MOSCOW, December 4 (RIA Novosti) – Lawmakers who came to blows this week in a fight in Russia’s parliament that culminated with an ambulance being summoned have come under fire for their unruly conduct.
The scuffle between Alexei Zhuravlyov and Adam Delimkhanov, both members of the ruling United Russia party, reportedly took place in the State Duma, the lower house of parliament, on Tuesday evening. Russian daily Kommersant quoted Zhuravlyov as saying the brawl ended only when a gold-plated pistol fell out of Delimkhanov’s pocket.
Duma speaker Sergei Naryshkin told reporters on Wednesday that the matter would likely be taken up by the police.
“[These men] are not worthy of the title of state deputies,” Naryshkin said.
Duma ethics committee chief Alexander Degtyarev also condemned the incident.
Zhuravlyov told Kommersant that the fight broke out over a disagreement about a monument in the North Caucasus republic of Chechnya that was erected in memory of Chechen women killed by tsarist troops in the 19th century.
Zhuravlyov said the statue could be extremist, infuriating Delimkhanov.
Later on Wednesday, the two lawmakers appeared in the Duma together to announce that they’ve settled their disagreements.
“The conflict is over. We’ve reconciled and will continue to work together. It’s the right decision, brave and serious,” Zhuravlyov told reporters. Delimkhanov agreed with his colleague.
Delimkhanov’s assistant, Tatyana Lazina, said earlier that the lawmaker was not planning to step down due to the incident. Delimkhanov is a close associate and cousin of Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov.
Zhuravlyov told Kommersant that the fight escalated when his assistants and Delimkhanov’s bodyguards ran to help, and only ended with the sudden appearance of the pistol.
“He suddenly hit me in the head with his fist and I started to defend myself,” Zhuravlyov told Kommersant, “I’m alive and well, but I don’t look very pretty.” He said he was not planning to resign either.
Duma officials said that weapons could only be brought into the legislature with special permission and said all deputies are subjected to security checks as they enter the building.
Delimkhanov had previously been on an Interpol wanted list for allegedly ordering the 2009 killing of a Russian army commander from Chechnya in Dubai.
Police in the United Arab Emirates claimed the commander, Sulim Yamadayev, was killed by three bullets from a gold-plated gun.
Delimkhanov was removed from the Interpol list on the request of Dubai police in 2012 following a visit to the UAE by Kadyrov.
Updated with the lawmakers’ refusal to resign and their announcement of reconciliation