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En Garde! MP proposes duel code in wake of National Guard chief's challenge to Navalny

September 12, 18:46 UTC+3 MOSCOW

A State Duma MP has put forward what he describes as Russia’s Duel Code and a bill on enacting it

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Alexei Navalny

Alexei Navalny

© Mikhail Tereschenko/TASS

MOSCOW, September 12. /TASS/. State Duma MP from the Liberal Democratic Party Sergey Ivanov has put forward what he describes as Russia’s Duel Code and a bill on enacting it, as follows from the lower house of parliament’s electronic database.

Ivanov told TASS that he "derived inspiration" from the recent challenge made in video address by the chief of Russia’s National Guard, or Rosgvardiya, Viktor Zolotov to Alexey Navalny, head of the Anti-Corruption Foundation. Zolotov challenged Navalny to a duel for his public accusations that the Rosgvardiya chief found to be groundless and slanderous.

"Everything should follow certain rules. The more so, since this is not the first such incident," Ivanov said.

According to the author, "the duel code itself is very voluminous."

"It describes the tiniest details. If these two are really eager to shoot each other, I merely suggest laying down certain rules," Ivanov added.

In defense of dueling

In his explanatory notes the author points to a "recent trend displayed by civil servants and municipal officials to duel Russian citizens who may express points of view different from the official one."

"This draft code is being proposed for the purpose of regulating the main causes behind challenging someone to a duel and the rules of arranging duels. Its basic provisions being as follows: a duel can occur only between equals; the main principle and purpose of a duel is to settle a misunderstanding between individual civil or municipal servants without resorting to outside help; the duel is a means of revenge for an insult sustained and shall have no substitute," the memorandum says.

Also, a duel "cannot serve as an alternative to the bodies of administration of justice that serve for the restoration or protection of violated rights."

"The duel as an act of revenge for an inflicted insult shall be possible and permissible only between persons belonging to the category of civil or municipal servants. In all other cases, a duel shall be impermissible and regarded as an anomaly and interference into the realm of judicial purview," Ivanov says. "Should a civil or municipal servant be challenged by an ordinary citizen, the former shall be obliged to decline the challenge and offer the latter an opportunity to seek satisfaction in a court of law."

Creative approach

Chairman of the State Duma’s Statehood and Constitutional Legislation Committee, Pavel Krasheninnikov, appreciated the initiative’s humor, but at the same time recalled, just in case, that "as it is known, dueling was outlawed by the Russian Emperor."

"Today it is construed as attempted murder if nobody was killed. In the event of a fatal outcome this would then be murder," he said in reply to journalists’ questions. "My hat’s off to Sergey Ivanov’s creative thinking. His duel code is really cool."

Earlier, a number of mass media outlets cited the findings of the Anti-Corruption Foundation’s investigation that claimed that food supplies for Rosgvardiya were purchased at unduly high prices. In a retaliatory video message uploaded to YouTube, Zolotov challenged Navalny to a duel and promised to make "succulent mincemeat" of him.

This is not the first case Ivanov has come up with unique initiatives in the lower house of parliament. On April 1, 2013, he proposed a bill On the Protection of Citizens from the Effects of Using Garlic. He explained that in this way he sought to have a good laugh. In particular, he said his purpose was to show one and all that the State Duma was too fond of voting for "draconian" bills against its own citizens.

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