Helene

Sergei Filin Attacked

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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

Wow...this is getting more and more bizarre each time. So Dmitrichenko is indeed popular among ballet dancers, even after his arrest...?

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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

Wow...this is getting more and more bizarre each time. So Dmitrichenko is indeed popular among ballet dancers, even after his arrest...?

I think they believe his so-called confession was beaten out of him and if he is right in some of his accusations about pay and conditions it's little wonder the dancers are behind him.

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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

Wow...this is getting more and more bizarre each time. So Dmitrichenko is indeed popular among ballet dancers, even after his arrest...?

In the interview Antonicheva was asked about that.

- Is it true that Mr. Dmitrichenko is the leader within the ballet troupe?

- Yes, we think so. At least within our union.

Mezzo-soprano Alexandra Durseneva gave a description of how the voting took place.

According to Bolshoi Opera soloist Alexandra Durseneva, the performers' union currently has approximately 300 members: the opera section has roughly 50 members, and the ballet section has approximately 250. Incidentally, the ballet artists, voting already after Dmitrichenko's arrest, demonstrated a rare degree of solidarity.

"The meeting was legitimate, the entire choir rehearsal hall was filled," Durseneva noted. "The overwhelming majority voted for Pasha, perhaps only 10 people were not for him."

According to another account, a few artists abstained, but no one voted against Dmitrichenko.

http://izvestia.ru/news/546889

According to Izvestia, this vote took place on March 9, the opera singers having already voted on March 2. Since members of the opera company were also present at the dancers' meeting, it was considered something of an AGM.

Because Dmitrichenko is not able to perform his duties at present, the union is currently being run by company manager Ruslan Pronin. Other dancer representatives include Maria Alexandrova, Elena Andrienko and Denis Savin. The dancers are demanding to be included in the artistic advisory board formed last week at the Bolshoi Ballet. Its head, Boris Akimov, says he is not opposed to the idea.

However, the problem of the performers' union being headed by a member of the theater administration remains, so Pronin is to hold the position for only three months. If by that time Dmitrichenko has not been released from police custody, another election will have to be held.

http://izvestia.ru/news/547033

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Moreover, the election of Dmitrichenko is confirmed by the Bolshoi press secretary Novikova in the first Izvestia article quoted above: http://izvestia.ru/n...546889. That's certainly an independent source that gives even more credence to the story. Astonishing. I find the following comment by an unnamed member of the union from the second article (http://izvestia.ru/news/547033) especially priceless:

As we have seen in practice, having only one director in the troupe leads to tragic consequences.

So now Filin's directorship is to blame for the acid attack. Next thing you know the Bolshoi artists will accuse Filin of splashing acid on Dmitrichenko.

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This all keeps getting more bizarre as time goes on, not less... I really cannot believe some of these quotes I am reading, or that Dmitrichenko was elected. Not to say people can't have doubts about the methods used by the police - but the true victim in all of this seems to be getting lost while there is a tug of war for control. How can he go back to such an environment to work when it seems he is being undermined more and more as the days go on?

I really do not understand.

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I'm concerned about the well-being of the dancers Filin brought to the theatre: Smirnova, Obratzsova, Chudin, Hallberg among them. It must be a horrible atmosphere for them......

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"So now Filin's directorship is to blame for the acid attack. Next thing you know the Bolshoi artists will accuse Filin of splashing acid on Dmitrichenko."

Well, why not? According to Tsiskaridze, they're already questioning the seriousness of Filin's injuries and insinuating he faked the attack. What I'd like to know is, why do they find it easier to believe that the acid attack was a hoax that all of these doctors in Moscow and Germany are a part of than that Dmitrichenko could be guilty of ordering the attack? Why do they demand proof of Filin's injuries but need no evidence to support their belief that Dmitrichenko only confessed because he was beaten and coerced by the police?

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"How can he go back to such an environment to work when it seems he is being undermined more and more as the days go on?"

That's what I've been thinking. Going by what's being reported in the press, it looks like he doesn't have much in the way of support. The only people we've been hearing from seem to be Tsiskaridze and Dmitrichenko supporters. If Filin does have supporters at the Bolshoi, I think it's time for them to speak up in his defense. Although the fact that he even needs to be defended when he's the victim is really outrageous.

