Attack on Bolshoi chief

Moscow, Jan. 18: A masked man threw acid in the face of Sergei Filin, the artistic director of the legendary Bolshoi Ballet, last night, leaving him with third-degree burns and possibly threatening his eyesight, Bolshoi officials said this morning.

The attack followed a series of anonymous threats to Filin, 42, a dancer who rose through the ranks of the world's largest ballet company to become its head.

Investigators have not ruled out a dispute over money or property, but are focusing on the theory that Filin was targeted because of his work, a police spokesman said.

As dancers kept an overnight vigil at the burn unit where he is being treated, his colleagues said they suspected that professional jealousy was behind the attack. In recent weeks, his tyres were punctured and his car scratched, and his cellphones and personal email account were hacked and correspondence published, his associates have said. A relative had offered to supply Filin with a bodyguard, but Filin refused because he did not believe that the threats would lead to physical violence, said Dilyara Timergazina, his assistant and adviser.

The threats, she said, "don't show that someone with great conceptual thinking is behind that, but someone very primitive, with unhealthy aspirations ' I don't know how to put it ' someone full of hate".

Katerina Novikova, the Bolshoi's spokeswoman, said Filin was opening the gate to his residence when a masked man called out his name and threw the contents of a bottle in his face. After the attack he was able to see out of one eye but not the other, Timergazina said. An official at the theatre told Interfax that he would be sent overseas, probably to Germany or Israel, for treatment. Doctors have said his recovery may take as long as six months.

The Bolshoi has a reputation for intrigue, but Novikova said she never imagined that it could lead to violence. "Sergei was constantly receiving threats after he took up this post and his predecessors were under attack before him," she told Russia's Channel One. "We never thought that this war for roles ' and not for real estate or for oil ' could reach such a criminal level. And we always wanted to believe that people connected with theatre would have a minimal level of morality. That's why this is an absolutely frightening story."

Filin signed a five-year contract as director of the Bolshoi in 2011. Among his first big decisions was to hire David Hallberg as a principal dancer ' the first American to hold that coveted status, which has traditionally gone to Russian-trained dancers. He suffered a setback when two of its stars, Natalia Osipova and Ivan Vasiliev, left the Bolshoi for a far lesser-known theatre in St Petersburg.

Novikova said Filin met earlier today with Anatoly Iksanov, the theatre's director, and discussed the hacking attacks and other threats. She said Filin's personal email account was penetrated and personal correspondence was published in an attempt to discredit him in the eyes of the theatre's leadership, a tactic that was also used against Filin's predecessor.

Matches

MORE TOP STORIES TODAY

Srinivasan named in fixing report: SC

Srinivasan named in fixing report: SC

The court emphasised that the tainted administrator can no longer work for the BCCI. More »

On-field action set to divert from off-field drama

On-field action set to divert from off-field drama

The Preview — Defending champions Mumbai Indians take on Kolkata Knight Riders More »

Why I'm not looking forward to the IPL

Why I'm not looking forward to the IPL

Welcome to another season of a league that many watch but few trust. More »

'If you do the wrong thing it will be found out'

'If you do the wrong thing it will be found out'

'Everyone knows what is right and what is wrong and if you do the wrong thing it will be found out' More »

Mitchell Johnson may quit T20s for Test cricket

Mitchell Johnson may quit T20s for Test cricket

Australia's Mitchell Johnson may quit limited-overs cricket to prolong his test career with an eye on the 2015 Ashes series in England, the fast bowler… More »

There's a lot going on: Fleming

There's a lot going on: Fleming

He experienced anxious moments in the lead-up to the tournament as the courts decided on whether to suspend the franchise, he said, but stressed that the… More »

Latif couldn’t work with tainted players

Latif couldn’t work with tainted players

Former Pakistan cricket captain Rashid Latif said Tuesday he turned down the job of national chief selector because he could not work with ex-players tainted… More »

We are not over-confident: Bailey

We are not over-confident: Bailey

Indian Premier League — George Bailey-led Kings XI Punjab will face Chennai Super Kings on Friday. More »

Taxing issue — BCCI hits roadblock

Taxing issue — BCCI hits roadblock

MoU between BCCI & its units to avoid double taxation delayed after a few decline to share details. More »

Big runs expected, with bat and ball

Big runs expected, with bat and ball

Royal Challengers Bangalore: Their main concern, once again, is the fast bowling More »

Srinivasan appeals to court to allow BCCI comeback

Srinivasan appeals to court to allow BCCI comeback

He was aggrieved by the allegations against him during the hearing. More »

Black Caps pick rookie duo for West Indies

Black Caps pick rookie duo for West Indies

New Zealand selectors included two new caps in a 15-man Test squad named Tuesday to tour the West Indies, with injury-hit spinner Dan Vettori's future… More »

India: cricket's Brazil

India: cricket's Brazil

They are tough to beat with a big talent base exposed to good facilities. (CYCSPL) More »

Delhi Daredevils say no to gifts

Delhi Daredevils say no to gifts

Franchises are doing their bit to refurbish the image of the tainted league. More »

Klinger on his exit from South Australia

Klinger on his exit from South Australia

Michael Klinger has revealed he felt compelled to leave South Australia after being told he would be only a fringe part of the Redbacks' plans for next season, and disputed the suggestion that he left… More »

India-Pakistan Test series likely in 2015

India-Pakistan Test series likely in 2015

The revival of Indo-Pak Test ties could take place in UAE. More »

Kohli hopes to end RCB trophy drought

Kohli hopes to end RCB trophy drought

'This time around we will hope to go few more steps ahead and actually get that trophy' More »

Gavaskar can help IPL regain glory

Gavaskar can help IPL regain glory

Apart from the foreign players a lot of behind-the-scene activity has taken place in selecting the Indian domestic players. More »

Tendulkar, Ganguly to promote soccer

Tendulkar, Ganguly to promote soccer

Leading Spanish club Atletico Madrid and former cricketers Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly are among the owners of eight franchises of a new Indian… More »

This isn’t my first trip to India: Neesham

This isn’t my first trip to India: Neesham

Kiwi all-rounder wants to utilise the India leg to explore the country’s tourist attractions. More »

Ishant wanted to quit ODIs

Ishant wanted to quit ODIs

Says his mother made him change his mind. More »

Supreme Court says no to BCCI’s request

Supreme Court says no to BCCI’s request

Bench refuses to grant access to recordings of Srini and Dhoni’s depositions before Mudgal committee. More »

Pietersen’s ‘little’ secret is out

Pietersen’s ‘little’ secret is out

A fractured little finger could now throw the Delhi Daredevils captain out of action at the start of this season. More »

SMA Trophy gets short-changed

SMA Trophy gets short-changed

Key players are away preparing for the IPL, taking the shine off the other domestic T20 fixture. (CYCSPL) More »