Bolshoi director Sergei Filin says he knows who was behind acid attack

Sergei Filin, the artistic director of the Bolshoi Ballet who was badly injured last month in an acid attack, has said he knows who was behind the assault.

Filin, who is due to fly to Germany on Monday to continue treatment to restore his eyesight, which was badly damaged in the attack, told the BBC he was sure the aim of the attack was to remove him from his post. “I’ve had four operations already and today I had another small operation which wasn’t planned,” he said. “Based on what I feel, when the doctors give me the opportunity to sort of open my eyes and try to see something, I think that there’s a chance that I will be able to see my children again. I really want to believe that.”

Filin said he had received threats in the past and had “brushed them aside too easily”. “I ignored the advice of my friends to take on a driver and a bodyguard. Because the intimidation I was encountering – the mass attacks on my mobile phones that kept ringing constantly, the hacking of my email accounts, my messages were totally rewritten in a negative way and posted on Facebook – I see now that all of this was leading up to the tragedy to come. I think that if I’d taken this more seriously and seen it as a sign of an attack, if I’d at least taken on a driver, then this never would have happened.”

Filin was attacked outside his home in central Moscow on 17 January. A masked assailant threw acid in his face. Doctors said he suffered third degree burns to his face and neck. Filin said the attack was designed “to remove me as the Bolshoi’s artistic director for a long period, and to damage the reputation of the Bolshoi Ballet. Because I think we’ve done a lot, and we’re doing a lot, we’re moving in the right direction there. And someone really doesn’t like what I’ve been doing there. Perhaps they don’t like the fact I’ve been successful.”

“I not only have a suspicion about who did this, but I’m absolutely certain I know who did this. But I will only speak about this when investigators are ready to announce this.”

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