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­‘Still in charge’: Bolshoi director speaks for first time since acid attack

Published time: January 22, 2013 11:11
Edited time: January 23, 2013 13:47
Sergey Filin, Bolshoi Theater ballet chief (RIA Novosti / Ruslan Krivobok)

Sergey Filin, Bolshoi Theater ballet chief (RIA Novosti / Ruslan Krivobok)

The artistic director of the Bolshoi Theater who was badly burned in an acid attack last week has been speaking of his ordeal for the first time. He is sure the assault was due to his work, but has refused to name names.

Sergey Filin was attacked on Friday night near his Moscow home around midnight. The 42-year-old ballet master suffered severe third-degree burns, and has already undergone several bouts of surgery.

Doctors say he will most likely need plastic surgery in the future as the acid has left major scars on his face and also partially burnt his hair, which will force him to wear a wig.

While the ballet troupe artistic director is being treated in a Moscow hospital, the theater administration is looking for a temporary replacement.
Despite the severe injuries, Filin is still actively taking part in the theater ballet troupe’s work and supervises the productions he has been working on before the assault.

“I am still in charge of the Bolshoi Ballet, like I used to be before,” Filin told in an interview with Komsomolskaya Pravda daily. “Even from the hospital I can still oversee what’s going on in the theater. My assistants and the dancers call me, send documentation and visit me here,” he said. “The feeling that I’m still in the game gives me strength to fight for my health.”

Filin says he regrets he hadn’t talked to the media about the threats he had been receiving since before the New Year.

“I have been provoking someone’s aggression. At some point this aggression ought to transform into action,” he said. “I could have imagined photographs featuring me naked on the stage would appear online, or even more absurd things, such as me and Cindy Crawford taking a bath together… But direct violence was beyond my expectations.”

According to Filin the Bolshoi director Anatoly Iksanov advised him to ignore the threats after the artistic director shared his fears with his boss. However he blames nobody but himself for what has happened to him, and hopes the prosecutors will find whoever is responsible for the attack.

“They will surely find the answer. If the case remains unsolved, I don’t even know what else to believe in.”

Filin is being treated in a Moscow hospital, and will require several other surgical procedures in the coming days. On Tuesday the doctors will reportedly be removing deeply damaged tissues and will probably make a skin graft to cover the deep wounds.

Another eye surgery is planned for Wednesday. The doctors are struggling to save Filin’s eyesight and say the prospects for that are quite optimistic.

The prosecutors investigating the incident haven’t put forward any motives for the attack, and there are no formal suspects.

A statement from the Bolshoi Theater said that “it’s obvious who could have organized such an appalling assault.”

“It must be people who want the position of the theater’s artistic director,” the statement said.