Russia's Bolshoi acid attack victim unable to forgive attackers

MOSCOW (Reuters) - The artistic director of Russia's Bolshoi Ballet, appearing in court in dark glasses, said on Wednesday he did not forgive the assailants who almost blinded him in an acid attack and demanded over $100,000 in damages.

In his first appearance at the trial of three people over the January 17 attack, which exposed bitter rivalries at one of Russia's great cultural institutions, Sergei Filin did not look towards the courtroom cage where the defendants sat.

"I immediately felt very strong pain," Filin told the Moscow courtroom, describing the attack near his Moscow apartment. "My eyes dimmed. I have never felt such pain in my life. I wouldn't like to speak of how I was falling, crawling in the dirt..."

He demanded moral damages of 3 million roubles and 508,000 roubles to compensate for material damages.

The defendants include Pavel Dmitrichenko, a dancer at the Bolshoi Theatre, and could face up to 12 years in jail if convicted of organising and staging the attack.

Dmitrichenko only briefly looked at Filin in court and spent much of the time going through papers.

Dmitrichenko has denied any role in the attack and his alleged accomplice, Yuri Zarutsky, said he acted alone. The third defendant, Andrei Lipatov, had denied accusations that he drove the assailant to and from the scene. (Reporting by Maria Tsvetkova, writing by Gabriela Baczynska, Editing by Timothy Heritage)

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