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Perhaps Filin's leadership is not all that popular within the troupe. Now don't anyone wig out on me; I'm not suggesting that this justifies any sort of violence. But despite our sympathy for him as the victim of a monstrous attack, it may not be all that productive to turn him into a plaster saint. We should consider that perhaps the Bolshoi's dancers have legitimate grievances, which may be coming to light under extremely regrettable circumstances and which unscrupulous people will, no doubt, seek to exploit. (Obviously, the conspiracy theories out there, along the lines of Filin being scarred by a chemical peel gone horribly wrong, are absurd.)

That Filin continued to head the Bolshoi performers' union after he left to work elsewhere is problematic, and that he continued to hold that post for another two years after he returned as artistic director, even more so. If Dmitrichenko was willing to challenge Filin on this point, other Bolshoi artists may have gravitated toward him as a champion unafraid of "speaking truth to power." And if the Dmitrichenko that appeared in court seemed very different from the combustible loudmouth they knew from work, it may explain why they were unwilling to believe that his confession had not been coerced. Again, I'm only trying to understand this from their point of view.

What I have to say about Tsiskaridze's television appearance the other night is that, as always, he was extremely careful in what he said. (That the way he says it comes across as totally tone-deaf is another matter.) The wildest accusations came from show host Tina Kandelaki, who turned self-appointed expert to declare that Filin was not being treated as a real burn victim would be treated, though her co-host Margarita Simonyan expressed doubts that a conspiracy involving multiple doctors in at least two countries was feasible. Most of the mud slung around was directed at Anatoly Iksanov, whom Anastasia Volochkova again insisted on calling Tahir Iksanov, and who had fallen to the rank of pimp by the time the show was over. Dmitri Tcherniakov's production of Evgeny Onegin, the one Galina Vishnevskaya hated so much, was again trotted out as Exhibit A for everything that's wrong with today's Bolshoi, and it was all Iksanov's fault.

But again, some of the grievances have merit. Why, for example, does an institution that can renovate its theater to the tune of something close to $1 billion by the latest count and which receives 4.1 billion rubles--or more than $132 million--in state funding annually pay members of the corps de ballet a base salary of 9,000 rubles--less than $300--a month? The Paris Opera receives about $137 million in state funding annually (54% of its budget) and pays its dancers a whole lot more; a rookie corps member receives about $3,400 each month. It's unfortunate that these questions are being asked against a backdrop of a horrible tragedy, but they should be asked, because I can certainly understand how Bolshoi dancers could be unhappy and dissatisfied.

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volcano, I had similar thoughts earlier today: maybe all the players are participating in both bad and good deeds at different times. Maybe Mr. Dmitrichenko has been a wonderful friend to all the workers. Maybe - as his girlfriend noted - he was helpful to anyone in need. Maybe he did speak up for them and put his own career at risk. And....maybe he did ask the two goons to beat up Sergei Filin.

I believe it is 100% factual that Sergei Filin was attacked and badly burned - what would he have to gain if otherwise? His job wasn't on the chopping block. He had successfully survived Nikolai Tsiskaradze's badly managed end-run around him, in a bid to get Anatoly Iksanov's job. German doctors are not really known for participating in these types of conspiracies. Still, perhaps he had his hand in various cookie jars - because that's the only way he saw to make money in Russia. I do think he was making good artistic programming decisions. I don't know much about the salary, performance, bonus or guesting fees for the Bolshoi. I have doubts that Mr. Filin was totally in control of that money. Usually the Business Manager and General Director (Mr. Iksanov) have something to say about it . Also, being hated and vilified is an occupational hazard for AD's. Many hate Peter Martins at NYCB, others disliked various Royal Ballet managers, and even Nikolaj Hubbe, who always seems calm cool and collected, has been criticized by some dancers.

Anastacia Volochkova has made these statements before, but no other dancer has backed her up. She wasn't personally asked to have sex for roles. But she got involved with a Billionaire, who advocated on her behalf. She just "heard" from other dancers that this happened. But none have come forward after 10 years of accusations. To paraphrase Goebbels: that if you repeat a (rumor) long enough, it becomes truth.

The dancers want proof of Mr. Filin's injuries, but I think they are very evident in his appearances. Further, he has strong medical privacy protections in Germany, and it is apparent that the German doctors are following that law carefully. But I want proof of the accusations made by Ms. Volochkova and Mr. Tsiskaradze.

