The rich traditions of Russian culture hark back many centuries and their expansiveness and depth have touched countless lives across many countries. In particular, the art of classical ballet --rooted in the Imperial era and further solidified during the Soviet period-- has iconically characterized Russian art with its grace, beauty and spirituality. However, the heinous, intentional personal attack on Artistic Director of the Bolshoi Ballet, Sergei Filin on January 16 2013, when a hired assailant threw acid in Mr. Filin's face, has turned the arena of ballet into a vicious battleground that recalls the basest levels of jealousy, greed and hatred in humankind. Such behavior has no place inside an international cultural landmark such as the Bolshoi Theatre, or anywhere else in the world. We, the undersigned of this petition, believe that any permanent replacement of Sergei Filin, before such time as he is able to return to his position as artistic director or determine that he would prefer not to do so, will be considered tacit support for the attacker's actions both by the Bolshoi Theatre administration as well as by local government officials, and we condemn and disapprove of such developments, should they occur. We, the undersigned of this petition, respectfully request that the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation, President Vladimir Putin, and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev take the following actions in order that justice be served and innocent lives be protected, both now and in the future: 1) preserve the post of artistic director of the Bolshoi Ballet in Sergei Filin's name, with only temporary replacements to carry out his duties, until such time as Mr. Filin is physically able to resume his duties; 2) determine the parties guilty for this horrific crime against Mr. Filin, and punish them by removing them from society and from any social, cultural or political organizations to which they may belong; 3) reorganize the internal administration of the Bolshoi Ballet and remove from power anyone involved directly or indirectly in this terrible crime, so as to prevent the criminals who performed this heinous act from having further access to others inside the Bolshoi Ballet and the Bolshoi Theatre at large; 4) take all necessary measures to ensure that acts such as this do not occur in the future; 5) render the Bolshoi Theatre a safe place for artists, dancers, musicians, pedagogues and other employees to work, and a safe place for spectators and tourists to visit.
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