MOSCOW -- Galina Stepanenko, a former principal dancer with the Bolshoi Ballet, was named the company's acting artistic director on Tuesday, taking over for Sergei Filin, who was severely burned last week when a masked man threw acid in his face. In an interview published on Tuesday, Mr. Filin said he regretted not accepting protection after receiving threats in mid-December.
Anatoly Iksanov, the theater's general director, told reporters that Mr. Filin would undergo another eye operation on Wednesday. He said that he was certain that Mr. Filin would return to his post and that doctors would be able make prognoses about his vision in 10 days to 2 weeks, Interfax reported.
Mr. Iksanov said he suspected that the goal of the attack on Mr. Filin was to destabilize the theater, which has no security service since "we are neither a military organization nor a business structure," and added that "psychologically, even we don't really comprehend the entire extent of possible risks."
Mr. Filin, who spoke to the newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda, said that he blamed himself for not taking the threats seriously enough and that he had turned down an offer of a driver and a bodyguard. He did not say who made the offer, but decided simply to follow Mr. Iksanov's urgings to "be brave and find the strength within yourself to not react to these threats."
Mr. Filin said that he believed that he was attacked because of his work at the ballet company, and that investigators had a good chance of identifying his assailant.
"When everything is going well, that may also displease someone," Mr. Filin said when asked whether the attack was planned by someone within the company. "But I don't want to talk too much about this subject; let the investigators do that. They will definitely find the answer."
Mr. Filin's interview, which was posted online early on Tuesday, is sure to revive speculation about a crime that has left Moscow's cultural circles aghast. Police officials have said that they are looking into various theories, including a dispute over money or business, but officials at the Bolshoi and associates of Mr. Filin said that they were sure that the crime would be traced to a professional grudge.
Mr. Filin made comments in the same interview about dissent within the company and added that he thought the attack could have been prevented. "If today a decision does not result from the attack on me," he said, "I don't know what needs to happen in our country, so that the leadership of the country and the security services will pay attention."
He said the Bolshoi's company was internationally recognized as the world's best, but "from inside, we always hear some sort of dissatisfaction," adding, "It is important to put a stop to these conversations."
Stepping in for him as artistic director is Ms. Stepanenko, who is 46 and has been with the Bolshoi since 1990. She ended her performing career in December 2012 to become an instructor with the troupe. She studied at the Russian Academy of Theater Art, and early in her career was a soloist with the Moscow Classical Ballet.
According to Komsomolsakaya Pravda, Mr. Filin was in good spirits and optimistic about his recovery, saying he cared very little about physical disfigurement and was focused on continuing his work at the Bolshoi. He said the acid had hit his right eye and caused serious damage, and that "they promise to save the left eye."
"I am not in bad spirits," he said. "Sometimes I am able to see all the fingers on my hand. This gives rise to optimism and hope."
He went on to say that the acid attack was far less painful than an experience he once had onstage, when he danced "Swan Lake" on a broken leg, because his mother was sitting in the front row and he didn't want to disappoint her.
"I understood that if they shut the curtain and announced that something had happened to me, Mama would not tolerate that," he said. "So I danced until intermission."
Mr. Filin's mother, Natalya Filina, told the newspaper Vechernyaya Moskva in an interview posted online on Monday that the family's New Year's holiday was marred by a sense of doom from the threats to her son. She told the newspaper that Mr. Filin had received nearly 800 threatening phone calls.
"He told me, 'Mama, they've ordered a hit on me!' "
This article originally appeared in The New York Times.