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Bolshoi’s Filin almost blind after attack

The Bolshoi artistic director Sergei Filin, who had acid thrown on his face in a horrific assault this year, is almost blind, the Russian theatre’s spokeswoman said Thursday.

“We spoke three days ago, and Sergei said that he can’t see at all in one eye and has 10 percent eyesight in the other one,” said the Bolshoi theatre spokeswoman Katerina Novikova.

“His doctors don’t want to publicly discuss this or give any prognoses. Their job is to save his sight,” she added, speaking during a press-conference about the theatre’s upcoming season.

The attack on Filin in January was the worst scandal to date at Russia’s most famous theatre. The suspected attackers are jailed in Moscow as police proceed with the investigation, and Filin is receiving medical treatment in Germany.

“He is having another surgery as we speak,” said Galina Stepanenko, who has taken on Filin’s duties as artistic director while he is away.

Bolshoi’s management had said that they are treating his incapacitation as temporary, and that Filin continues to give advice on current and upcoming ballet stagings.

In March, Filin appeared in a conference with his German doctors, who said that he will be able to recover enough vision to go back to his professional life.

The 42-year-old former star dancer also suffered third degree burns when an man cornered him and threw sulphuric acid on his face, in an assault the investigation believes was ordered by another Bolshoi dancer Pavel Dmitrichenko, currently in pre-trial detention.

Dmitrichenko has said in court that he asked the perpetrator to beat Filin up, not to attack him with acid.

The Bolshoi ballet, which has just toured Australia, has been rocked by scandals lately and this month dropped veteran star Nikolai Tsiskaridze after he gave interviews calling for the management to be sacked.