Ukraine Solidifies Democratic Bona Fides with Second Post-Revolution Parliamentary Brawl

by Andrew Johnson

It takes time to build democratic traditions, cynics say, but the pro-Western Ukrainian government is doing its best to get up to speed with other vigorous legislatures. After a scuffle between Ukrainian parliamentarians broke out in April, the Verkhovna Rada has now seen its second brawl: On Tuesday, in the aftermath of the downed civilian airliner in eastern Ukraine, parliamentarians started throwing punches, though it’s unclear why.

Some reports say tensions erupted in the chamber between nationalist members and pro-Russian members during a vote for more military reserves to combat Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine; while others say the fighting took place after Svoboda party member Oleg Tiangynbok moved to remove Yuri Levcheko of the pro-Russian Party of Regions. Levcheko fired back that Svoboda “kills its citizens.”