Helene

Sergei Filin Attacked

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A picture in today's Times shows Filin with heavy scarring on the right side of his face and neck, even though most of his face his hidden by dark glasses and a woollen hat pulled down to his eyebrows. Clearly the damage caused by the acid is extremely severe and not just to his eyes.

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Yes, permanent scarring on Filin's face, eleven surgeries (and counting) on his eyes, no vision in his right eye and so far only limited vision in his left, and yet Tsiskaridze and some of his supporters still claim that there was no acid in the jar and the whole thing was a hoax. But I still think that Filin looks amazingly good considering he had acid thrown in his face. He may be scarred but he still looks like himself. He still has his face. I guess the press and I have different definitions for the word "disfigured."

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The pictures here: http://www.newser.co...work-again.html give a good view of Sergei's face where the damage to the skin can be seen on the right jaw and the neck. To my relief it doesn't look as extremely severe.

Eyes, eyes are the obvious priority in his case. Doctors and God help him to regain as much of his eyesight as possible.

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These pictures do not give a good view of anything---the resolution is too low. But even there you can see that his entire face and neck are scarred. This, combined with the statements from his doctors and the reports of more than a dozen surgeries, looks extremely severe to me.

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These latest reports about all the layers of his skin being destroyed and the anticipation of severe scarring contradict the encouraging reports about the condition of his skin at the hospital in Moscow. From what I understood after a couple of skin grafts it was decided that his skin was doing well enough that it should be able to heal on its own. So I'm a bit confused with these latest statements - especially the part about the anticipation of MORE scarring. Does that mean they expect his scarring to get even worse? But I agree the main concern is his eyesight. I wonder if he'll eventually be able to see well enough not only to return to work, but also to be able to do normal things like read a book, watch a movie, drive a car and play with his sons. It makes me sick when I think about what's been done to him.

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These latest reports about all the layers of his skin being destroyed and the anticipation of severe scarring contradict the encouraging reports about the condition of his skin at the hospital in Moscow. From what I understood after a couple of skin grafts it was decided that his skin was doing well enough that it should be able to heal on its own. So I'm a bit confused with these latest statements - especially the part about the anticipation of MORE scarring. Does that mean they expect his scarring to get even worse? But I agree the main concern is his eyesight. I wonder if he'll eventually be able to see well enough not only to return to work, but also to be able to do normal things like read a book, watch a movie, drive a car and play with his sons. It makes me sick when I think about what's been done to him.

I agree... it truly is a heinous thing and he has many months (and perhaps a lifetime) of dealing with this. Over what? All the reasons and motives seem so petty, pride and egos (not that there can ever be a true reason to throw acid on someone anyway).

My heart goes out to him and his family, it truly is a very very sick thing to do to another human being. I really hope he gets to come back and continue to do his work - but I also imagine going back into such an environment will not be easy for him.

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Two more translations. The first one is from gazeta.ru, http://www.gazeta.ru...n_2803161.shtml

Employees of the Bolshoi Theater elected Pavel Dmitrichenko the chairman of the labor union committee of the Bolshoi Theater during a recent meeting of the labor union, related on Sunday a principal dancer of the theater Nikolay Tsiskaridze.

"Last week there was a meeting of the theater, and all unanimously elected Dmitrichenko, who is being investigated, as the chairman of the labor union committee of the Bolshoi Theater," said Tsiskaridze live on the NTV television channel.

He also remarked that "we saw Pavel on TV the next day after he was detained (in the case of the attack on the Artistic Director of the Ballet Sergey Filin.---Gazeta.Ru), with a huge bruises under the eyes, and the guys who had seen him the day before all said that a person cannot change like that in one day."

Commenting on the situation with suspicions against him, Tsiskaridze remarked that the investigators were sure of his innocence in the attack against the ballet master Sergey Filin from the very beginning.

"The investigator who was interrogating me told me that he doesn't understand why he was interrogating me," Tsiskaridze is quoted as saying by "Interfax". According to him, the troupe of the Bolshoi Theater does not believe the doctors' reports regarding Filin's health.

