MOSCOW – Police have reportedly detained three men, including a top dancer, for questioning in connection with the vicious sulfuric acid attack on Sergei Filin, the artistic director for the renowned Bolshoi ballet company.
Pavel Dmitrichenko, who has been performing the lead role in a production of “Ivan the Terrible,” was detained after his home was searched by police earlier in the day. According to RIA Novosti, Dmitrichenko has been with the Bolshoi ballet since 2002. Theater representatives have reportedly said there was tension between him and Filin.
According to Russian news reports, the other two men are Yuri Zarutsky, believed to have been the hooded attacker, and Andrei Lipatov, who is believed to have been the getaway driver. Police have yet to say who they believe ordered the attack.
According to the gossip website Lifenews.ru, authorities used electronic surveillance to track the suspects.
Filin was once the Bolshoi’s principal dancer and was named artistic director in 2011 amid controversial competition for the job. He was splashed with acid outside his home in central Moscow on Jan. 17 by a hooded assailant who then fled. Filin’s face was severely burned and he is currently in Germany as doctors work to restore his eyesight.
In an interview with the BBC before he left Russia, Filin said he had an idea who was behind the attack, but declined to name names.
Early on, fingers were pointed at Nikolai Tsiskaridze, another former top Bolshoi dancer, who has been critical of Filin’s work as artistic director and was said to have wanted the job. He has denied any involvement in the attack.
Filin reportedly told associates in the months leading up to the assault that he had been the subject of an intimidation campaign, including harassing calls and messages, but declined offers for protection.