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Bolshoi acid attack director 'may recover sight'

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Media captionSergei Filin: "I'm full of energy"

The artistic director of the Bolshoi Ballet may recover enough of his sight to work again, doctors treating him at a German hospital have said.

Sergei Filin was the victim of an acid attack in January that damaged his eyes and disfigured his face.

He appeared at a news conference alongside doctors, wearing dark glasses, a scarf and a hat to cover much of his damaged skin.

A dancer at the Moscow-based ballet has been arrested over the attack.

Pavel Dmitrichenko is accused of masterminding the attack, in which a masked man threw sulphuric acid in Mr Filin's face.

At Friday's news conference Dr Martin Hermel, a surgeon at the Aachen University Clinic where Mr Filin is being treated, said there was "good hope for regaining usable vision" that may allow him to return to work.

But doctors also warned that "such chemical damage to the eyes demands complex, long-term treatment", and predicted that Mr Filin would spend "months rather than weeks" in treatment.

'Not scared'

Image caption Sergei Filin became artistic director at the Bolshoi Ballet in 2011, after 25 years as a dancer

When he went to Germany for treatment in February he told reporters his vision was "foggy".

At the press conference he demonstrated how doctors were testing his vision by asking him to count fingers held in front of his face.

Doctors also warned that scarring caused by the acid would probably be permanent. "The acid destroyed all layers of the skin of the face," said Professor Norbert Pallua, his plastic surgeon.

Mr Filin said he was "not scared" by the prospect of returning to work at the ballet, despite the allegations that Mr Dmitrichenko was responsible for the attack.

He did not comment on a letter sent to Russian President Vladimir Putin in defence of Mr Dmitrichenko, signed by more than 300 members of the ballet company.

Mr Filin has claimed that he knows who his attacker is, and said some people had disliked the way he was taking the ballet company, which is known for its infighting and rivalries.

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