"Everybody has suspicions, we would like for the professionals to clarify to us, where is this burn, a third-degree burn that they are talking about, they are also talking about a large number of surgeries. All the artists are talking about this among themselves," he said.

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The second one is from "Izvestia", http://izvestia.ru/news/546821

Initially Nikolay Tsiskaridze was a suspect in the attack on the chief ballet master of the Bolshoi Theater. Among those who could have stood behind the attack, Filin named the soloist of the theater Nikolay Tsiskaridze. During the first interrogation, the Artistic Director of the ballet company said that Tsiskaridze blackmailed him using the recording of Filin's conversation with ballerina Angelina Vorontsova.

According to "Izvestia's" information, Sergey Filin shared his suspicions regarding the supposed organizer of one of the most sensational crimes of 2013 inside Moscow's Hospital 36 the next day after the attack.

"The name of Nikolay Tsiskaridze came up during the first interrogation," a source close to the investigation told "Izvestia". "Sergey Filin said that the leading soloist of the Bolshoi theater told him that he was clamping down on his students. "According to the ballet master, Tsiskaridze did not make direct threats; however, literally a month before the attack there was an incident between them that, according to the Bolshoi Artistic Director's opinion, could have led to the attack."

At that time, according to the Bolshoi Ballet's Artistic Director, Tsiskaridze said that he was in possession of an audio recording of a conversation of Sergey Filin with Angelina Vorontsova, in which the ballet master proposed that the ballerina change her coach and leave Tsiskaridze. "Nikolay Tsiskaridze called this conversation a compromising material against me," explained ballet master to the insvestigator.

In addition to Tsiskaridze, Sergey Filin also mentioned Pavel Dmitrichenko and the ballet company manager Ruslan Pronin during the interrogation. The former openly threatened him and hinted at a "surprise" in the making, and the latter was a close friend of Dmitrichenko and was in the know about all the Artistic Director's work.

"Sergey Filin related that, besides Tsiskaridze, Pavel Dmitrichenko was also collecting compromising material against him," continues "Izvestia's" interlocutor. "The theory with Dmitrichenko looked more convincing, because he, according to Filin, openly voiced dissatisfaction, made complaints, provoked the troupe, threatened, mentioned some "surprise" in the making."

The ballet company manager Ruslan Pronin was initially a suspect not only as a close friend of Pavel Dmitrichenko, but also as a person who was informed about many aspects of Filin's professional activities. Two days after the attack, while in the hospital, the ballet master recalled that on the day of the attack Ruslan Pronin asked him whether he was going to watch the performance at the Bolshoi. Filin told him that he was going to go to MHAT that evening.

Pronin became the only suspect who asked Sergey Filin about his plans for the evening of January 17. However, later it turned out that he was asked to find out Filin's whereabouts by none other than Pavel Dmitrichenko---under the pretext that he wanted to give the Artistic Director a letter from the labor union about problems in the theater. The same evening, Ruslan Pronin sent to Dmitrichenko's phone two text messages. The first one was: "Filin came in, you should stop by regarding the union." The second one said that the Artistic Director of the Ballet had left the theater.

Both Nikolay Tsiskaridze and Ruslan Pronin were not available for comments when this material was being prepared.

Filin reconstructed the details of the evening of January 17 minute by minute. On his way back from the theater, he gave a ride to Karetnaya Street to his colleague Olga Smirnova, and then went to the courtyard of his house. He walked from the parking to the metal gate which was in front of the entrance, and started keying in the code; however, the device didn't immediately work. At this moment he noticed a young man three feet away who was hiding his face under a mask or a scarf. The attacker was looking Sergey Filin directly in the eyes, and kept his right hand behind his back. Suspecting foul play, the Artistic Director wanted to do something, but at this moment the criminal quickly approached him and splashed acid in his face.

