Video: Bolshoi Ballet Artistic Director Sergei Filin Attacked with Acid
Russian artistic director for the Bolshoi Ballet hopes to regain his sight after an attack last week that involved someone pouring sulphuric acid on his face. The attack has deeply damaged his skin and eyes, and could leave him blind.
"My eyes worry me the most," Sergei Filin, 42, said. "I want to see [my kids] grow up, how they start out in life."
The father of three had surgery on Tuesday to address facial injuries. He was scheduled to have a second eye operation Wednesday. He's currently under the care of Russian doctors who are working on restoring his vision.
Filin must wear a mask to prevent infection on his face.
He was attacked with acid after a series of suspicious acts occurred to him over a number of weeks. It started when his email was hacked, then shortly after his tires were slashed and he started receiving anonymous calls.
After leaving his apartment building in Moscow, he was attacked by the person near the gate. The person was wearing a mask that only showed his eyes. Authorities believe the attack was an inside job, as the ballet and Filin have received criticism for their choice in dancers.
Bolshoi is one of the oldest ballet companies in the world. In recent years, people have divided their loyalty between Filin, who took the position of artistic director in 2011, and the former artistic director Yuri Grigorovich.
Filin knows the ballet world has very real rivalries. He had a rivalry himself at one time, with principal dancer Andrei Uvarov.
"But neither of us had the desire to pour acid over the other, or sprinkle broken glass in his ballet slippers," Filin said.
Galina Stepanenko, 46, is taking over Filin's place while he recovers. She said she is going to continue Filin's plans for the season and hopes that the attack helps bring the ballet community together.
"I think that we will now respect, value and especially take care of one another," she said.
It may take a few weeks for a full prognosis on Filin, and an appropriate estimate to when he can return, but he is already eager to get back.
"Even if my features are seriously changed, that doesn't frighten me at all," he said.
The suspects involved in the acid incident have not been found.