Russian police say Sergei Filin, the artistic director of the Bolshoi Theatre, is being treated in a Moscow hospital for severe burns after a masked man threw acid in his face.
The attack happened late yesterday as Filin, an award-winning ballet star, was walking home in central Moscow. Doctors are now fighting to save his eyesight.
A Bolshoi spokesman said Filin had suffered months of threats, including punctured tires on his car. His cell phone and email accounts had been hacked and some personal emails were published.
It is suspected that he was the victim of infighting between different groups of dancers at the Bolshoi.
Filin became artistic director at the Bolshoi in 2011. His hiring of an American, David Hallberg, as principal dancer is rumored to be behind the defection of two Bolshoi dancers to a lesser-known company in St. Petersburg.
The title of Principal Dancer has traditionally gone to Russian-trained dancers. Infighting and intrigue are nothing new at the Bolshoi. The New York Times reports that Filin's predecessor as artistic director wrote on his Facebook page that the attack was not "a coincidence." He wished Filin a "swift recovery."
An official at the Bolshoi Theatre said Filin would likely be sent overseas for treatment, probably to either Germany or Israel.