MOSCOW -- A masked assailant threw acid at the artistic director of the Bolshoi ballet in an attack that colleagues said Friday could be in reprisal for his selection of dancers in starring roles at the famed Russian company.
Sergei Filin, a 42-year-old former Bolshoi star, said a man threw the acid into his face late Thursday near the gate of his apartment building in central Moscow. The attacker wore a hood and either a mask or a scarf, so only his eyes were visible, he said.
Colleagues said Filin could be left partially blind.
The Bolshoi’s general director, Anatoly Iksanov, said he believes the attack was linked to Filin’s work.
"He is a man of principle and never compromised," Iksanov said on Channel One state television. "If he believed that this or that dancer was not ready or was unable to perform this or that part, he would turn them down."
Bolshoi spokeswoman Katerina Novikova told The Associated Press that his condition was stable but he could lose some of his sight.
Filin, who danced for the Bolshoi from 1989 until 2007, was appointed artistic director of the Bolshoi’s ballet company in March 2011.
Filin was being flown to Brussels Friday for treatment at a military hospital specializing in burns, Bolshoi spokeswoman Novikova said.