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Bolshoi Ballet star denies masterminding acid attack on Sergei Filin

By Alla Eshchenko and Phil Black, CNN
October 29, 2013 -- Updated 2234 GMT (0634 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Soloist Pavel Dmitrichenko denies organizing an acid attack on the Bolshoi's artistic director
  • His alleged accomplice, Yuri Zarutsky, pleads guilty and says he acted alone
  • Zarutsky's alleged driver in the attack, Andrei Lipatov, pleads not guilty
  • Sergei Filin has recovered some of his sight after multiple surgeries in Germany

Moscow (CNN) -- Bolshoi Ballet star soloist Pavel Dmitrichenko pleaded not guilty Tuesday to masterminding an acid attack on the theater's artistic director, Sergei Filin, a court spokesman told CNN.

Alleged accomplice Yuri Zarutsky pleaded guilty to carrying out the attack, but he said he had acted alone.

A third defendant in the case, Andrei Lipatov, denied the charges. He's accused of aiding Zarutsky by acting as his driver.

Filin was walking up to his Moscow apartment in January when a masked assailant tossed sulfuric acid onto his face, leaving him severely burned and nearly blinded.

Proceedings were adjourned to Thursday after the three men heard and responded to the charges.

A fight at the ballet: The power struggle tearing apart the Bolshoi

Bolshoi Ballet acid attack trial begins
Bolshoi director puts conflicts in past

Filin has spent much of the past year in Germany, where doctors have been working to save his sight.

He has undergone multiple surgeries and has regained 80% of his vision in one eye, the state-run RIA Novosti news agency said. His other eye, in which he was completely blind after the attack, has not recovered to the same extent, but he can now pick out large objects, it said.

Filin recently returned to Moscow, but he still needs further treatment.

There's still a question mark over whether he will be able to return to his role at the Bolshoi Ballet, one of Russia's iconic cultural institutions.

The case has sparked great public interest in Russia, where tales of intrigue and bitter rivalries have swirled around the ballet's dancers and management.

Curtain falls on Russian ballet director after tumultuous year

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