MOSCOW, March 18 - RAPSI. Bolshoi Theater artistic director Sergei Filin, the victim of an acid attack, claims that top dancer Nikolai Tsiskaridze threatened him with a compromising audio tape, alluding to the fact that the world-famous principal dancer might have been in on the attack, according to an Izvestia News report.
Filin claims that Tsiskaridze could be involved in the attack. Although he had not threatened him directly, a quarrel a month earlier could ultimately have led to the acid attack, the art director said.
According to a source with close ties to investigators, Filin said to investigators during the first interview that Tsiskaridze claimed to have an audiotape of Filin's
conversation with Tsiskaridze's student Anzhelina Vorontsova, during which he allegedly suggested that she should leave Tsiskaridze and find another tutor. Filin added that Tsiskaridze had taken issue with the fact that Filin hadn't afforded his students better roles.
Tsiskaridze told RIA Novosti in late January that Bolshoi administrators had waged a campaign of harassment against him. The confrontation between the administration and the dancer came to a head after the acid attack against Filin.
The source said that Filin claims that Bolshoi dancer Pavel Dmitrichenko had also been collecting compromising materials about him, had openly threatened him, and also dropped hints about a "surprise." Filin said Ruslan Pronin, the man in charge of the ballet group and a close friend of Dmitrichenko, knew about Filin's plans.
Tsiskaridze and Pronin were unavailable for comment.
Dmitrichenko and two other men have been detained in connection with the acid attack against Filin. If convicted, the assailants face up to eight years in prison for willfully inflicting damage on the health of another person.
Sergei Filin suffered third degree burns to his face and eyes on January 17 when unknown assailants attacked him with what is believed to have been concentrated acid.
Filin, 42, joined the Bolshoi as a dancer in 1988 after graduating from the Moscow School of Choreography. He has also been invited on several occasions to dance with the English, Hungarian and Japanese national ballets, as well as at many other theaters. He ended his dancing career in 2008. In March 2011, he was appointed artistic director of the Bolshoi Theater amid fierce rivalry for the position.
Tsiskaridze joined the Bolshoi Ballet as a dancer in 1992. Having drawn the attention of former artistic director Yury Grigorovich and an array of other ballet legends, he soon began dancing starring roles. Now a principal dancer with the ballet, he has received international fame and a barrage of prestigious awards, including the title of People's Artist of the Russian Federation in 2001.