Putin's ex-bodyguard challenges Navalny to duel

Viktor Zolotov

"I simply challenge you to a fight - in the ring, on the tatami, whatever, and I promise to make nice, juicy mincemeat of you in a few minutes", the uniformed Zolotov said, raising his fist.

Zolotov was responding to a recent investigation by Navalny's Anti-Corruption Foundation accusing Rosgvardiya's leadership of stealing at least $29 million in Russian government budget funds.

The head of Russia's National Guard has uploaded a video challenging opposition leader and anti-corruption activist Alexei Navalny to a duel.

In a almost seven-minute long video published to the National Guard's official YouTube channel, Zolotov - appearing visibly angry and addressing the activist as "Mr. Navalny" - slammed Navalny's claims as "insulting, slanderous fabrications". "Nobody has given you a quality kick in the ass. I simply call you to a duel", he said in a video published on the National Guard's YouTube page.

"Nobody has ever given you a good and proper spanking", Mr Zolotov, 64, said.

That is the General's reply to Navalny's charges of purchasing food at inflated prices.

Navalny is now serving a 30-day jail sentence after a court convicted him last month of breaking protest laws, a move he said was designed by the authorities to stop him leading protests against pension reform across the country on Sunday. His team however reacted to Zolotov's message with a mixture of horror and ridicule.

Leonid Volkov, another Navalny ally, said he was concerned by threats in the video. "For centuries, people slapped people in the face and challenged them to a duel". "Six minutes of threats and not a single word to refute facts and evidence in the investigation".

"And who are you, Navalny, I want to understand what you're made of", he said.

Viktor Zolotov also said that Navalny was waving the declaration of the General's income "like a rag" for several years.

He said Navalny was a product from an "American test-tube" and a "puppet" placed to destabilize the political and economic situation in the country.

"Mr. Navalny, I promise you, before I step over you and wipe my feet on you, I will stage a show for the entire Rosgvardiya staff, and I assure you, after that you will be ashamed to go outside".

"Sometimes you can use any measures against blatant slander", he told journalists, adding that the Kremlin does not see it as a threat of physical violence.

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