Bloody battle of enemy institutes

December 22, 1995

A long-standing feud between two research institutes in St Petersburg has resulted in bloodshed.

Vasilii Kyucherev, a senior researcher at the Institute of the Human Brain has sustained severe injuries to the skull and brain, following a beating by a security guard from the neighbouring Institute of Experimental Medicine. The guard maintains that he was simply doing his duty.

The two have been enemies since the IHB was hived off from the IEM. The reason seems to be partly a matter of personality clashes between the leaders and partly the ever-sharper competition for constantly shrinking funds.

The institutes share a common site, but the IEM bosses seem set on not allowing any IHB staff in. The IEM is involved in some highly classified research, but, according to Izvestiva, the system of "muscular gate-guards" and security passes is far stricter than at other "super secret" installations. Kyucherev's offence seems to have been simply that he was walking closer to the IEM building than the guard deemed proper.

The battle is now spreading beyond the staff of the two establishments. Patients referred to the IHB for expert diagnosis have been warned not to approach it via the IEM, but to use a complicated and lengthy detour.

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