Moscow, Tuesday

RUSSIAN far-right leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky fought his way back into

the headlines today, scuffling with a top talk show host and throwing

orange juice into the face of a fellow guest during a live broadcast.

Nizhny Novgorod regional governor Boris Nemtsov, whom Zhirinovsky had

called ''scumbag'' and ''bastard'', replied in kind by emptying his

fruit juice over Zhirinovsky.

The two men have a history of antagonism. Nemtsov, much admired by the

Western economists Zhirinovsky despises, once accused Zhirinovsky of

breaking into his office with a group of aides.

Nemtsov produced a copy of Playboy magazine and suggested Zhirinovsky

had contracted syphilis through sleeping with some of the 200 conquests

of which he had boasted in an interview with the magazine.

''We know your problem,'' Nemtsov said with a smile, pointing to the


''You've just made that up,'' erupted Zhirinovsky, who has variously

made the news for hurling plant pots at French students, threatening to

flood the Baltics with nuclear waste, and advocating Russia's need to

expand to the Indian Ocean.

''We can cure you. We have two simple injections,'' Nemtsov said.

Zhirinovsky rose to his feet with cries of ''bastard'' and

''scumbag''. Talk show host Alexander Lyubimov tried in vain to restore


''You are a bastard. I spit in your face,'' shouted Zhirinovsky,

picking up a glass of orange juice and throwing the contents in

Nemtsov's face.

Nemtsov replied with his fruit juice and the two men stood dripping in

the studio before Zhirinovsky threw his empty glass at his adversary.

''Sit down, sit down both of you,'' pleaded Lyubimov.

''How can I when that bastard is saying such things?'' replied

Zhirinovsky, grabbing another empty glass and hurling it at Nemtsov.

The screen suddenly faded to black, but Pravda reported that the two

men had continued their duel by hurling make-up kits at each other.

Nemtsov told a news agency that Lyubimov had then punched Zhirinovsky

in the face. The journalist declined to comment today but said: ''All I

can say is that we had a man-to-man talk'' -- Russian shorthand for a