WATCH: After 'Fascist' Accusations, Ukrainian Parliament Brawls

NPR | March 19, 2013 1:49 p.m.

Contributed By:

Eyder Peralta

Ukrainian opposition and majority lawmakers fight around the rostrum during the session of parliament in Kiev, Ukraine, on Tuesday.

Ukrainian opposition and majority lawmakers fight around the rostrum during the session of parliament in Kiev, Ukraine, on Tuesday.

AP, Sergei Chuzavkov

You thought our politics were bad. If you need a fresh reminder that it could be worse: Official business at Ukraine’s parliament was suspended for a short time, while MPs exchanged punches.

Russia Today has video:

And an explanation as to what caused the brawl:

“The brawl began with yelling over the language used in the chamber and ‘fascist’ accusations from both sides.

“The session was opened by the head of the ruling Party of Regions, Aleksandr Efremov, speaking in Russian, a language his opponents manifest that they strongly dislike. Ukrainian Liberty Party members made sure nobody could hear the speech by chanting ‘Speak Ukrainian!’ out loud and drumming with their hands against the desks.”

The BBC reports that this is a bigger struggle between the politicians favored by “Russian-speaking Ukrainians in the east and south of the country” and those “in western Ukraine, where Ukrainian dominates.”

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