A video showing Pavel Dmitrichenko confessing to organizing the acid attack that left Bolshoi Theatre's artistic director Sergei Filin almost blinded has been released by Russian police. "I organized that attack but not to the extent that it occurred," bleary-eyed Dmitrichenko said in the footage.
Police are still investigating motives behind the attack that shocked theatre fans in Moscow. Words run rampant that Dmitrichenko, a soloist at the Bolshoi Theatre, held a grudge against Filin because of the director's selection of certain dancers over others for coveted roles on stage.
It's not him who suffered from the casting decision made by Filin. He has been chosen by the director to play lead roles on many ballet shows including "Ivan the Terrible" last fall. Many suggested it was his girlfriend Anzhelina Vorontsova who was denied key roles by Filin.
Filin's former protege, Vorontsova is also a soloist at the Theatre, but her career started to level off in the past recent years. Her supporters blamed Filin, accusing the director of unfairly denying her lead roles because of their dispute in the past.
Rumor has it, the fallout between Filin and Vorontsova happened when she chose to dance at the Bolshoi instead of the Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Ballet where he then served as an artistic director before he himself moved to the Bolshoi.
Filin was impressed by Vorontsova after she won her first major dance competition at 16, and helped her enroll in a prestigious dance academy. In a 2010 interview, she said the decision to pick Bolshoi over Nemirovich-Danchenko had been difficult and painful. "Sometimes in life you have to make a choice," she said.
Dmitrichenko was arrested along with two men Andrei Lipatov and Yuri Zarutsky. They bought acid in an auto shop and heated it to make it stronger. Filin was attacked on January 17 outside his apartment. The former served as the driver, while the latter was the one who tossed a jar of sulfuric-acid in Filin's face.
As the director entered an entry code to enter the building, a masked man called his name and threw acid in his face. He suffered severe burns to his face and eyes and needed numerous surgeries to save his vision. He received treatment in Germany.
Police became suspicious of Dmitrichenko after it was found out that he had recently been in a close contact with an unemployed man with a prison record. They made inquiries about Filin's schedule and whereabouts, and bought SIM cards for mobile phones registered under fake names.
Filin's wife has commented on Dmitrichenko's arrest and speculations about the motives. "Sergei thinks the motives of the crime are somewhat different,"Maria Prorvich said. "The girl is only a pretext, but certainly not the main cause of the crime."
According to The Associated Press, Bolshoi's general director, Anatoly Iksanov, accused veteran principal dancer and Vorontsova's coach Nikolai Tsiskaridze of inspiring the attack. Tsiskaridze, who has himself come under scrutiny due to his feud with the Bolshoi management, denied the allegation.
When contacted by the AP, Tsiskaridze said, "I have nothing to say..." He previously said Filin and Dmitrichenko often clashed about money.