Bolshoi ballet chief says knows who is behind acid attack on him

MOSCOW Sun Feb 3, 2013 11:43pm IST

1 of 2. Sergei Filin, artistic director of Russia's prestigious Bolshoi Ballet, gestures during an interview in a still image from footage shot by REN TV in a Moscow hospital January 18, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/REN TV via Reuters TV

MOSCOW (Reuters) - The Bolshoi Ballet's artistic director was quoted on Sunday as saying he knew who was behind an attack on him in which a masked assailant splashed acid over his face threatening his eyesight.

Sergei Filin, who has undergone several operations on his eyes and face since the January 17 attack, did not give any names but made clear he linked the case to his job.

"I not only have a suspicion about who did this, but I'm absolutely certain I know who did this. But I will only speak about this when investigators are ready to announce this," the 42-year-old told the BBC in an interview published on Sunday.

Filin was due to be released from a Moscow hospital on Monday and immediately leave for Germany for further treatment.

"I was a manager, the manager of a very serious collective, the Bolshoi Ballet. Perhaps there are people who didn't like that, or who thought I shouldn't be, or who consider themselves hard done by. But I can't call them my enemies. Why did they want to get rid of me?" Filin also said.

"And someone really doesn't like what I've been doing there, perhaps they don't like the fact I've been successful," he added.

Filin had been one of the most talked about figures in Russia as head of the ballet for nearly two years when he was attacked on returning home at night.

He said the attack followed repeated threats and may have been motivated by rivalry or resentment. Filin's job gave him power to make or break careers at the theatre known for its rivalry and intrigue.

Russia's top eye doctor told Reuters on January 24 that Filin would retain at least some vision in each eye.

(Reporting by Gabriela Baczynska; Editing by Stephen Powell)

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