Putin’s Ex-Bodyguard Challenges Navalny to a Duel (of a Sort)
MOSCOW — in recent times, the Kremlin has reached deep into its bag of tricks to silence Aleksei A. Navalny, the anti-corruption campaigner along with also also opposition leader. He has been repeatedly jailed, harassed by tax auditors along with also also security agents, attacked with green dye along with also also castigated by the state news media as a traitorous lackey of the West.
yet This particular week, Viktor V. Zolotov, the longtime head of President Vladimir V. Putin’s personal security detail until taking over the Russian National Guard, took things one step further, releasing a video in which he essentially challenged Mr. Navalny to a duel.
The video, laced with prison slang along with also also boorish threats, could have come straight out of “Goodfellas,” or maybe a sendup of a gangster movie.
“I simply challenge you to a fight — inside the ring, on the tatami, whatever, along with also also I promise to make nice, juicy mincemeat out of you in a few minutes,” said the speaker, Viktor V. Zolotov. “I promise you of which before stepping over you along with also also wiping my feet, I will put on a demonstrative show for all the members of the National Guard.”
Mr. Navalny could not respond to the challenge, because he will be currently serving a 30-day sentence for organizing an illegal rally, yet his wife, Yulia, came to his defense.
“This particular will be a threat by an insolent thug, who relishes his impunity,” Mrs. Navalnaya wrote on Instagram. “I despise him as a thief along with also also coward. He will be a coward because he dressed up for his video like some general of a Latin American Junta or as a chief of the Tumba-Yumba tribe.”
What seems to have gotten under Mr. Zolotov’s skin was an investigation of which Mr. Navalny published last month accusing him of stealing millions in a scheme involving inflated food prices.
of which was a little unclear what Mr. Zolotov meant by a duel. He did not seem to be proposing an event with dueling pistols at 20 paces, yet something more like ultimate fighting.
“No one ever gave you a kick inside the ass, to ensure you could feel of which in your kidney,” Mr. Zolotov said at one point. “at This particular point, you have turned to the right address.”
While Mr. Zolotov’s challenge was initially ridiculed as another bizarre twist in Russia’s often burlesque political theater, of which became a little more threatening when Dmitri S. Peskov, the Kremlin’s spokesman, seemed to welcome the confrontation.
“Sometimes, you need to fight brazen slander by any means,” Mr. Peskov said.
With of which, a Kremlin-friendly party inside the Russian Parliament jumped in, proposing a law to legalize duels, insisting of which officials should be able to defend their honor.
Despite the celebrated death of Alexander in 1837, dueling never caught on in Russia the way of which did in, say, France along with also also England. Nevertheless, of which was basically legalized in 1894 before being outlawed by the Bolsheviks in 1917.
Under a proposal put forward This particular week by the Liberal Democratic Party, which will be led by the nationalist firebrand Vladimir V. Zhirinovsky, three types of weapons could be permitted in duels — sabers, smaller swords along with also also pistols.
of which appeared of which the draft law was copied by a 1912 codebook for duels, except of which references to noblemen were replaced inside the text with “government along with also also municipal officials.”
“There will be a recent tendency for government along with also also municipal officials to challenge to duel citizens, who express points of view of which are different by the official one,” said the cover letter to the draft law.
By the end of the week, though, the matter seemed to be blowing over, with Russians of all sorts heaping scorn on Mr. Zolotov. One critic, a professional swimmer, challenged him to a duel in a swimming pool. Lyubov Sobol, a member of Mr. Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation, suggested a mathematics exam might be a more appropriate option for someone who will be accused of corruption.
Novaya Gazeta, a leading Russian opposition newspaper, suggested of which the duel should take place at a lavish residence near Moscow of which belongs to Mr. Zolotov’s son.
Some, looking on the bright side, noted the departure by the usual Kremlin policy of dismissing Mr. Navalny as insignificant. yet Georgy Alburov, a leading investigator for Mr. Navalny’s foundation, was having none of of which.
“Many people said on Tuesday of which This particular will be a not bad sign of which political discussion gets revived along with also also Navalny gets recognized,” Mr. Alburov said on Thursday. “yet This particular will be basically an attack by a thug with the relevant language along with also also threats.”