MOSCOW, November 25 (RIA Novosti) – A former leading ballet dancer at the Bolshoi Theater on Monday accused the company’s artistic director, who was targeted by an acid attack this year, of doling out favors to those close to him.
Speaking during his testimony in the ongoing trial of Sergei Filin’s suspected attacker, Nikolai Tsiskaridze criticized what he described as the poor management of the Bolshoi.
The attack in January has left Filin with third-degree burns to his face and eyes.
Tsiskaridze is not a suspect, but he is known to have been well acquainted with Bolshoi dancer Pavel Dmitrichenko, the fellow soloist accused of instigating the attack, and was an open critic of Filin’s work at the theater.
Tsiskaridze told a Moscow court Monday that Dmitrichenko had “defended the rights of those who have little,” saying that Filin had no consideration for those people.
“Nepotism flourished in the theater under Filin,” Tsiskaridze said.
Dmitrichenko and two other suspects face 12 years in prison over the attack, which saw concentrated sulfuric acid being flung into Filin’s face outside his Moscow apartment building.
Dmitrichenko has admitted he was unhappy with Filin’s work, but insists he is innocent. The two other suspects are the alleged attacker, Yury Zarutsky, and driver Andrei Lipatov.
Lipatov has not admitted his guilt, while Zarutsky said he planned and committed the crime on his own.
Tsiskaridze said in court that Dmitrichenko was causing discomfort to Filin.
“[Filin] was against [Dmitrichenko] heading a labor union. He realized that if that were to happen, [Dmitrichenko] would... fight for the rights of artists,” Tsiskaridze said.
Filin has suggested that the aim of the attack may have been to remove him from his position as artistic director and to destroy the prestigious Moscow ballet company's reputation.
Also Monday, Dmitrichenko said investigators had proposed to him that he name Tsiskaridze as the person who ordered the acid attack.
Filin returned to Moscow last September after six months of treatment in a German hospital. He has undergone more than 20 eye surgeries, and German doctors said that his eyesight had improved significantly.
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