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Moscow - The artistic director of the Bolshoi theatre Sergei Filin was hospitalised with severe burns after an assailant threw acid on his face, police said on Friday.
Filin, who is a former acclaimed dancer and was appointed to his post in 2011, suffered injuries to the face, head and eyes late on Thursday when the attacker cornered him near a residential house in central Moscow, police told Russian news agencies.
The attacker fled the scene and no suspects have been identified so far.
The 42-year-old director is an integral part of the Bolshoi's recent artistic remake, and is known for beginning to stage innovative repertoire in Russia's most famous theatre, which has earned both applause and scorn from critics.
Bolshoi's spokeswoman Katerina Novikova said that Filin is in the hospital and doctors are battling to save his eyesight. He sustained third-degree burns.
“His condition is grave, but his life is not in danger. Right now the main thing is to save his eyes,” she said, adding that the attack is most likely connected to professional rivalries and conflicts over prominent roles in the theatre's productions.
“That such things can happen in the sphere of culture is hard to fathom,” she said. Filin has constantly received threats, she added.
Police launched a probe into malicious damage to a person's health, a crime that could lead to eight years in prison. - Sapa-AFP