Russian journalists brawl over Stalin during radio debate

Two prominent Russian journalists began brawling during a live radio discussion about Soviet Dictator Joseph Stalin.

Pro-Kremlin conservative Maxim Shevchenko was debating Nikolay Svanidze, a journalist known for his more liberal views, about Stalin's role in history.

Mr Svanidze was arguing that before the Second World War Stalin had placed the Soviet Union in a disastrous state.

Mr Shevchenko responded by calling Mr Svanidze "a demagogue", whose comments insulted the memory of Soviet soldiers who died fighting the Nazis.

Mr Svanidze called Mr Shevchenko "a jerk", adding: "If you were closer, I would punch you in the face."

The two then stood up and approached each other, with Mr Svanidze striking Mr Shevchenko in the face before the two began to scuffle.

As two staff members ran into the studio to break up the fight, the presenter could be heard yelling for both men to calm down and "respect each other".

The fight was widely reported by the Russian media and resulted in apologies from both journalists. 

Mr Shevchenko told Russia's 360 TV that intellectual disputes should never end in violence, but the fight reflected how Russians currently feel.

"This is the current situation in our country," he said. "There is a schism in society and emotions are always burning."

Mr Svanidze told Komsomolskaya 'Pravda Daily' it was the first time his arguments with Mr Shevchenko became personal, and apologised for not being able to control his emotions.

The Russian Communist Party has since condemned their actions, with press secretary Aleksandr Yushchenko telling RT that people "start throwing punches when they are short of arguments."

Joseph Stalin's legacy remains a controversial topic in Russia, with the scuffle occurring just weeks after the country's Ministry of Culture banned the distribution of the British comedy "The Death of Stalin".

- with Wires

Published 1 February 2018 at 4:53pm
Source: SBS News