(b Sakhalin Island, 28 Nov. 1949; d Los Angeles, 18 May 1995)
Soviet dancer. He studied locally and at the Bolshoi Ballet School in Moscow, graduating into the company in 1966. As a soloist he created the role of Karenin in Plisetskaya's Anna Karenina (1972) and the leading role in Boccadora's Love for Love (1976). He won the Gold Medal at the Moscow competition in 1973. In 1979, while the Bolshoi was on tour in America, he defected, an act which led to a political confrontation between the US and the Soviet Union. He joined American Ballet Theatre, where he stayed until 1982. After leaving ABT, he took up an acting career, appearing in films such as Witness, Die Hard, and The Money Pit.