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Just duel it: Russian National Guard chief throws down gauntlet to opposition blogger

Viktor Zolotov in a video address promised to make mincemeat of Alexei Navalny

MOSCOW, September 11. /TASS/. Viktor Zolotov, chief of Russia’s National Guard, or Rosgvardia, the internal military force of the government, has challenged opposition blogger and head of the Anti-corruption Foundation, Alexei Navalny to a duel, claiming his alleged anti-corruption probe conclusions discredit Rosgvardia officers.

Navalny’s foundation looked into food procurements for Rosgvardia and concluded that it had been done from a sole supplier at prices allegedly higher than market ones.

In a video address to Navalnvy posted on Rosgvardia’s official YouTube channel on Tuesday, Zolotov said he had decided to respond to the blogger bearing in mind his "presidential ambitions," although he was not in the habit of speaking with "men from the street."

"I would like to point out that in your statement about me you spouted offensive and nasty lies. Officers never forgive such things and from time immemorial any scoundrel would earn a slap in the face and a challenge to a duel. Mr. Navalny, it wouldn’t be such a bad thing to revive at least some of those glorious traditions. I mean getting redress. I simply challenge you to a duel, in a boxing ring, or wherever else. I promise to make mincemeat of you in a couple of minutes," Zolotov said and asked Navalny not to delay his answer.

Zolotov went on to call Navalny "an American creature from a test tube," addressing him directly by saying, "People like you are clowns and puppets whose mission is to sling mud at everything around them, to destabilize the situation, politically and economically, inside the country."

By the same token, he admitted that cases of corruption do occur but all relevant agencies spare no effort in rooting out corruption. "We expose such people and either fire them or bring them to justice, depending on the scale of what they did," he emphasized.

Meanwhile, Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said he shares Zolotov’s opinion that there should be no room for slander and his video address should not be taken as a physical threat to Navalny.

"Sometimes, it is necessary to use everything to fight brazen defamation, really shameless slander which is nothing but a violation of existing laws," he told journalists on Tuesday. "Such libel must be nipped in the bud. In this sense, I would agree with Zolotov and would prefer to refrain from further comments."

When asked whether this video address constituted a physical threat to Navalny, the spokesman answered: "No, I don’t think so," adding that the Kremlin had nothing to do with it.