Star Dancer Arrested in Insane Russian Ballet Acid Attack

Pavel Dmitrichenko, a star dancer at Moscow's legendary Bolshoi Ballet, has apparently confessed to orchestrating an acid attack that left the company's artistic director Sergei Filin with burns to his face and eyes—an attack possibly motivated by Filin's treatment of Dmitrichenko's girlfriend, another Bolshoi dancer.

In a video police posted to the internet earlier today, Dmitrichenko admitted to "organiz[ing] the attack, but not to the extent that it occurred"; police later said that, as Filin had long claimed, the motivation was a professional grudge. Filin had been entering his apartment building when a man in a mask threw acid into his eyes. He's now receiving treatment in Germany, where doctors are attempting to recover as much of his eyesight as possible.

Dmitrichenko, a lead soloist whom Filin had cast as Ivan the Terrible last year, hadn't previously been named as a suspect, but he had been known to fight with Filin over the company's salaries, and Filin was also said to have stalled the career of Dmitrichenko's girlfriend Anzhelina Vorontsova. (Neither Vorontzova nor Filin have commented on the arrest.) The world of Russian ballet is passionate and intense, matched only by the world of New York blogging (which is similarly athletic and physically demanding), and Moscow was captivated by the crime, as were its investigators:

Detectives worked their way through the ranks of the Bolshoi, becoming so entranced by the world of the ballet that they began asking Mr. Filin for tickets, he said in a recent interview.

If only newspapers had ballet tickets they could promise to the detectives investigating their journalists' murders!

[NYT, images via AP]