Three men, including star dancer, confess to Bolshoi ballet director acid attack

Russian police say dancer Pavel Dmitrichenko hired two men to attack Sergei Filin

Published March 6, 2013 1:47PM (EST)

Three men, Andrei Lipatov, Yuri Zarutsky and star ballet dancer Pavel Dmitrichenko, have confessed to burning Bolshoi ballet director Sergei Filin with sulfuric acid in an alleyway in January. The heinous attack left Filin nearly blind with severe burns and reverberated through the nation and beyond as it exposed deep unrest within one of Russia's most esteemed institutions.

The New York Times reports that the men have confessed to the crime, allegedly organized by Dmitrichenko. According to investigators, Dmitrichenko, the lead soloist at the ballet company, had a long-running professional grudge with the theater and a deep "dislike" for Filin. He compared the dancers' salaries to that of migrant workers, telling Private Correspondent magazine that even “migrant workers would not agree to work on a construction site for this money.”

Dmitrichenko is believed to have hired the two other men to execute the attack on Filin. However, he told investigators that, "I organized the attack, but not to the extent that it occurred."

Bolshoi company spokesperson Katerina Novikova said of the breakthrough in the high-profile case that, “It’s important for the future so that nobody acts like this, because they will know that they’re going to be punished. It’s important for the theater, and it’s important for the whole country.”

Filin, who is currently in Germany for treatment, had no comment, but he had earlier suspected the attack was motivated by professional conflicts.

By Prachi Gupta

Prachi Gupta is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on pop culture. Follow her on Twitter at @prachigu or email her at

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Arts Bolshoi Ballet Dance Moscow Russia Sergei Filin