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22 Feb, 2008 15:34

Striking a blow for democracy... or something

A brawl has taken place during a televised debate for Russia’s presidential candidates. It started between Vladimir Zhirinovsky and a representative of his opponent.

Zhirinovsky, the leader of the Liberal Democratic Party, was to have a televised pre-election discussion with the head of the Democratic Party, Andrey Bogdanov. But Bogdanov sent his representative, Nikolay Gotzu, to take part in the debate instead.
It is reported that after the debate, Zhirinovsky threatened to beat up Gotzu, and ordered his bodyguards to kick him out of the studio. The brawl was stopped by the channel's security guards.
Now Andrey Bogdanov is planning to ask the Central Election Commission to bar Zhirinovsky from the election.
Russia's Central Election Commission says it's not planning to take any action after the brawl.

Later, speaking exclusively to RT, Zhirinovsky said he had more grounds to feel offended.

“There were supposed to be debates between presidential candidates – you have to be there in person. People have to listen to the person who’s running. But they sent a man nobody knows. And I have to have debates with a nobody in front of the entire country. Naturally, this humiliates me. It is me who should feel offended,” he insisted.