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Bolshoi ballet director undergoes eye surgery after acid attack

January 19, 2013, 1:01 UTC+3

Prosecutors have initiated criminal proceedings on charges of inflicting heavy harm to health

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MOSCOW, January 19 (Itar-Tass) – Sergei Filin, the artistic director of the Bolshoi’s ballet troupe, on Friday underwent an eye surgery in a Moscow hospital, Katerina Novikova, the Bolshoi Theatre’s spokeswoman, told Itar-Tass.

“Sergei Filin’s health is in the hands of the country’s best eye specialists. A concilium of doctors has decided not to send him to the Belgian Burns Center for the time being,” Novikova said.

She added that doctors were fighting for Sergei Filin’s eyesight after an assailant threw acid in his face outside his Moscow home.

Many world ballet figures have either phoned or sent telegrams to the Bolshoi in connection with the incident.

“We have received phone calls from Brigitte Lefиvre, Director of Paris Opera Ballet, famous French choreographer Pierre Lacotte as well as ballet troupe directors from London, Berlin and American cities,” the Bolshoi’s spokeswoman went on to say.

“The incident is a colossal blow to the country’s image. The ballet world is in a shock. It’s important that investigative bodies find who stands behind this monstrous attack as soon as possible. It was committed by a person who knew him. The assailant called Filin by his name and threw acid in his face when the artistic director turned around without suspecting anything. It was a targeted pinpointed strike rather than a villainous incidence,” Novikova went on to say.

“Sergei Filin has seriously renovated the ballet troupe over the past two years in his capacity of artistic director. He pursues a policy that allows the Bolshoi Theatre to remain one of the world’s best ballet companies. The attack on Sergei Filin shouldn’t go unpunished. Members of the Bolashoi Theatre’s Supervisory Board hope that the case will be cleared up and the criminals will be named,” the theatre’s Supervisory Board said in a statement.

Katerina Novikova said that no new appointments would be made to the post of artistic director of the Bolshoi’s Ballet troupe while Filin is undergoing treatment. She added that the question of his replacement would be discussed only after consultations with him.

Prosecutors have initiated criminal proceedings on charges of inflicting heavy harm to health. Filin suffers burns to his face and eyes. Doctors assume he will need at least six months for full recovery.

A masked assailant approached Filin last Thursday and threw acid in his face last Thursday. Filin’s mother and wife are staying in hospital with him. Many ballet artists and the Bolshoi’s leadership have visited Filin in hospital.

Filin has been receiving constant threats in recent months.



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