Injured Sergey Filin ran towards the guard's booth at the parking lot, falling down several times on his way. The guard, after seeing the ballet master who was writhing in pain, attempted to wipe his face with snow, then called Filin's spouse Maria and the paramedics. Together with his wife, the Bolshoi Ballet's Artistic Director went home upstairs and tried to wash his eyes and face with cold water.

Recently, both the investigators and Filin himself confirmed that Pavel Dmitrichenko was among the suspects from the very beginning.

"I'm unhappy with what happened to me and with the fact that somebody decided that it's ok to do this to me. As to the suspects---the person who has been detained, was among them," Filin said during a press-conference at the clinic in Aachen on March 15.

Earlier, the head of the Investigative Department of Moscow Central District's police Alexander Kuligin said in an interview with "Izvestia" that the investigators built their theories based on the testimony of Sergey Filin and on the interrogations of other employees of the Bolshoi Theater. During the vetting of various theories, according to Kuligin, the investigators zoomed in on one, which subsequently was confirmed.

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can someone give us a rundown on this? I don't know when this was done but it showed up on line a few minutes ago

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A couple of excerpts from this are quoted above in my post #457. Basic summary: unscrupulous people piling on a severely injured person. And on, and on, and on. "All the confrontations between Pavel and Sergey were because of all the injustices that Sergey perpetrated on various dancers... Sergey was looking very strange at the press conference. If you are a burn victim, you'd want your burns to be uncovered or at most covered with cotton. How come he was wearing a heavy woolen cap and a scarf? How can one look like that after chemical burns?---Yes, everybody at the theater is talking about this... All of us have suspicions---we all would like for professionals to explain to us, where are these, unfortunately sulphuric acid burns---God save everyone from these---especially they are talking about third-degree burns, about a wild number of surgeries... In actuality, you are looking at this person yourselves (footage of Filin's press conference being shown on the big screen in the studio) and its funny to give any explanations... Everyone at the theater is talking about this."

Fifteen minutes of this video were enough to make me want to throw up, then I stopped watching. It's too disgusting for me to finish watching the entire 40 minutes, sorry.

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Ilya, thank you so much for your translations. They are a great contribution to the board.

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I have news for him; if you're burned you also want the right kind of covering in order to minimize scarring and what I think is called a keloid, those sort of lumpy irregular scars that you see sometimes that don't get treatment. Odds are there is some sort of compressive bandage underneath the hat that we cannot see that gets changed on a very regular basis. Additionally I suspect he's covered that way because were he to go into an unregulated environment he would be particularly susceptible to infection. How damned ignorant can this guy get? Filin, if I read this correctly, was sort of half facing away from the attacker; had he been facing him head on the damage would have been even worse. And I seem to remember reading that the solution he used was a sort of home-made mixture which he had been trying to doctor to make it stronger - imagine if he had been able to get hold of the industrial stuff! Someone who was attacked face-on was the British model Katie Piper: http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=2c8_1269583013

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Nikolay Tsiskaridze is a disgusting excuse for a human being. It's not enough for him that Sergei Filin is a victim of a horrific physical attack from which he will never fully recover from, he has to continue to attack him in the press and smear his good name as well? Does he think all of these doctors are in on some kind of conspiracy? Does he think Sergei is faking his blindness? If his attacker had in fact succeeded in ruining Sergei's face and completely blinding him the way he intended, would Tsiskaridze then be satisfied? As for the whole troupe questioning the extent of Sergei Filin's injuries - I'm skeptical about that. Maybe Tsiskaridze's own circle of groupies, but the whole troupe? Because if everyone feels that way, then what the hell is Sergei coming back to? I think he's paid way too high a price for working at the Bolshoi. I know he loves the Bolshoi and I admire his courage and determination to come back, but I don't think any job position is worth what he's now going through.

