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Russian Police Arrest Three Men In Connection With Bolshoi Attack

There's been a development in a story we told you about earlier this year in which the artistic director of Russia's famed Bolshoi ballet was brutally attacked with acid.

Russian police on Tuesday said they'd arrested three men in connection with the attack that nearly blinded Sergei Filin; one of the arrested is a star dancer at the Bolshoi. He's accused of masterminding the plot.

Here's more from the BBC:

"Dancer Pavel Dmitrichenko is being held along with Yuri Zarutsky, who is suspected of carrying out the attack, Russia's interior ministry says. ... A third person, suspected of being the attacker's driver, is also being held. He has been named as Andrei Lipatov. It is not clear whether Mr Zarutsky or Mr Lipatov have any connection to the Bolshoi."

Filin, 42, was left with severe burns to his eyes and face after the Jan. 17 attack. He is now being treated in Germany.

The Associated Press has details about Dmitrichenko, the alleged mastermind: He joined the Bolshoi in 2002, has danced several major parts in recent years. A Bolshoi spokeswoman said she wasn't aware of differences between the two men, but Russian media reported that Dmitrichenko's girlfriend, also a soloist at the ballet, was at odds with Filin.

NPR's Elizabeth Blair reported last month on other scandals at the famed ballet. Here's what she said:

"The Bolshoi has been shaken by other scandals. One of its leading dancers recently announced that she fled Moscow because she was receiving threats — not related to Filin, but to a business dispute involving her husband, who's working on a film about a famous Russian ballerina.

"An Internet smear campaign was waged against another Bolshoi dancer, Gennady Yanin, who was working as an administrator for the company. Someone posted images of a man who appeared to be Yanin in bed with other men.

"Christina Ezrahi, the author of Swans of the Kremlin: Ballet and Power in Soviet Russia, says the sabotage seemed to be related to the appointment of a new artistic director.

"'Literally on the day when the management was supposed to make an announcement [about] who would be the next artistic director, suddenly a lot of people in the ballet world started receiving these emails with photos of somebody looking like him and posing to be Yanin in very compromising, erotic poses,' Ezrahi says."

"The back-stabbing, the gossip, the power struggles — the story of the Bolshoi has more twists than a soap opera. But by far, the most tragic was the acid attack on Filin."

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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