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Russian National Guard Chief Sues Opposition Leader Navalny For Libel


A combo photo shows Russian opposition leader Aleksei Navalny (right) and Viktor Zolotov, the head of Russia’s National Guard.

The head of Russia's National Guard, Viktor Zolotov, has filed a lawsuit against opposition politician and anticorruption activist Aleksei Navalny, demanding 1 million rubles ($15,000) in compensation for damaging his honor and dignity.

Zolotov's lawyer, Shota Gorgadze, said on December 11 that his client wanted a court to rule that Navalny's allegations about Zolotov being corrupt are not true.

If Zolotov wins the case, the money received in compensation will be given to an orphanage, according to Gorgadze.

Navalny described the lawsuit against him as "very funny," citing Russian media reports that said the Federal Antimonopoly Service had received a request from the FSB security service to investigate possible violations in the National Guard's food purchasing program.

"Yesterday the FSB confirmed the results of our investigation and said the National Guard food-purchasing contract was 'potentially subject to corruption'," he tweeted.

"Today, the head of the National Guard files suit against me. Why not against the FSB? Fine then, I'll say it all in court," Navalny also wrote.

In August, Navalny issued a video showing images of luxurious properties that he claimed were bought by Zolotov and members of his family with "stolen money."

Zolotov, a former steelworker and longtime security chief for President Vladimir Putin, released a video in September in which he appeared in full dress uniform and challenged Navalny to a duel in the fighting form of his choice, vowing to "make mincemeat" of his opponent.

Navalny in October announced that he accepted Zolotov's challenge and proposed televised debates in a TV studio as his weapon of choice.

However, Zolotov rejected Navalny's offer.

Based on reporting by TASS, Interfax, and AFP