Sergei Filin, the artistic director of Russia's famed Bolshoi Ballet, was attacked by a masked assailant on late Thursday, January 17. Filin was about to enter his home in central Moscow, when suddenly the assailant called his name and splashed acid into his face, leaving the artist with severe burns and possible lost of sight.
Following the incident, Filin shared to Russia's REN TV about the horrid attack he suffered. With his head and face covered with bandages, he said from his hospital, "I got scared and I thought he was going to shoot me. I turned around to run, but he raced ahead of me."
"He turned to me, he had his face covered up to his eyes like this, it was a scarf or some bandage, like a mask, a hood and something like a mask, only eyes uncovered," he recalled. "Since December 31, I had these attacks, there were calls on my mobiles one after another, and the phones were blocked for any normal contacts. So there were continuous calls, it was obviously happening on someone's request, so it served like a warning."
Filin was admitted to hospital with severe burns of multiple degrees to his face and eyes, including third-degree cornea burns. According to doctors, he will need plastic surgery and a wig for his hair will likely fall out. According to Interfax news agency, Bolshoi officials plan to send Filin to a foreign hospital, probably in Israel or Germany, for further treatment.
The former Bolshoi ballet star was previously appointed to direct the legendary theater in March 2011 following a fierce competition. The theater general director, Anatoly Iksanov, said to Channel One TV that the attack was probably linked to Filin's professional work. "He is a man of principle and never compromised," said Iksanov.
"If he believed that this or that dancer was not ready or was unable to perform this or that part, he would turn them down," Iksanov went, adding that someone had slashed the tires of Filin's car earlier this week and the director also fell victim to hackers who posted his professional correspondence online. "He said 'I have a feeling that I am on the front lines'," Iksanov added.
In contrary to his previous statement, Iksanov later claimed that the attack was not related to Filin's casting decisions. He said, as quoted by the Associated Press, "The goal (of the attack) was to create a split and disagreement in the theater's management."
The Bolshoi Theater reopened in October 2011 after a massive six-year reconstruction effort. BBC added that two ballet stars, Natalia Osipova and Ivan Vasiliev, previously resigned in protest at the Bolshoi's new repertoire.