A fight erupted between communist party members and local municipal politicians in Moscow this week over a proposal to move a statue of Vladimir Lenin.
Maxim Suraikin, the presidential candidate of the Communists of Russia party, organized his supporters to attack a local council meeting in Moscow that had gathered to discuss whether the removal of the statue should be put to a referendum. Earlier this week, a fist-fight erupted over another Soviet leader — Josef Stalin — between two Russian journalists on a live radio show.
"It was a special unscheduled meeting, we didn’t invite anyone and were very surprised that a whole horde of them had gathered," the RBC business portal cited local council member Dmitry Maksimov as saying.
Maksimov reportedly filed a police complaint after suffering a head wound in the incident. The Communist leader Suraikin denied attacking the deputy and accused local authorities of "attempting to insult the entire Soviet past."
"In Ukraine, it all began with the demolition of Lenin statues and ended in the [controversial Ukrainian nationalist Stepan] Bandera regime. That’s why we react very strongly to these initiatives," Suraikin told RBC.
Footage on state-run television showed Suraikin gesticulating at seated officials before cutting to a scuffle in which at least one elderly woman was knocked to the ground.
Andrei Morev, the head of the Yakimanka council where the heated exchange took place, defended the gathering.
“Lenin is a leader for some and a butcher for others [...] That’s why we’d like to hear the opinion of local residents,” he told the state-run Rossia-24 news channel.