Two prominent journalists punched each other in the face several times during a live radio broadcast in Moscow on Tuesday. Nikolai Svanidze and Maxim Shevchenko, who are both members of Russia’s Presidential Human Rights Council, joined the Komsomolskaya Pravda network to discuss the question: “Is Stalinism a disease that needs to be treated?” The show was partly inspired by the Culture Ministry’s recent decision to ban the film “The Death of Stalin.”
Near the end of the broadcast, Shevchenko accused Svanidze of “spitting on the graves of those killed outside Moscow” in the Second World War. Svanidze responded by calling Shevchenko a “bastard,” before rising to his feet and slapping him in the face. Younger and significantly larger, Shevchenko then pummeled Svanidze to the floor.
Nikolai Svanidze is a television journalist, political commentator, and historian. Maxim Shevchenko is a journalist and the chief editor of the website Kavpolit. Both men are members of Russia’s Presidential Human Rights Council.
In mid-January, the Russian Culture Ministry revoked the film distribution license for the comedy “The Death of Stalin.” Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky welcomed the decision, saying, “Many older people, and quite a few others, view this [movie] as an offensive mockery of the entire Soviet past, of the country that defeated fascism, of the Soviet army, and of ordinary people. And, most distastefully, they see it as even mocking the victims of Stalinism.”