Russian oligarch sucker-punches rival billionaire on talk show

In this clip from Russian TV, oligarch billionaire Alexander Lebedev sucker-punches another billionaire, Sergei Polonsky, hitting him twice.

Clad in very tight grey jeans, Lebedev showed a glimpse of his past as a KGB agent as he launched two blows at the former property developer Sergei Polonsky during a television debate on the financial crisis. Polonsky, once ranked Russia's 40th richest man, had said he wanted to "stick one in the mouth" of Lebedev. In the clip posted on the NTV channel's website, Polonsky was sent tumbling to the floor and Lebedev then stood over him in a crouched fighting stance.

The newspaper baron said later that he had been reacting to Polonsky's threatening manner. The colourful proprietor was quoted as saying: "In a critical situation, there is no choice. I see no reason to be hit with the first shot. I neutralised him."

Alexander Lebedev in Russian TV punch-up


  1. lebedev is the owner of the independent and the evening standard, just to add some context.

    polonsky famously claimed in 2008 that in his eyes “if you dont have a million you can go to hell”.

    this is not to support lebedev at all. whatever polonsky might have said he clearly attacked him first physically…its a zidane kind of situation. 

  2. Putin would have grabbed Lebedev’s arm and made the old man punch himself in the face for good measure. But seriously: perhaps violence is the only action or reaction that the ultra-wealthy fully understand.

    1. Putin would have grabbed Lebedev’s arm and made the old man punch himself in the face for good measure.

      Putin would have ripped off his shirt, then grabbed Lebedev’s arm and made the old man punch himself in the face for good measure.  FTFY

  3. I love how at 0:23 seconds in, Lebedev cocks his head ever so slightly with an “Oh really?” look and then adjusts what appears to be a pinky ring. Also, what nice shoes.

  4. I fail to see the critical situation that sociopath speaks of. Seems like he’s a little sally who can’t take criticism and who can’t take a fair fight.

  5. Once a KGB agent, he now holds allegiance to Lagerfeld and is senior chairman of the Consolidated Hipster Collective of Moscow.

  6. The guy on our right is interesting.  Stroking his chin and looking away with a faint smile.  Could have a thought balloon saying “I have set them against each other.  The will fight but I will be the winner!”

  7. Meh. “Lebedev showed a glimpse of his past as a KGB agent.” Yeah, his past as one of the thousands of mid-rank agents who fiddled with pencils and pared their nails while the big guys beat the falsely accused with a chair leg.

  8. The hunched over look seems to come more from having one foot on the scenery and looking down at the opponent then any special stance.

  9. Nah.  Second punch didn’t connect.  First punch was partially blocked as Polonski tried to get up off his ridiculous titanium chair from 1975, and then inadvertently fell back off the edge of the dais.  He did the smart thing, getting some distance and keeping his eye on Lebedev.

  10. It just goes to show that all that wealth is probably a result of other equally primitive behavior.  A long time ago I used to think that wealthy people were somehow better:  More enlightened, more educated, higher functioning.  Somewhere in college I finally started understanding that wealthy people were often just sociopaths.

    1. Paraphrased –

      F. Scott Fitzgerald: “The rich are different from you and me.”
      Ernest Hemingway: “Yes, they have more money.”

  11. Lebedev apparently punches like Bolshoi ballerina. Two free cheap shots and he didn’t even change the expression or tone of voice of guy he punched.
    Was Lebedev the KGB’s Frank Burns.

  12. only on the tenth viewing did i catch that awesome flaming hundred dollar bill in the background. russia, you know good tv.

  13. The set looks more like something from a game show rather than a political talk show. Love the animated flaming 100 dollar bill with terrified George Washington face.

  14. Larry Ellison would have been in his element on this show. I’d so love to see him in a real fight, and I will not be surprised if I do.

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