Zhirinovsky Trades Punches With Debate Foe

Liberal Democratic Party candidate Vladimir Zhirinovsky attacked his rival during a televised debate, Kommersant reported Thursday.

The fight broke out during the recording of a debate between Zhirinovsky and Nikolai Gots, a representative of independent candidate Andrei Bogdanov, the report said.

Zhirinovsky, known for his extravagant rhetoric and emotional outbursts, lashed out when his opponent said his party was a Kremlin puppet, Kommersant said. The debate was to be aired on the Defense Ministry's television channel, Zvezda.

Zhirinovsky's party and Zvezda officials refused to comment on the report. Zhirinovsky verbally abused Gots and then became involved in a fistfight with him, Kommersant reported.

"Zhirinovsky then ordered his bodyguards to take me away and shoot me dead," the newspaper cited Gots as saying. The bodyguards did not carry out the order, Gots said.

More than 10 fistfights have broken out on the floor of the State Duma in the post-Soviet era, and Zhirinovsky has participated in almost all of them.

Footage of the incident has not been broadcast.

Reuters, MT