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Injured Bolshoi Ballet Director Forgives Attackers

Bolshoi Theater artistic director Sergei Filin says that the attacker who splashed acid in his face was probably driven by ambition or resentment but that he has forgiven them.

His head shaven and a bandage around his neck, Filin told NTV from his hospital room that he was determined to return to work despite his injuries.

Filin, 42, suffered severe burns during the attack on his way home from the Bolshoi late Jan. 18. Doctors have performed two operations on each eye and hope to save his sight.

"I am not going to lie. Of course, it is very hard for me and very difficult," Filin said in grainy footage in a video-link with NTV late Sunday.

"I tell myself every morning when I wake up: 'Sergei, you are healthy, everything is in its place — your arms, your legs.' … And I will do everything to go back to being the same Sergei I was before."

Filin did not wear the thick bandages that had swathed his head and face in mobile phone footage taken the day after the attack, but his eyes were half-closed and it was unclear whether he could see.

Filin's job gave him the power to make or break careers at the ballet. He said after the attack that he had been receiving threats.

"A priest came to me, and I told him: 'You know, I forgive everyone, and God will be their judge. Because people are weak,'" he said. "I forgive all the people who are involved in this."

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