lipatov, who drove Zarutsky to the scene, was sentenced to four years.
Judge Yelena Maximova said Dmitrichenko and two codefendants had intentionally caused grievous bodily harm.
"Their guilt in committing the crime has been established in full," she said.
Handcuffed in a courtroom cage with Zarutsky and Lipatov, Dmitrichenko smiled and looked over at his father as Maximova finished reading out the verdict.
Lawyers for all three defendants said they would appeal.
Filin has said he can never forgive his attackers but his lawyer, Natalya Zhivotkova, indicated she was satisfied. "Six years is a big punishment," she said.
The judge also ordered the trio to pay 3 million roubles (HK$$700,000) in moral damages and 508,000 roubles in material damages, as requested by Filin.
Prosecutors had asked for nine years for Dmitrichenko, 10 for Zarutsky and six for Lipatov.
The attack left Filin, 43, writhing in pain in the snow as he returned to his apartment building from the theatre late one evening.
Maximova said testimony showed that Dmitrichenko had offered Zarutsky 50,000 roubles to give Filin a beating, and had tipped him off by telephone that Filin was on his way home.
Dmitrichenko, who joined the Bolshoi as a teenager in 2002 and made his name playing villains such as the murderous tsar in the ballet Ivan the Terrible, has acknowledged he wanted Filin roughed up, but said he had not expected acid to be used.
Zarutsky, who pleaded guilty, has said it was his own idea to use acid, and that he did not tell Dmitrichenko of his plan.
The prosecution said in court that Dmitrichenko had been motivated by a conflict with Filin. Prominent former dancer Nikolai Tsiskaridze told the court that Filin had denied roles to both Dmitrichenko and his girlfriend, a ballerina.