Jan 202013

Filin-Tsiskaridze had been receiv­ing intim­id­at­ing phone calls for a while, and had had his tyres punc­tured and his email hacked, but the acid attack that has shocked the dance world is bey­ond all reas­on­ing. While police are not rul­ing out a per­sonal ven­detta, it is almost cer­tainly an attack by someone who wants him removed from his pos­i­tion as head of the pres­ti­gi­ous Bolshoi Ballet.

Gen­nady Yanin, who was a pre­vi­ous fron­trun­ner for the job, was dropped after a suc­cess­ful smear cam­paign about his and some expli­cit inter­net pho­tos. At the time, Anatoly Iksanov, gen­eral dir­ector of the , said,

There are some people in the theatre who would like to take the job of artistic dir­ector, and they must have played a role in this mean intrigue.

The Filin attack goes way bey­ond ‘mean intrigue’.

Nikolay Tsis­karidze, another con­tender for the job in 2011, lost out to Filin. Soon los­ing this oppor­tun­ity he was also dis­missed as a teacher at the Bolshoi school, appar­ently for hav­ing cri­ti­cized the res­tor­a­tion of the legendary theatre, though the offi­cial ver­sion was that a work­ing dan­cer couldn’t have enough time for teach­ing commitments.

Tsis­karidze was furious,

I’m abso­lutely sure that this step by the Bolshoi Theatre pro­ceeds exclus­ively from the desire to take revenge and teach a les­son to others.

He said he had no back up from the union either, being that Felin is also head of the union,

All com­plaints against Filin as the leader of the Bolshoi bal­let end up being con­sidered pre­cisely by him. It’s a dead-end situ­ation, and some of my col­leagues like the soloist Andrey Uvarov, who had to leave the theatre not long ago, have already paid the price for try­ing to stand against Filin.

One Rus­sian journ­al­ist thought to con­tact Tsis­karidze after Thursday’s bru­tal attack.

I’m totally inno­cent. I also want to point out that in Filin’s let­ter repro­duced on , he insul­ted not only me, but many artists. Sorry!

When the journ­al­ist poin­ted out that the Face­book page is sup­posedly fake as Filin had had his email and Face­book accounts hacked a few weeks ago, Tsis­karidze replied,

Maybe the Face­book page is a fake, but the let­ter, unfor­tu­nately, is true. Someone hacked his email and then exposed it. There are real facts described in the let­ter. This is his speech — the way he expresses him­self. Now they want to cover up this scandal.

When asked what he thought about acid attacks to settle dis­putes, Tsis­karidze said,

These things have always happened when big money is involved (and there are a lot of gripes, judging by the let­ters) or when there are love tri­angles and com­plic­a­tions. Both cases apply to Filin, as Face­book revealed.

With Gen­nadi Yanin, every­one knew about his per­sonal life in the theatre. What was the prob­lem? It was his per­sonal life, it was an inva­sion of his pri­vacy and had noth­ing at all to do with the theatre.

If Tsis­karidze seems to have little sym­pathy with his Filin’s con­di­tion, col­leagues at the Bolshoi have been shocked and outraged:

Ex-ballerina Ana­stasia Voloch­kova said,

I can’t even ima­gine that this can hap­pen in the cul­tured world… all this law­less­ness, cor­rup­tion, and anti-humanity — it’s a sign of the end.

Star baller­ina and Filin’s fre­quent part­ner, , com­men­ted,

This is an anim­al­istic crime and I very much hope the crim­in­als will be punished.

And , former Bolshoi artistic dir­ector, described the attack as,

…one snow­ball caused by the lack of any eth­ics at the theatre.


Photo: from top Sergei Filin,

  2 Responses to “Cruelty at the Bolshoi: acid attacks and smear campaigns. Tsiskaridze responds.”

  1. I really enjoy your column/blog.…especially on ballet.

 Leave a Reply



You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>