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22 Feb, 2008 19:45

Televised debate ends in a scuffle

One of Russia's Presidential candidates is planning to file a law suit after a brawl following a televised debate. Democratic Party leader Andrey Bogdanov chose not to attend the event himself, but instead sent his representative, who was struck by Vladim

The tension is clearly getting to some of the presidential hopefuls as the finish line comes into sight. At least one candidate is not above resorting to using his fists to defeat rivals in the fight for the Kremlin.

A recent televised debate turned out to be a tense one.

“Don’t interrupt me! Don’t interrupt now! Don’t interrupt me! You don’t know how to moderate; I’ll moderate the debates myself. He’s a scoundrel. Look at his face! The guy’s sick! A typical schizoid! Any psychiatrist will tell you the guy’s a wacko,” shouted enraged Zhirinovsky in the course of the debate.

The rhetoric was harsh and it did not end there. As soon as the programme was over the verbal arguments of Vladimir Zhirinovsky were supported with fists against Andrei Bogdanov's representative Nikolai Gotsa.

“Get out of the studio! Get out of here, I say! Get the hell out of here! Scoundrel! You’ll see me in court? I’ll rip your head off! A professor, my foot! Idiot! [Addressing to his bodyguard] What are you looking at?! Grab him and kick him out of here! Get out of here!” said Zhirinovsky before violently shoving Gotsa away.

The fight itself did not take place on air, but someone has leaked the video onto the web.

Bogdanov's faction prepares to file a law suit against Zhirinovskiy. They say the footage taken just before the fight clearly shows Zhirinovsky losing control.

“It's hooliganism, and there should be legal punishment. We also believe that the law on presidential elections should oblige all the presidential hopefuls to pass the psychiatric tests. It's simply dangerous to give insane people like Zhirinovsky the chance to run for president,” Andrey Bogdanov said.

But none of this shocks the electorate, who know Zhirinovsky for his eccentric behaviour and are used to incidents like this in Russian politics.

The head of the Liberal Democratic Party, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, is well-known as the old time gladiator of Russian politics. Boisterous, outspoken and sometimes using unconventional methods of persuasion like orange juice or his own fists.

Talking exclusively to RT Vladimir Zhirinovsky stressed that everything happened after the debate was over.

“The man accused me of lying to the people and betraying the country. Me, a four times presedential hopeful! I've just explained to him that he had no right to say that. All this happened after the debates were over. They had no right to film that,” he said.

The Russian Central Election Committee's reaction was measured. According to them there's no reason to take the Liberal Democratic party leader off the ballot.

However, Bodganov's party still hopes the man will regret his actions. They've promised to file their lawsuit on Saturday.