Meanwhile in Russia: Lawmakers Ponder Allowing Citizens to Duel to the Death

The move comes shortly after a Putin ally threatened to “make a nice, juicy steak out of” an opposition leader.

Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images)

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

Russian legislators took a stab at regulating the act of dueling this week with the introduction of a 53-page bill, which would clarify when and how state and municipal employees could challenge citizens with dissenting viewpoints to a battle to death, according to MBH Media, a website run by Kremlin critic Mikhail Khodorkovsky. 

The regulations, which were drafted by members of the ultranationalist Liberal Democratic Party and submitted to Russia’s lower house of parliament, categorizes “all possible cases and reasons” for conducting duels and specifies that they must only occur “between equals.” 

Earlier this week, the head of Russia’s internal security force challenged opposition leader Alexei Navalny to a duel in a video posted to the Russian National Guard’s YouTube page, according to the Guardian. “Nobody has ever given you the spanking you deserve, so hard that you felt it in your liver,” said Viktor Zolotov, who formerly served as President Vladimir Putin’s bodyguard. “I promise in several minutes to make a nice, juicy steak out of you.”

Dueling has a long, illustrious history in Russia. Legendary tsar Peter the Great reportedly threatened to hang any participants in duels “whether they’re dead or alive,” but the practice nonetheless grew in popularity over the next century. Russian poet Alexander Pushkin famously died in a duel with his brother-in-law, only a few decades after another notable Alexander lost his fatal duel with Vice President Aaron Burr. 


Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend