MOSCOW, November 20 (RAPSI) – A former top dancer for the Bolshoi Ballet, Nikolai Tsiskaridze, will testify before a Moscow court next week in connection with an acid attack that left the ballet’s artistic director with third-degree burns to his face and eyes, the RAPSI news service reported from the courtroom on Wednesday.
Tsiskaridze, to appear on Monday, is not a suspect but is believed to have been well acquainted with a fellow soloist accused of calling for the attack. Tsiskaridze was also an open critic of Filin’s work at the ballet.
Bolshoi soloist Pavel Dmitrichenko and two other suspects face 12 years in prison over the attack, in which concentrated sulfuric acid was flung into the face of artistic director Sergei Filin outside his Moscow apartment building in January.
Dmitrichenko is accused of calling for the attack. He has admitted that he was unhappy with Filin’s direction but has maintained that he is innocent. The two other suspects are the alleged attacker, Yury Zarutsky, and driver Andrei Lipatov.
Filin has suggested that the aim of the attack may have been to remove him from his position as artistic director and to destroy the prestigious Moscow ballet company's reputation.
Filin returned to Moscow last September after six months of treatment in a German hospital. He has undergone more than 20 eye surgeries, and German doctors said that his eyesight had improved significantly.
After losing more than 90 percent of his vision in his left eye and becoming totally blind in his right eye, 80 percent of the vision in his left eye has been restored, and Filin can distinguish big objects with his right eye.