Alexei Navalny challenged to duel by Putin's security chief, Viktor Zolotov
14 September, 2018, 13:18
Viktor Zolotov, the head of Russia's National Guard, accused the jailed opposition leader of being a puppet of Washington and said his aim was to destabilise Russian Federation.
The head of Russia's National Guard has uploaded a video challenging opposition leader and anti-corruption activist Alexei Navalny to a duel. In his seven minute-long monologue, which included false and previously debunked claims, Zolotov spoke directly to Alexei Navalny, the head of the Anti-Corruption Foundation and leading Russian opposition figure.
The speech is a departure from the usual Kremlin policy to avoid even mentioning Mr Navalny's name in public.
Navalny, Russia's most popular opposition leader, is now in jail serving a 30-day sentence for organizing an unsanctioned public protest.
In an August 23 video investigation, Navalny alleged that leadership in the Russian National Guard had diverted millions of rubles from procurement contracts earmarked for food for soldiers.
Navalny rose to prominence thanks to his investigations uncovering official graft and has spearheaded mass antigovernment protests across Russian Federation, rattling the Kremlin.
Rallies took place on Sunday in all of Russia's 11 time zones, and the National Guard's riot police violently cracked down on the protests in some cities. "I challenge you - we can fight at the ring, tatami, anywhere, I promise to beat you to jelly", said the General.
Mr Navalny's former campaign chief Leonid Volkov said Mr Zolotov had made some "very serious threats" - but also mocked his video, saying he "must have forgotten" that the opposition leader is in jail and can not respond.
Mr Navalny is now in jail for breaking anti-protest laws.
The commander-in-chief of Rosgvardiya, army General Viktor Zolotov, said that founder of the Anti-Corruption Fund (FBK) Alexey Navalny insulted him, and he could not forgive it. Zolotov calls Navalny out.
Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said he supported Mr Zolotov's opinion, because "libel must be nipped in the bud", but added that he did not think the video counted as a physical threat.
The 64-year old Zolotov, who rarely makes public appearances, took to YouTube to vent his frustration with the opposition leader.
While most of Navalny's allies treated Zolotov's statement as a joke, others saw chilling overtures in the former bodyguard's emotional appeal.
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