A masked man threw acid in the face of Sergei Filin, the artistic director of the legendary Bolshoi Ballet, on Thursday night, leaving him with third-degree burns and possibly threatening his eyesight, Bolshoi officials said on Friday morning.
The attack followed a series of anonymous threats to Mr. Filin, 42, a dancer who rose through the ranks of the world’s largest ballet company to become its head.
Investigators have not ruled out a dispute over money or property, but are focusing on the theory that Mr. Filin was targeted because of his work, a police spokesman told the Interfax news service.
As dancers kept an overnight vigil at the burn unit where he is being treated, his colleagues said they suspected professional jealousy was behind the attack. In recent weeks, his tires were punctured and his car scratched, and his cellphones and personal e-mail account were hacked and correspondence published, his associates have said. A relative offered to supply Mr. Filin with a bodyguard, but Mr. Filin refused because he did not believe the threats would lead to physical violence, said Dilyara Timergazina, his assistant and adviser.