Russian security chief calls opposition leader to ‘duel’

MOSCOW (AFP) – Russian President Vladimir Putin’s close ally and chief of the National Guard yesterday challenged Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny to a “duel” and threatened to turn him into “steak”.

Wearing his uniform, Viktor Zolotov spouted threats and insults in a video message to Navalny, who last month alleged corruption in the National Guard and is currently in jail for violating anti-protest legislation.

“You, Mr Navalny, have never faced payback,” Zolotov said, after rubbishing Navalny’s corruption expose as slander.

“I simply call you to a duel, to the ring, to the tatami, to wherever,” he said in the video posted on the National Guard’s official website.

Navalny in late August published a video he addressed to the rank and file employees of the National Guard, the agency tasked with dispersing Russian protests.

Agency leadership, he tells the soldiers, “literally takes food out of your mouth for profit”.

The expose alleges that the agency purchases poor quality food for its soldiers for overinflated prices.

Previously Navalny had alleged Zolotov himself – a former head of Putin’s security detail who was appointed to the current newly-created post in 2016 – was “very rich” and that his family owned several luxury properties.

Zolotov in his video said that he was “not a poor man” but went on to accuse Navalny.

“When you were still using the potty, I had served in the army, was an outstanding worker, worked in industry and then went into business,” Zolotov said.

“And who are you, Navalny, I want to understand what you’re made of,” he said.