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18 Oct, 2018 15:50

Kremlin critic Navalny agrees to duel with National Guard boss, but not in hand-to-hand combat

Kremlin critic Navalny agrees to duel with National Guard boss, but not in hand-to-hand combat

Anti-corruption blogger, Aleksey Navalny, said he is ready for a duel with National Guard commander, Viktor Zolotov, but wants it to be a debate on national TV instead of hand-to-hand combat, suggested by the General.

“I accept your challenge, and, I suppose, it’s now up to me to choose the venue and the weapon,” Navalny said in an address on YouTube. “Our duel will take place in the form of live debate on Channel One or any other federal channel.”

If it turns out that organizing their “duel” on state TV is impossible, the opposition activist said that he was eager to host the debate on his YouTube channel.

Zolotov demanded satisfaction from Navalny in mid-September after a report from his NGO, the Foundation for Countering Corruption, alleged that tenders for food purchases by the National Guard were rigged in favor of a single supplier, supposedly linked to Russian Prime Minister, Dmitry Medvedev.

The general turned down the claims as “insulting and slandering theorizing” and reminded the opposition figure that “since time immemorial, scoundrels get slapped on the face and are challenged to a duel.”

Zolotov proposed “hand-to-hand combat” as the best way to settle their differences, warning that he would turn Navalny “into minced meat.”

The reply from the Kremlin critic and the head of unregistered political party Future Russia came so late because he was serving almost two months of administrative arrest. Navalny initially served 30 days for staging an illegal protest, but was taken to court right after his release and sentenced to 20 days more for another violation of law on rallies.

When asked to comment on Navalny’s proposal, National Guard spokesman, Valery Gribakin, said that the activist shouldn’t expect a response any time soon as the leadership of the agency is busy providing security in Crimea after 21 people died and almost 50 injured in a shooting in Kerch on Wednesday.

Zolotov’s harsh reply to Navalny has led to calls for him to be fired. Opposition party, Yabloko, claimed that his challenge amounted to a death threat, instigation of hatred and abuse of office.

READ MORE: Russian liberals ask Putin to fire National Guard commander over fisticuffs challenge to activist

Duels are, of course, forbidden by the Russian law, but the Liberal Democratic Party swiftly proposed amendments to the legislation that would allow fights to the death with sabres, small swords or pistols. However, the Duel Code, which the LibDems prepared in less than 24 hours, was treated by fellow MPs at the Russian State Duma as a joke.

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