What is his knowledge of architectural restoration? How is this Mr. Filin's fault? Or even Mr. Iksanov's fault? If the restoration was faulty, then by all means, they should sue the contractors and force them to come back, free of charge, and fix what is wrong. But we all know that the construction general manager (and various state ministers) were the real ones choosing contractors and supervising. Certainly that wasn't Mr. Filin's job, and he only came into the job 2 years ago, when reconstruction was nearly completed.

Regarding the "one director" statement, this doesn't make any sense. Yuri Grigorovich was the only director of the Bolshoi for 30 odd years. He was a dictator to be sure. And I think this is the type of management style that dancers could expect from Mr. Tsiskaradeze. He may appear to be sympathetic to the dancers now, but once he gets some real power, I think it will go to his head (as fame has already done). Further, I just see him pissing off people in the Kremlin if he does become GM. He won't last long if he gets the job. He may have some allies now, but eventually he will use up their good will with his drama and accusations.

So I still think Mr. Tsiskaradze's statements are unprofessional and unsympathetic. But perhaps they are quite normal by Russian standards (or Georgian standards).

Right now I think the best thing for the current management to do is to allow a "Barbara Walters" style interview with Maria Provrich, her children, his mother, and the security guard. Let them explain what happened and pull some heart strings. And Mr. Iksanov needs to rally his powerbase and file some lawsuits against Mr Tsiskaradze and Ms Volochova. They are defaming his character and have no proof.

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Perhaps Filin's leadership is not all that popular within the troupe. Now don't anyone wig out on me; I'm not suggesting that this justifies any sort of violence. But despite our sympathy for him as the victim of a monstrous attack, it may not be all that productive to turn him into a plaster saint. We should consider that perhaps the Bolshoi's dancers have legitimate grievances, which may be coming to light under extremely regrettable circumstances and which unscrupulous people will, no doubt, seek to exploit. (Obviously, the conspiracy theories out there, along the lines of Filin being scarred by a chemical peel gone horribly wrong, are absurd.)

That Filin continued to head the Bolshoi performers' union after he left to work elsewhere is problematic, and that he continued to hold that post for another two years after he returned as artistic director, even more so. If Dmitrichenko was willing to challenge Filin on this point, other Bolshoi artists may have gravitated toward him as a champion unafraid of "speaking truth to power." And if the Dmitrichenko that appeared in court seemed very different from the combustible loudmouth they knew from work, it may explain why they were unwilling to believe that his confession had not been coerced. Again, I'm only trying to understand this from their point of view.

Exactly. When you have admired someone as a dancer it is hard to take some things on board, the same with Iksanov whom I once met, a charming cove, but his tenure as general director has been tainted by rumours of misconduct. I started off not wanting to believe these things only now I'm not so sure.

As for Volochkova, I think she is still smarting from the 'fat' slur, but she may be onto something about sexual favours being demanded as that was certainly the case in the Cold War period so it may well persist today. On the other hand who is prepared to 'fess up to that kind of thing? probably no one.

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Personally I do not doubt that there are legitimate grievances at such a company (as there are in many other large institutions), but I still feel how this is unfolding is quite bizarre.

It also seems that, in recent history (and perhaps not so recent), no ones leadership is that popular within the troupe (whose would be in such a company with egos, competition, different factions with different loyalties, etc.). As the investigator said in one of the articles posted in previous pages, there are official channels in which to take these accusations against Filin so they are investigated. But these publicity stunts questioning his injuries etc. really leave a bad taste and don't really appear to be panning any results in the official sense, just smearing his reputation and exploiting the situation to move forward a specific ideological agenda. (Edit - perhaps "ideological agenda" is not the correct phrase, but certainly one of the most vocal people in all this openly wants a leadership position and is very loyal to one person and their legacy so they have a clear vision of how they want things to be, at this point things have to be taken with a grain of salt). It is not to say these accusations can't be possible at all, I am not so naive, but that is not the whole point.

Just my opinion.

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http://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/russian-auditors-launch-check-into-bolshois-finances-amid-claims-of-mismanagement/2013/03/21/450553d0-922f-11e2-9173-7f87cda73b49_story.html

It will interesting to see how this turns out. I agree with Elena that the ongoing smear campaign against Filin leaves a bad taste. Since his main accusers seem to be one man who's been aggressively campaigning for Filin's job and another who's a friend and supporter of that man, it's hard to know what or whom to believe. I don't think of Filin as perfect or a plaster saint, but I'm hoping that no evidence of any wrongdoing by him is found. He said in his most recent interview that's he's not afraid because he's done nothing wrong, so unless it's proven otherwise I choose to believe him.

