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Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow fires general director

The Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow has again surprised the art world. The company on Tuesday fired longtime general director Anatoly Iksanov a year before his contract would have expired, The Times' Sergei L. Loiko reports.

Anatoly Iksanov's 13-year tenure has been marked by the resurrection of the Bolshoi's Moscow Theatre, as well as a series of sexual and financial scandals that rocked the infamous ballet company.

“[Iksanov] has done a lot, completing the reconstruction and opening the new stage,” Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky said at a news conference. “But everyone understands that human resources have their limits: The complicated situation is asking for change the theater needs.”

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Medinsky announced Iksanov's replacement, Vladimir Urin, who until this week headed Moscow's second-largest opera and ballet company, Moscow Stanislavsky and the Nemirovich-Danchenko Musical Theatre.

Iksanov has been offered an advisor's job on the Culture Ministry. He has yet to accept the position.

Since becoming the Bolshoi chief in 2000, Iksanov led the restoration of the Bolshoi historic building in Moscow, which doubled the theater’s size to 340,000 square feet. The six-year renovation cost $1 billion and prompted a government investigation into excess expenditures.

Also under Iksanov's leadership in 2011, a pair of star dancers, Ivan Vasilyev and Natalia Osipova, quit the company, and Bolshoi director Gennady Yanin resigned after erotic photos of him surfaced online.

This year, Bolshoi artistic director Sergei Filin suffered third-degree burns after a masked man threw sulfuric acid in his face. Principal dancer Pavel Dmitrichenko and two other accomplices were arrested in connection to the attack.

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