Bolshoi Ballet dancer Pavel Dmitrichenko sentenced to six years in prison over acid attack on artistic director Sergei Filin

Dancer and two co-defendants found guilty of attack which almost blinded the company’s artistic director Sergei Filin

Moscow

A
leading dancer with the Bolshoi ballet has been sentenced to six years in a
maximum security prison colony for his role in an acid attack that nearly
blinded the troupe’s artistic director and revealed venomous infighting at the
revered institution.

Judge Yelena Maksimova found Pavel Dmitrichenko guilty of conspiring to cause grievous bodily harm to artistic director Sergei Filin because the dancer “was unhappy with the way Filin allocated roles and bonuses to dancers.” Although the charge carries a maximum of 12 years, state prosecutors had sought nine years for Dmitrichenko, who is best known for his portrayal of villains in Swan Lake and Ivan the Terrible.

Former convict Yury Zarutsky was convicted of splashing sulphuric acid into Mr Filin's face as he returned home late on 17 January, causing third-degree burns to his face and eyes, and sentenced to the 10-year sentence prosecutors had requested. Andrei Lipatov, who drove Zarutsky to the scene of the crime, got four years. The judge also awarded Mr Filin £65,000 in damages.

Dmitrichenko's lawyer told journalists that the verdict did not accurately reflect witness testimony and promised to appeal. Tatyana Lipatova also promised an appeal of her son's four-year sentence, telling The Independent that “Of course it's a lot, and for no reason.”

Dmitrichenko smiled wanly as the verdict was read aloud for more than three hours in a packed, humid courtroom. After the dancer told Zarutsky about his disagreements with Mr Filin's management of the troupe, Zarutsky on several occasions offered to rough Mr Filin up, the judge said. Dmitrichenko finally agreed and offered to pay him £900 for the attack, but did not know acid would be used. He provided Zarutsky with a mobile phone and called to warn him when Filin left the theatre on the night of the attack.

In a trial filled with backbiting, Dmitrichenko previously claimed Filin had intimate relations with ballerinas in exchange for desirable roles, and defence witnesses accused the artistic director of highhandedness and cronyism. Nikolai Tsiskaridze, a celebrated former Bolshoi dancer who was a mentor to Dmitrichenko's girlfriend Angelina Vorontsova and a Filin critic, testified last week that Filin was withholding leading roles from the young ballerina until she slept with him.

But Filin denied the sex-for-roles accusations and said Dmitrichenko had conducted a smear campaign against him, describing how his tyres had been slashed and his email hacked. In an emotionally charged court session last month, he broke down and said he would never forgive his attackers.

Filin is undergoing treatment in Germany, where he has had almost two dozen operations that partially restored his vision. Asked when he might return to Moscow, his lawyer Natalya Zhivotkova told The Independent, “Unfortunately, not soon.”

Scandal has rocked Russia's most prestigious theatre since the trial pulled back the curtain on its internal feuding. In July, the government fired the Bolshoi's director, Anatoly Iksanov, and Tsiskaridze's contract was not renewed after he clashed with both Filin and Iksanov.

American ballerina Joy Womack said last month she left the company because bribes were expected to be awarded parts. On Monday, the Bolshoi Theatre's chief conductor suddenly quit just two weeks before the premiere of the Verdi opera Don Carlos.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: Stanley Tucci, Sophie Grabol and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvSo Sky Atlantic arrived in Iceland to film their new and supposedly snow-bound series 'Fortitude'...
Life and Style
fashion
Arts and Entertainment
tv
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This full service social media ...

Recruitment Genius: Data Analyst - Online Marketing

£24000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Residential Conveyancer

Very Competitive: Austen Lloyd: Senior Conveyancer - South West We are see...

Austen Lloyd: Residential / Commercial Property Solicitor

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: DORSET MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...

Day In a Page

Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there