MOSCOW – A Bolshoi star dancer and two other men on Tuesday were convicted for their parts in an acid attack on the ballet's director which exposed vicious backstage bickering and intrigue at the renowned theater.
Judge Yelena Maximova sentenced Bolshoi soloist Pavel Dmitrichenko to six years in prison for his role in the Jan. 17 attack on Sergei Filin. She said that Dmitrichenko and two other men had made plans to hurt Filin a few months before the attack.
Prosecutors asked for a nine-year sentence for Dmitrichenko, 10 years for ex-convict Yuri Zarutsky, suspected of carrying out the attack, and six years for their driver, Andrei Lipatov.
Filin lost most of the sight in one eye and 20 percent in the other.
In his testimony, Filin called Dmitrichenko a volatile and threatening employee who was always stirring up trouble, but stopped short of accusing him of plotting the attack.
During the trial, Dmitrichenko said that Zarutsky had approached him with an offer to beat up Filin, and the dancer agreed. He said he was shocked when he heard about the acid attack in the news and told Zarutsky they should surrender to the police.
The judge accepted that Dmitrichenko was unaware of the plan to use acid, which may set stage for a softer sentence. Zarutsky had testified that Dmitrichenko was unaware of the intention to use acid.
He testified that Zarutsky told him to keep silent and threatened to launch a similar attack on Dmitrichenko's ballerina girlfriend if he went to the police.
The dancer pleaded not guilty but has admitted "moral responsibility" because he spoke badly of Filin in front of Zarutsky. Dmitrichenko had claimed he was passed over for the best parts in the theater.
"I didn't know about what was going to happen to you," Dmitrichenko told Filin during a court session in November. "I still don't relieve myself of moral responsibility."
Dmitrichenko told the court that he had told Zarutsky that he disapproved of Filin's management style. Dmitrichenko insisted that he always spoke highly of Filin, a former ballet star, as an excellent dancer, but blamed him in part for the negative atmosphere in the theater. He cited several incidents in which troupe members were driven to tears during heated conflicts with Filin.
Filin did not deny the incidents but retorted that it was simply part of the "artistic process."