Russian police have detained a star dancer for masterminding a vicious acid attack on the artistic director of the Bolshoi ballet in shocking turn of the two-month long investigation.
Leading Bolshoi dancer Pavel Dmitrichenko confessed to ordering the attack in a short video released by the police hours after his arrest on Wednesday.
“I organised this attack but not to the extent that it happened,” the 29-year-old dancer said in the footage.
A masked attacker flung concentrated sulphuric acid into the face of director Sergei Filin on a Moscow street on January 17. Mr Filin suffered third-degree burns to his face and eyes and has since undergone 10 surgeries in Russia and Germany. Doctors said they have saved his eyesight, but it will take him six months to recover.
Police also detained two other suspects - a man who carried out the attack and the driver of a getaway car. Both accomplices also confessed, police said.
Mr. Dmitrichenko declined to discuss his motives on video, but investigators blamed the attack on “hostile relationship” between the dancer and the ballet director.
Mr. Filin (42), maintained all along the attack was linked to his work at the theatre. He said some artists wanted his job, others wanted more dancing roles.
Mr. Dmitrichenko joined the Bolshoi in 2002 after graduating from a ballet school. He has danced the lead role in many Bolshoi productions, including the role of Tsar Ivan the Terrible in the ballet of the same name and the evil sorcerer Von Rothbart in Swan Lake.
Bolshoi, the icon of Russian culture since 19th century, has been riven by intrigue and scandals in recent years. Mr. Filin’s predecessor quit two years ago after erotic photos of him were posted on the web. After the attack on Mr. Filin the Bolshoi General Director, Anatoly Iksanov, accused another star dancer, Nikolai Tsiskaridze, of creating a poisonous atmosphere inside the theatre.