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Sergei Filin, the artistic director of Russia’s prestigious Bolshoi Ballet, is in danger of losing his eyesight Friday morning after being the victim of an acid attack, officials confirmed. A masked man threw acid in his face Thursday night after Filin, 42, had received several anonymous threats.
Investigators are currently focusing on the theory that Filin was being targeted because of his job, but are also looking into the possibility that it may have been over property or money, they told Interfax news service, reports the New York Times.
According to RiaNovosti, Filin has suffered third-degree burns to his face and eyes. Bolshoi spokesperson Yekaterina Novikova said that it could take up to six months to recover.
“Sergei is in a satisfactory condition, he is in our burns center, not intensive care,” spokesman for the Moscow hospital he was taken to said Friday.
Filin was a dancer for the troupe before becoming the artistic director in 2011 despite fierce competition for the position.
For months, Filin had been the target of threats and acts of intimidation, which included phone calls and his car tires slashed. The local Izvestia newspaper reported that a hacker had been arrested after Filin’s Facebook and email were hacked according Bolshoi general director Anatoly Iksanov.
Iksanov also confirmed that he will be taken to Belgium for further burn treatment.
“He is a man of principle and never compromised,” Iksanov reportedly told Channel One, notes The AP. He later stated, “The goal (of the attack) was to create a split and disagreement in the theatre’s management.”