Bolshoi director resigns after erotic photos published

Gennady Yanin dancing in Cinderella at the Bolshoi Ballet in London with the Ugly Sisters (Anastasia Vinokur and Lola Kochetkova) Gennady Yanin dancing in Cinderella at the Bolshoi Ballet in London

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The director of the Russian Bolshoi ballet troupe has resigned after erotic photographs purporting to be him were posted on a website.

Gennady Yanin stepped down after a link to the website was circulated to thousands of e-mail addresses, the daily Izvestia reported.

Russian media have speculated that Yanin may have been the victim of a smear campaign.

Yanin has been replaced by long-standing soloist Yan Godovsky.

The website the photos were posted on is no longer online.

However, news agency Interfax has cited Yanin, who has led the troupe since 2005, as saying he had long been considering his future and took the opportunity presented by the scandal to step down.

The Bolshoi ballet confirmed the staffing changes, saying "The theatre's general director Anatoly Iksanov appointed Yan Godovsky to the position of the ballet troupe director yesterday, after Yanin filed for voluntary leave".

Godovsky will hold the position until the end of the 2011 season.

"It is unexpected for me," said Godovsky. "I kept refusing, but they kept asking me to take the position. It's definitely an upgrade for me."

The Bolshoi also lost its artistic director Yuri Burlaka earlier this week when his contract expired.

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