Bolshoi acid attack director returns to Moscow theatre

Steve Rosenberg was inside the Bolshoi Theatre for the moment of Sergei Filin's much anticipated return

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The Bolshoi ballet's artistic director Sergei Filin has returned to the company's Moscow theatre, eight months after being attacked with acid.

He suffered burns to both eyes when a man threw acid in his face in January.

Filin appeared at the ballet company's traditional gathering to mark the start of the new season and thanked his colleagues for their support.

He said he was not yet ready to resume work and would be travelling back to Germany for continued treatment.

Filin has undergone 22 operations on his eyes since the attack. His vision is said to be 80% restored in his left eye, but remains poor in the right eye.

He praised the company for their "brilliant" London tour in August, which he called a "huge success".

"It was the most important, the most support for me, the most help, and because of it, I am standing here today with you," he said.

'Positive atmosphere'

Bolshoi acting artistic director Galina Stepanenko said Filin's return added "a kind of positive atmosphere and optimism" to the company.

"Everyone is very happy to see Sergei, and glad that he returned to continue to work with us, and to do what he loves most."

One of the Bolshoi's top dancers, Pavel Dmitrichenko is awaiting trial on charges of ordering the attack. He and his two alleged accomplices face up to 12 years in jail if convicted.

The dancer has admitted to discussing an attack on Filin but denies ordering the use of acid. More than 300 members of the ballet company wrote an open letter to President Vladimir Putin defending him.

In June, the Bolshoi sacked veteran dancer Nikolai Tsiskaridze, who had been in open conflict with the theatre after he was accused of playing a role in the attack - something he denied.

The general director of the Bolshoi was also dismissed.

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