Bolshoi Ballet soloist Pavel Dmitrichenko has been jailed for six years for organizing an acid attack on company’s artistic director Sergei Filin.
Two fellow defendants were jailed for 10 and four years.
Sulphuric acid was thrown at Sergei Filin outside his Moscow flat in January, badly damaging his eyesight.
Pavel Dmitrichenko had admitted he wanted Sergei Filin “roughed up” but had denied wanting acid thrown into his face.
Investigators said Pavel Dmitrichenko had organized the attack because of a conflict with Sergei Filin.
The case has revealed bitter rivalries and infighting at the Bolshoi, one of Russia’s most famous ballet and opera companies.
Pavel Dmitrichenko’s fellow defendant Yuri Zarutsky, a former convict, admitted actually throwing the acid. He was sentenced to ten years.
The third man accused, Andrei Lipatov, drove Yuri Zarutsky to and from the scene of the attack. He was given four years’ prison.
Pavel Dmitrichenko has been jailed for six years for organizing an acid attack on Bolshoi’s artistic director Sergei Filin
“Their guilt in committing the crime has been established in full,” judge Yelena Maximova at Moscow court said.
Yuri Zarutsky had argued that throwing acid in Sergei Filin’s face was his own idea. Andrei Lipatov said he had not known where he was taking the other man.
Since the attack near his home in Moscow on 17 January, Sergei Filin has had more than 20 operations to try to save his eyesight.
Following treatment in Germany, Sergei Filin returned to Moscow. Wearing dark glasses he gave evidence at the trial.
“The pain was immense and instant,” he said of the attack.
“It had been a beautiful winter night: silent, white, great drifts of snow falling upon snow. I began scooping up handfuls of it and pressing them into my eyes and cheeks to relieve the agony.”
Sergei Filin denied he had had any conflict with Pavel Dmitrichenko, whom he accused of seeking to damage his reputation before the attack through false allegations of affairs with ballerinas and favoritism.
Defense witnesses sought to portray Sergei Filin as authoritarian while Pavel Dmitrichenko was portrayed as a champion of other performers who feared to speak out against the artistic director.
The Bolshoi has undergone a number of changes, appointing a new director, Vladimir Urin.
On Monday, the sudden resignation of the Bolshoi’s music director and chief conductor, Vasily Sinaisky, was announced without explanation.
Vasily Sinaisky made no comment on his departure, according to Russian media. He had been due to conduct Verdi’s opera Don Carlos, which is premiering at the theatre in two weeks.
In another development, the Bolshoi said it was not renewing the contract of an aide to Sergei Filin, Dilyara Timergazina. Her contract expires at the end of this year.
A source told Russian daily Izvestia that Sergei Filin himself would no longer work for the company after his own contract expired in 2016.
Sergei Filin, the artistic director of the Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow, may recover enough of his sight to work again, doctors treating him at a German hospital have said.
Sergei Filin was the victim of an acid attack in January that damaged his eyes and disfigured his face.
He appeared at a news conference alongside doctors, wearing dark glasses, a scarf and a hat to cover much of his damaged skin.
Pavel Dmitrichenko, a dancer at the Balshoi Ballet, has been arrested over the attack.
He is accused of masterminding the attack, in which a masked man threw sulphuric acid in Sergei Filin’s face.
At Friday’s news conference Dr. Martin Hermel, a surgeon at the Aachen University Clinic where Sergei Filin is being treated, said there was “good hope for regaining usable vision” that may allow him to return to work.
But doctors also warned that “such chemical damage to the eyes demands complex, long-term treatment”, and predicted that Sergei Filin would spend “months rather than weeks” in treatment.
When he went to Germany for treatment in February he told reporters his vision was “foggy”.
Sergei Filin, the artistic director of the Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow, may recover enough of his sight to work again
At the press conference Sergei Filin demonstrated how doctors were testing his vision by asking him to count fingers held in front of his face.Doctors also warned that scarring caused by the acid would probably be permanent.
“The acid destroyed all layers of the skin of the face,” said Prof. Norbert Pallua, his plastic surgeon.
Sergei Filin said he was “not scared” by the prospect of returning to work at the ballet, despite the allegations that Pavel Dmitrichenko was responsible for the attack.
He did not comment on a letter sent to Russian President Vladimir Putin in defence of Pavel Dmitrichenko, signed by more than 300 members of the ballet company.
Sergei Filin has claimed that he knows who his attacker is, and said some people had disliked the way he was taking the ballet company, which is known for its infighting and rivalries.