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Dancer accused in Bolshoi attack defends actions

MOSCOW – The star dancer accused of masterminding the attack on the Bolshoi ballet chief acknowledged Thursday that he gave the go-ahead for the attack, but said he did not order anyone to throw acid on the artistic director’s face.

Bolshoi soloist Pavel Dmitrichenko told a Moscow court that he had complained about ballet chief Sergei Filin to an acquaintance, who offered to “beat him up.”

“It’s not true that I ordered him to throw acid at Filin,” Dmitrichenko told the court, which was to decide whether he and his two co-defendants will remain in custody. The 29-year-old dancer said he did not intend for the attack to cause such bodily harm.

Filin’s face and eyes suffered severe burns in the Jan. 17 attack, which exposed a culture of deep intrigue and infighting at the famed theater.

Moscow police said Thursday that Dmitrichenko had paid about $1,600 to the man, Yuri Zarutsky, accused of throwing the jar of acid in the ballet chief’s face as he returned home late at night. The third defendant drove the getaway car, but said in video provided by police that he did not know the purpose of his mission.

Dmitrichenko said he was angered by Filin’s decisions on how money was allocated to dancers at the theater.

State television has suggested that the dancer was motivated by Filin’s refusal to cast his young girlfriend, also a Bolshoi soloist, in a starring role.

Dmitrichenko’s lawyer asked the court to free his client on bail, noting that he had virtually acknowledged his guilt.

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