Is this a dagger which I see before me?

Yes. Apparently so. The Independent has the following report:

“A Russian teacher allegedly killed a friend in a drunken argument over literary genres, investigators have said.

The pair engaged in an animated discussion on the merits of poetry over prose during a drinking session, which soon escalated into a lethal brawl, after the suspect stabbed his friend insisting that poetry was superior.

In a statement, federal police in the Russian region of Sverdlovsk said: “The host insisted that real literature is prose, while his guest, a former teacher, argued for poetry.

“The literary dispute soon grew into a banal conflict, on the basis of which the 53-year-old admirer of poetry killed his opponent with the help of a knife.”

The suspect fled his home in the town of Irbit in the Ural mountains, where the 67-year old victim was killed on 20 January, before he was found in a nearby village and arrested by Russian police on charges of murder.

The incident comes four months after a similar argument over the theories of German philosopher Immanuel Kant, who argued that reason is the source of morality, resulted in a man being shot in a grocery store in southern Russia.” (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/russian-teacher-kills-friend-in-heated-poetry-versus-prose-argument-9095784.html)

The Telegraph had the following equally bemusing piece earlier in the year:

“Everyone knows that too much drinking can cause Christmas parties to go wrong. But few can have imagined the bloody outcome of a recent festive drinking binge in Siberia.

Police in the remote region said on Friday that they are struggling to work out whether self mutilation constitutes a crime after two men cut their own ears off in an arm wrestling match.

The bizarre incident came to light after hospital staff alerted police when two patients showed up at a hospital in the Gurev district of the Kemerovo region, 1,800 miles east of Moscow, on Tuesday suffering from wounds normally associated with Vincent Van Gogh.

But while Van Gogh famously cut off his ear in a fit of depression, officers soon established that this pair had each severed their own ears as a result of a drink-fuelled arm wrestling match – and a strong sense of fair play.

The two unnamed men had been drinking to celebrate Orthodox Christmas, which falls on January 7, when they decided to hold an arm wrestling tournament.

“According to the agreed rules of the drunken contest, the loser had to cut off his ear,” police said in statement released on Friday after interviewing both men.

The loser of the first round challenged the result and demanded a rematch, which he won.

After arguing about the result – the winner of the first round insisted he was the “official” winner, the two decided to call it a draw.

But agreeing that the rules of the competition must nonetheless be respected, they each promptly took a blade to their respective left ears – one severing his completely, the other only partially.

Officers are currently conducting inquiries before deciding whether to open a criminal case.

It is not clear whether surgeons managed to save either man’s ear.” (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/russia/10563209/Russian-men-cut-off-own-ears-after-arm-wrestling-match.html)

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