Russia’s National Guard commander, Viktor Zolotov, has filed a defamation lawsuit against, anti-corruption blogger, Aleksey Navalny. The two earlier wanted to settle their differences in a duel, but couldn’t agree on the terms.
In September, a report by Navalny’s NGO, the Foundation for Countering Corruption, alleged that tenders for food purchases by the National Guard were rigged in favor of a single supplier.
Zolotov now wants a Moscow court to declare that those claims didn’t correspond with reality and tarnished his business reputation, his lawyer said.
The National Guard commander demands 1 million rubles ($15,000) from the opposition blogger, he said, adding that if the court rules in Zolotov’s favor, the money will go to one of the orphanages.
The security chief vigorously denied corruption accusations as soon as they were voiced by Navalny, decrying them as “insulting and slandering theorizing.”
He reminded his opponent that “since time immemorial, scoundrels get slapped on the face and challenged to a duel.” Zolotov proposed “hand-to-hand combat” as the best way to settle the scores, warning that he would turn Navalny “into minced meat.”
READ MORE: Kremlin critic Navalny agrees to duel with National Guard boss, but not in hand-to-hand combat
The Kremlin critic and the head of the unregistered political party, Future Russia, eventually accepted the duel but said that he wanted it to be a debate on national TV instead of a fistfight.
However, his offer was ignored by Zolotov as it arrived in mid-October and coincided with the shooting in Kerch, in which 21 people died and almost were 50 injured.
According to his spokesman, the National Guard commander couldn’t respond as he was fully focused on providing security in Crimea at that time.
Earlier this week, sources told Kommersant paper that the Chief Military Prosecutor’s Office and Antimonopoly Service were really planning to probe the single supplies of food to the National Guard. However, they pointed out that the check was ordered back in May months before Navalny’s report.
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