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Bolshoi artistic director Sergei Filin, who suffered serious eye damage and facial disfigurement in a horrific acid attack, will be able to recover enough vision to return to work, a German doctor treating him said Friday.
"We can say that we hope that Mr Filin will recover to a useable vision that will allow him to go back to his normal life and his professional life," Martin Hermel, an eye surgeon who is treating Filin at a German clinic, said at a news conference.
Filin, who wore dark glasses, smiled repeatedly and demonstrated how his doctors ask him to count his fingers to test his vision, as he spoke of his relief at the progress he was making.
"As soon as my doctors say that I can see, I am going to return to work, and that is how it is going to be," said Filin, repeatedly wiping his eyes as he sat with the doctors at the news conference, aired live on Russian television.
"For me, of course, it's huge happiness."
Filin, 42, had sulphuric acid flung in his face outside his Moscow home in mid-January in an attack that left the world famous Bolshoi troupe in crisis.
Police last week detained and charged three suspects including a top dancer at the theatre, Pavel Dmitrichenko.
Filin underwent a number of operations on his eyes in Moscow before leaving for Germany, where reconstructive surgery is more developed than in Russia.
Doctors said the acid damage to his skin would cause severe scarring.
"The acid destroyed all layers of the skin of the face," said Professor Norbert Pallua, an expert on plastic surgery.
"This treatment has led to a healing of the wounds. Due to the initial depth of the injury, we have to anticipate severe scarring."
"This will necessitate a continued treatment of the scars, the skin, either with conservative or maybe with operative methods," Pallua said, speaking in English.
More than 300 Bolshoi members of staff this week signed an open letter to President Vladimir Putin in defence of Dmitrichenko, saying they did not believe he would have been capable of ordering such a crime.
The theatre's general director, Anatoly Iksanov, has repeatedly stated that he believes a "puppeteer" manipulated Dmitrichenko to organise the attack.
Dmitrichenko has said in court that he had asked for Filin to be beaten up, not permanently injured.