- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 1, 2016

MOSCOW (AP) - A Bolshoi dancer convicted in 2013 for his role in an acid attack that scarred the face and eyes of the famed Russian ballet’s artistic director has been paroled, his lawyer said Wednesday.

Russian news agencies quoted the dancer’s lawyer Sergei Kadyrov saying that Pavel Dmitrichenko was released Tuesday after a parole commission granted his request for an early release.

Dmitrichenko was found guilty of asking an ex-convict to attack Sergei Filin, who ended up losing much of his sight after acid was tossed onto his face outside his Moscow home. Dmitrichenko was sentenced to 5 ½ years in prison in 2013.

Filin’s lawyer, Tatyana Stukalova, told Rossiya-24 television that she would appeal the ruling because she says Dmitrichenko poses a danger to her client.

The January 2013 attack and the ensuing trial revealed deep divisions at Russia’s most renowned theater. Some Bolshoi dancers sided with Dmitrichenko, who insisted that he never contracted to have the attack done, only complained about Filin.

Much of the trial centered less on Dmitrichenko’s role in the attack than on whether or not Filin’s management of the ballet company could have driven him to the crime. As part of his defense, the dancer cited several incidents in which troupe members were driven to tears by the artistic director.

The dancers who stood by 32-year old Dmitrichenko, who starred in the Bolshoi’s “Ivan the Terrible,” asked the court to acquit him, arguing that a prison sentence for the Bolshoi principal dancer would kill his chances of resuming his career. It was not clear if Dmitrichenko, who has spent more than three years in prison, would go back to professional dancing.

Six months after the attack, the Russian culture ministry that oversees the Bolshoi Theatre replaced the long-serving director general who was embroiled in a war of words with Filin’s opponents.

Filin stayed on as the ballet’s artistic director while undergoing treatment and rehabilitation until the Bolshoi last year refused to sign a new contract with him. It hired Makhar Vaziev, who left La Scala in Milan for the job in Moscow.


This story has corrected the name of Sergei Filin’s lawyer to Tatyana Stukalova.

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