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I'm concerned about the well-being of the dancers Filin brought to the theatre: Smirnova, Obratzsova, Chudin, Hallberg among them. It must be a horrible atmosphere for them......

Indeed. Sergei's life, (and quite possibly his sight) have been destroyed. As for the dancers you've mentioned, each of them were invited by Sergei and now could be viewed as collateral damage. Professional jealousy and resentment aside, each of these dancers are considered outsiders - especially David. This entire situation perfectly illustrates how the fallout from one person's (or persons') bad actions effects everyone, especially the innocent bystanders.

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As for Volochkova, I think she is still smarting from the 'fat' slur, but she may be onto something about sexual favours being demanded as that was certainly the case in the Cold War period so it may well persist today. On the other hand who is prepared to 'fess up to that kind of thing? probably no one.

MSNBC has now picked up her story: http://worldnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/03/21/17398477-dancer-claims-bolshoi-theater-was-big-brothel?lite If the dance historians are to be believed, this kind of "favor" was also common in the 19th century in the ballet world.

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If the dance historians are to be believed, this kind of "favor" was also common in the 19th century in the ballet world.
Even literature makes them out to be sexual objects to be used and thrown aside.

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I believe it is 100% factual that Sergei Filin was attacked and badly burned - what would he have to gain if otherwise? His job wasn't on the chopping block. He had successfully survived Nikolai Tsiskaradze's badly managed end-run around him, in a bid to get Anatoly Iksanov's job.

Tsiskaridze is after Iksanov's job, and Filin's job is on the chopping block if Iksanov is canned.

If the Bolshoi employees support Tsiskaridze for the job, I think the saying is, "Be careful what you wish for."

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The Russian news reports that Tsiskaridze's flat has allegedly been broken into. Maybe someone who does not have to rely on Google translate can give better insight into what this short article reports:http://news.mail.ru/...ail=1&social=fb

Here it is:

Unknown people picked the locks to the entrance door to the apartment of a principal dancer of the Bolshoi Ballet Nikolay Tsiskaridze in the center of Moscow, RIA Novosti learned from a police source. According to him, the artist called 02 [Translator's note: the Russian equivalent of 911 for police-related matters] to report that the locks on his apartment's entrance door were broken, on Thursday at approximately 5:25pm Moscow time.

The press office of the Moscow police confirmed the call, but did not clarify the victim's identity.

"Currently there is an investigative group working there; it's being established where anything was stolen from the apartment," said a representative of the police department.

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Another sign that Tsiskaridze might be winning, and that the ground is perhaps being laid for him to seize power at the Bolshoi: the Bolshoi is being audited by the Accounts Chamber, http://izvestia.ru/n...#ixzz2O97NLX84.

Another report from a labor union meeting, http://izvestia.ru/news/547101, and another gem:

Among other issues, the artists discussed how to avoid repeating the tragedy that happened with Sergey Filin.

I have a radical suggestion. To avoid such tragedies, why don't the Bolshoi artists refrain from hiring convicted killers to maim their upper management?

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I have a radical suggestion. To avoid such tragedies, why don't the Bolshoi artists refrain from hiring convicted killers to maim their upper management?

what a concept! (insert sarcastic smiley here)

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Don't the viewers get to vote on reality TV? The artists seem to have taken a vote. I think we should get to vote too! Perhaps a poll for who is the most guilty looking candidate of the week... or most imaginative new plot twist... (apologies to Eric Morton who brought up the voting concept on facebook) [and to those to whom the turn of events is consistently cruel]

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The Russian news reports that Tsiskaridze's flat has allegedly been broken into. Maybe someone who does not have to rely on Google translate can give better insight into what this short article reports:

http://news.mail.ru/incident/12434661/?frommail=1&social=fb

Someone is clearly getting desperate as I imagine this was to search from incriminating material to blackmail him with. Blackmail has proved effective at the Bolshoi before so why not again. Actually everything he says and does has always (for better or worse) been in the public domain, so no joy for the bad guys there I suspect.

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