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Tsiskaridze said earlier that anyone who knows a little science would know that it couldn't possibly have been sulfuric acid because if you add water to sulfuric acid, it becomes explosive, and since the guard and Filin rubbed snow on Filin's face and neck right after he was attacked, and he showered with cold water as soon as he was able to get back to his apartment and before the ambulance came, the snow/water would have done more damage than good. (Sulfuric acid needs to be added to water to avoid the reaction.) However, any one knowing how to use Google search and knowing a little science can make specious arguments, since the appropriate first response for sulfuric acid burns is to rinse with copious amounts of cold water. Running water over acid-burned skin is not the same as adding water to a container of concentrated sulfuric acid.

Tsiskaridze brought this up ostensibly to argue that the authorities' story and methods were not up to snuff and that anything the police said should be suspect. That line of thinking has obviously worked in the theater, so why should he stop now?

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No one condones the violence, or is not saddened by Filin's pain and suffering. We all pray for his comfort and strength.

However, we have not discussed so much that is contained in the rather limited New Yorker article, which explains the attitude toward the police, the persons in power, and the environment.

This was Russia. Only the naïve flinch at brazen corruption. When I asked another member of the board of trustees about bribes, thievery, and waste at the Bolshoi, he shrugged. ... The board member was shocked no more by the notion of financial malfeasance ...'I could care less,' .. 'Either you are one of the top three theatres in the world or you aren’t. If you spend an extra fifty million dollars, who cares? What’s a few hundred million for a country like ours?'...

'[ Money showed itself all the time, in the intrusions of rich boyfriends, in the impertinent demands of board members and politicians, in the campaigns to bring in more oligarchs to augment the budget. The dancers themselves worried about money; their base salaries were small, and they depended on Filin’s favor to be given the serious roles that would boost their income...

: 'What happens in the theatre reflects what is happening in the streets.' Russians, in the contemporary version of their fatalism, see their country as a landscape of endless bespredel, lawlessness, a world devoid of order or justice or restraint. One disaster is of a piece with another. The acid attack on Filin was of a piece with recent events like the broad-daylight assassination of Aslan Usoyan, also known as Grandpa Hassan, a renowned mobster. ... 'They found him encased in a barrel of concrete! It’s just like what happened to Sergei Filin.'

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Tsiskaridze said earlier that anyone who knows a little science would know that it couldn't possibly have been sulfuric acid because if you add water to sulfuric acid, it becomes explosive, and since the guard and Filin rubbed snow on Filin's face and neck right after he was attacked, and he showered with cold water as soon as he was able to get back to his apartment and before the ambulance came, the snow/water would have done more damage than good. (Sulfuric acid needs to be added to water to avoid the reaction.) However, any one knowing how to use Google search and knowing a little science can make specious arguments, since the appropriate first response for sulfuric acid burns is to rinse with copious amounts of cold water. Running water over acid-burned skin is not the same as adding water to a container of concentrated sulfuric acid.

Tsiskaridze brought this up ostensibly to argue that the authorities' story and methods were not up to snuff and that anything the police said should be suspect. That line of thinking has obviously worked in the theater, so why should he stop now?

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002492.htm

If the chemical is on the skin or in the eyes, flush with lots of water for at least 15 minutes.

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This is a link to an article on a Russian website. I did a Google translation but it's not hard to understand the gist of it. I thought it was interesting that the writer raised doubts about the 300 signatures supposedly supporting Dmitrichenko and how Tsiskaridze was vague when asked about them. Nice to know that not everyone in Russia is drinking his Kool Aid.

http://informacia.ru/elita/5/3348-2384.html

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Tsiskaridze brought this up ostensibly to argue that the authorities' story and methods were not up to snuff and that anything the police said should be suspect. That line of thinking has obviously worked in the theater, so why should he stop now?

It's not obvious to me that anything has "worked" in the theater. I still have only seen ten signatures on the letter in support of Dmitrichenko. Various numbers such as 300 or 360 signatures have been thrown around, but it is unclear to me whether the media has any reliable sources for these numbers. Even assuming that these numbers are correct (which I am not going to believe until I see the signers volunteer their names), only 10% of the Bolshoi employees signed the letter, as there are about 3500 employees. Even if we are to believe the reports that have come out in the press, then most of the principals, leading soloists, and teachers of the ballet company did not sign it.

