Flamboyant Russian lawmaker in parliament chamber brawl

Flamboyant, ultra-rightwing Russian lawmaker Vladimir Zhirinovsky clashed with a legislator from a rival party on Wednesday in a violent brawl inside parliament that highlighted his frustration at the dominant role of pro-Kremlin forces.

In chaotic scenes in the chamber broadcast throughout the day on national television, the leader of Russia's Liberal Democratic Party - who is also deputy speaker of the parliament - spat at a lawmaker from the leftist Rodina party.

The legislator, Andrei Savelyev, and Zhirinovsky lunged at each other with their fists and others joined in the fight.

Zhirinovsky grabbed his opponent by his hair, but he was wrestled to the ground and hit repeatedly.

"Where's that bastard?" Zhirinovsky said as other lawmakers struggled to separate the two men.

The speaker of the State Duma, or lower house of parliament, Boris Gryzlov, said that the general prosecutor's office should assess who was responsible for the brawl after the Rodina party demanded Zhirinovsky be stripped of his position as deputy speaker.

The fight broke out as the Liberal Democratic Party leader protested at weekend regional parliamentary elections to the Yamalo-Nenets region in Western Siberia in which his party scored disappointingly, behind Rodina and the Communists. The pro-presidential United Russia party came out on top with more than 60 percent of the vote, Interfax reported.

Zhirinovsky's party has generally toed the Kremlin line despite his occasionally provocative statements and antics that have earned him the title of the clown of Russian politics.

Associated Press

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