Bolshoi Attack Leaves Country Shocked; Director Could Lose Eyesight

An attack on the director of the Bolshoi ballet in Russia has left theatergoers and politicians afraid for their own safety. Sergei Filin is expected to recover from his injuries, but may end up losing his eyesight after acid was thrown on his face.

The attack occurred on Thursday evening, when a person wearing a mask approached Filin outside his home and threw a jar of acid in his face. The acid left him with third-degree burns on his face and did serious damage to his eyesight. Doctors are doing all they can to restore his sight, but they are not overly optimistic.

"Filin spent the night calmly, and slept without painkillers," Alexander Mitichkin, chief doctor at the hospital where Filin is being treated, told Itar-Tass, a Russian news agency. The director has already had one operation and is expected to undergo another this week.

"We are all in complete shock," Bolshoi's spokeswoman Katerina Novikova told Bloomberg news. "It cannot be comprehended that someone would do this. This is not a business. This is a theater."

Filin has had threats made to his life, his email hacked, and car tires slashed, according to reports. There are claims that Filin's personal life may have led to the attack, though others believe that the leadership of the Bolshoi has "slowly ruined the theater."

"When I heard about what happened to Sergei I was shocked," Anastasia Volochkova, a former ballerina, told Bloomberg. "Over more than ten years, the current Bolshoi leadership has slowly ruined the theater. Each year it has got crueler and crueler."

"Sergei is holding up with great courage," Russia's culture minister Vladimir Medinsky told The Guardian Saturday. "He's behaving in a very dignified way and 99 percent of our talk was devoted to cultural plans, the Bolshoi's new premieres, and who should lead the troupe during these difficult times. He had no complaints about life – it was a professional talk that even surprised me."

Police are still searching for Filin's assailant, but so far there have been no arrests.