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The Bolshoi hosted a big official show of support of Grigorovich this past week, in the form of the "first annual" Russki Balet Competition for young dancers from throughout the ballet academies. Filin was not mentioned in the Finals telecast on the national TV station Kultura, which I saw.

Iksanov and the Prime Minister's wife sat behind Grigorovich, who, as Chairman, sat in the middle of the jurors panel that included most ADs of top Russian ballet companies and some stars, such as Vishneva (who appeared to laugh at, or sometimes applaud, competitors...most unusual for a juror in such competitions).

For the thread on the competition, go here:

http://balletalert.i...ion-at-bolshoi/

Many Russian friends have commented to me that this appears to be a bit of old Politburo-like political play.

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There seem to be a lot of articles and reports of a meeting of the dancers in which they claim that the investigation was political and that Dmitrichenko is innocent and being railroaded, as well as questioning whether Filin was injured as badly as reported, although I'm not sure whether they mean altogether innocent, or innocent of planning an acid attack vs. a routine beating, in this case by a m?an who served prison time for killing someone in a routine beating. I'd call that a success, although it might backfire in the end, more along the lines of what Iksanov described as creating an atmosphere in which the attack took place.

Of the dancers whose signature has been made public, have they been vocally pro-Grigorovich?

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No one condones the violence, or is not saddened by Filin's pain and suffering. We all pray for his comfort and strength.

This statement is incorrect: there do exist people who are not saddened. Tsiskaridze said so many times, for example, in David Remnick's article:

When I asked him if he sympathized with Filin, who, at that point, was on his tenth operation, Tsiskaridze rolled his eyes and said, “I don’t care about what happened. After Filin started pressing on my students to leave me, after he banned artists from going to my class, I just stopped talking to him. If he calls me about work, we talk, but nothing more. I’m not interested in this person.”

There seem to be a lot of articles and reports of a meeting of the dancers in which they claim that the investigation was political and that Dmitrichenko is innocent and being railroaded, as well as questioning whether Filin was injured as badly as reported, although I'm not sure whether they mean altogether innocent, or innocent of planning an acid attack vs. a routine beating, in this case by a m?an who served prison time for killing someone in a routine beating. I'd call that a success, although it might backfire in the end, more along the lines of what Iksanov described as creating an atmosphere in which the attack took place.

Moreover, there have been reports of Dmitrichenko being elected "unanimously" or "almost unanimously" to be the chairman of Bolshoi's labor union, after his detention---this was claimed by Tsiskaridze in the video posted above and then found its way into a number of Russian newspapers. While all these stories certainly create the impression of many Bolshoi dancers supporting Dmitrichenko and questioning Filin, these reports are all vague on the number of people present at all these meetings. Do these reports have more than one source? I wonder.

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However, we have not discussed so much that is contained in the rather limited New Yorker article, which explains the attitude toward the police, the persons in power, and the environment.

Perhaps this might be because the topic's title is "Sergey Filin attacked". Naturally we are mostly discussing the brutal physical attack against him on January 17 and the brutal verbal attacks against him that have gone on for two months since then.

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Moreover, there have been reports of Dmitrichenko being elected "unanimously" or "almost unanimously" to be the chairman of Bolshoi's labor union, after his detention---this was claimed by Tsiskaridze in the video posted above and then found its way into a number of Russian newspapers. While all these stories certainly create the impression of many Bolshoi dancers supporting Dmitrichenko and questioning Filin, these reports are all vague on the number of people present at all these meetings. Do these reports have more than one source? I wonder.

Anna Antonicheva has confirmed Dmitrichenko's election. Apparently, the opera section of the performer's union elected him prior to his arrest, and the ballet section did so "last week."

http://www.mk.ru/cul...profsoyuza.html

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