MOSCOW — The victim of the Bolshoi Ballet acid attack came face to face with his alleged attackers for the first time today in a Russian courtroom.
But Sergei Filin, the maimed artistic director for the theater, said he could not forgive them.
“It is a horror about which I no longer want to speak. But I want to say that I forgive no one for what happened to me. No one,” he told the court, according to the Russian Legal Information Agency.
Filin testified in the trial against Pavel Dmitrichenko, once one of the Bolshoi’s star dancers, and his two alleged co-conspirators.
Dmitrichenko is the alleged mastermind, accused of ordering the others to attack Filin as he arrived at his home on Jan, 17. Though he initially confessed to the crime when he was detained earlier this year, he later said he did not instruct the other men to use acid.
Authorities accused him of ordering the attack after his girlfriend, a promising Bolshoi ballerina, was passed over for the lead role in Swan Lake, evoking a melodramatic theme reminiscent of the 2010 movie “Black Swan.”
Filin arrived at the court today in a dark suit and dark sunglasses, hiding his eyes, which were badly damaged in the attack. He has had more than two-dozen surgeries and has only regained partial sight in one eye, he said.
The two men rarely looked directly at each other, despite being jammed into a small courtroom, where Dmitrichenko and the other two men stood in a cage reserved for defendants in most Russian courts.
In his testimony, Filin accused Dmitrichenko of ordering the hit out of jealousy and revenge. He described a gifted, but ultimately emotionally troubled young dancer. He said he had been subjected to a long intimidation campaign leading up to the attack. His emails were hacked, threatening voicemails left on his phone, and his car tires slashed.
He accused Dmitrichenko of trying to dig up dirt about him, including financial trouble and evidence of an extramarital affair, and ordering the acid attack only when he found nothing.
Filin described the attack in detail.
“I immediately felt very strong pain,” he said, adding that his vision disappeared almost immediately.
Dmitrichenko, who had been best known for dancing the role of villains like Ivan the Terrible in Bolshoi productions, fidgeted with a pile of papers containing his own lengthy list of questions for Filin.
When his time came, he accused Filin of accepting bribes from ballerinas and even having affairs with some who sought highly coveted roles in Bolshoi performances. Filin denied the allegations.
Filin said he would be filing a civil lawsuit against Dmitrichenko, seeking over $100,000 in physical and emotional damages.
If convicted, Dmitrichenko and his co-defendants — the man who allegedly threw the acid and his getaway driver — face up to 12 years in prison.