Bolshoi Ballerina Flees To Canada Over Threats

A leading ballerina at the Bolshoi theatre says she is too scared to return to Russia after receiving threats.

Speaking from Canada, Svetlana Lunkina told Russian newspaper Izvestia that she had asked the Bolshoi to extend her leave as she was afraid to return home.

She said the threats were linked to a conflict between her husband and a business partner over a movie about a famous Russian prima ballerina.

The threats are not thought to be linked to an acid attack on Sergei Filin, the Bolshoi's artistic director, on January 17.

Filin is being treated at a Moscow hospital after a masked man threw sulphuric acid in his face.

He suffered severe burns and damage to his eyes.

He has undergone multiple operations as doctors attempt to restore as much of his sight as possible, but it is unclear whether he will regain full vision in both eyes.

In an interview with state-controlled channel NTV from his hospital bed, Mr Filin said he thought the attack was motivated by those "seeking to satisfy their ambitions".

But he said he had forgiven all those involved - and was determined to return to work.

He said he had received threats and had his car tyres slashed in the weeks before the attack, and his mobile phone and internet accounts had been hacked.

The former star dancer is expected to be transferred to Aachen in Germany next week to continue his treatment.

But the reported threats to Ms Lunkina will maintain the spotlight on the famous Bolshoi, one of the world's oldest ballet companies, as its management attempts to shift the focus back onto its work onstage, rather than the sinister events off-stage.