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Bolshoi ballet chief heads to Germany after attack

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press
Monday, February 4, 2013 - 8:18 am

MOSCOW — The artistic director of the Bolshoi ballet said he knows who ordered an acid attack that left him with severe burns to his eyes and face but won't say, voicing hope that investigators will soon name the perpetrator.

Sergei Filin checked out of a Moscow hospital Monday and headed to Germany for further rehabilitation.

Filin, 42, wore shades and a bandage on his head, and skin on his face was red and swollen from burns. But he spoke energetically and seemed to be in a good mood as he walked out of the hospital accompanied by his wife.

"My body is full of strength and energy," he told reporters.

Filin earlier told Russian state television that he knew who ordered the attack but wouldn't give names. "My heart tells me who did it," Filin told Rossiya 24 television in an interview broadcast late Sunday.

He said that investigators would visit him in Germany as part of the continuing probe.

An attacker threw sulphuric acid in Filin's face in Moscow on Jan. 17, as he was returning home from work.

"I felt enormous, unbearable pain," Filin recalled in the television interview. "I fell face down in the snow and started rubbing my face and eyes with snow."

His colleagues said the attack on Filin could be in retaliation for his selection of certain dancers over others for the prized roles.

The Bolshoi has been plagued by intrigue and infighting that have led to the departure of several artistic directors over the past few years.

Filin told reporters Monday as he was leaving the hospital that he's still seeing as if through a mist as his eye treatment is continuing, and added that he will have to undergo further eye surgery in Germany.

"I don't care about my face, my hair, my looks," he said in the television interview. "I'm ready to be completely bald, look like a Frankenstein. It will have no impact on my heart, on my soul. All my inner self, all my energy is focused on recovering eyesight."