Pavel Dmitrichenko and two other men admit to attack on Sergei Filin.

Principal dancer Pavel Dmitrichenko has confessed to the acid attack in January Moscow on the Bolshoi’s Artistic Director Sergei Filin. Moscow police broke the information and the dancer, who looked tired and shaken, confirmed his guilt in a video statement (shown below). "Yes, I organised this attack, but not to the extent that it occurred," he said.

Dmitrichenko was held and questioned on Tuesday according to police. Two other men, Yury Zarutsky, believed to be the assailant, and Andrei Lipatov, the suspected getaway driver, were also detained. They have also confessed according to the police report.

The highly publicised acid attack, perpetrated by a masked assailant, took place in the street outside Filin’s apartment and left him with serious burns to eyes and face. He has had five operations in Russia as well as trips to Germany for emergency treatment in an attempt to fully restore his sight. Filin has stated that he is "absolutely certain" that he knows who was behind the assault but that he will not name names until the authorities have completed their investigations. So far he has not issued any further statement although, before the culprits had been named, Katerina Novikova, spokeswoman for the Bolshoi, was reportedly "glad" that the investigations had led to an arrest. Following the identification of those detained she told reporters that she knew of "no bitter rivalry" between Filin and Dmitrichenko.

Dmitrichenko has been with the Bolshoi since 2002. In yet another melodramatic twist, he is famous for dancing a series of villainous roles including Von Rothbart in Swan Lake, the title role in Ivan the Terrible and the Mouse King in The Nutcracker. He is also reportedly close to Nikolai Tsiskaridze, the principal dancer accused in February by the theatre's General Director, Anatoly Iksanov, of creating a “poisonous atmosphere” within the organisation. Tsiskaridze has vehemently denied any involvement. Alexei Ratmansky, the Bolshoi ballet's artistic director from 2004 until 2008, has likened the atmosphere to "a disgusting cesspool". Now an artist-in-residence at New York's American Ballet Theatre, Ratmansky said that the attack stems from "the lack of any ethics at the Theatre."

The arrests and confessions came after a pre-dawn raid on a compound of dachas that belongs to the ballet company. Dmitrichenko’s flat which turns out to be in the same block of flats where Sergei Filin lives, was also searched. The two attackers are believed to have no direct link to the Bolshoi.

Dmitrichenko said that he had confessed his motives to police but declined to detail them on video. The alleged motive is that Dmitrichenko's girlfriend, Anzhelina Vorontsova, who incidentally is coached by Tsiskaridze, had been overlooked for roles.

Reaction in Moscow's dance world has been mixed. Choreographer Mikhail Lavrovsky was among several who said they did not believe that Dmitrichenko was guilty. "[He] is a normal person," he told the Izvestiya newspaper. "I don't think he could have done this. He wasn't deprived of anything…This never happened in my day. You'd hit each other in the face in the dressing room and that was that."