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Bolshoi dancer admits ordering attack on ballet chief

Pavel Dmitrichenko says, however, that he didn’t specifically ask for hot acid to be thrown in the ballet chief’s face.

Dancer Pavel Dmitrichenko has been remanded in custody.
Dancer Pavel Dmitrichenko has been remanded in custody.
Image: AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko

THE STAR DANCER accused of masterminding an acid attack on the chief of the Bolshoi ballet has admitted giving the go-ahead for the attack – but told a Moscow court that he did not order anyone to throw acid on the artistic director’s face.

The judge, however, refused to release Bolshoi soloist Pavel Dmitrichenko on bail and ordered to have him held until April 18 while the investigation continued.

Ballet chief Sergei Filin’s face and eyes suffered severe burns in the attack on January 17, which exposed a culture of deep intrigue and infighting at the famed theatre.

Dmitrichenko said he had complained about the ballet chief to an acquaintance, who offered to “beat him up.”

“It’s not true that I ordered him to throw acid at Filin,” the 29-year-old dancer told the court, speaking from a cage. He said he had never intended for the attack to cause such bodily harm.

Moscow police said Dmitrichenko had paid 50,000 rubles (about €1,250) to the man, Yuri Zarutsky, who is accused of throwing the jar of acid in the ballet chief’s face as he returned home late at night.

A third defendant drove the getaway car, but said in video provided by police that he did not know the purpose of his mission.

The court ruled that Zarutsky, who has a prison record, also should remain in custody until April 18. The case of the second co-defendant will be considered at a later date.

Dmitrichenko said he was angered by Filin’s decisions on how money was allocated to dancers at the theatre.

“I told Yuri Zarutsky about the policies of the Bolshoi Theater, about the bad things going on, the corruption. When he said: ‘OK, let me beat him up, hit him upside the head,’ I agreed, but that is all that I admit to doing,” he said in court.

Police said they had determined that Zarutsky had purchased acid at an auto shop and believe he then heated it to make it more concentrated.

State television has suggested that the dancer was motivated by Filin’s refusal to cast his young girlfriend, also a Bolshoi soloist, in a starring role.

Read: Suspect detained in Bolshoi ballet director acid attack

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