Ukraine’s Interior Minister Arsen Avakov posted video online of his heated argument with Mikheil Saakashvili, the former president of Georgia and current governor of Odessa Oblast, Ukraine.
The argument occurred at the National Reforms Council meeting. Tensions boiled over after Saakashvili accused Avakov of corruption. Avakov also accused Saakashvili of doing business with a Russian businessman. President Petro Poroshenko was caught in the middle:
Avakov: Mikhail Nikolozovich, I’m reacting to what you said. I made some notes. I listened closely to what you said and to the resume of what was at the Anti-Corruption Forum. Now you are not speaking as tough as you did there. I don’t get it. You said that the Cabinet of Ministers leads the corruption. You said it clearly and without proof.
Saakashvili (interrupting): There is proof, there is proof…
Avakov: Let me finish and then you’ll speak…
Saakashvili: I said it with proof and I will have more proof. And I will present them…
Avakov: Mr. President, are we going to maintain order here?
Saakashvili: …your friend, bandit (Mykola) Martynenko…
Avakov: When you’re speaking, it’s like blah-blah-blah.
Saakashvili: Blah-blah-blah? No one talks to me like that!
Avakov: I will talk to you like that.
Saakashvili: I don’t care how you will talk to me.
Avakov: Then go the hell out of here.
Saakashvili: I’m calling on you to be polite. Unlike you, I don’t have millions or billions.
Avakov: It’s not for you that I’m speaking here. You will respond for your billions in a different place.
Saakashvili: Russia looked for my billions too. Look for them well! Look well!
Poroshenko: Mikhail! Everyone stop now…
Saakashvili: …and a corrupt minister will not speak treason.
Avakov: Shut your mouth, you f*cking corrupt governor.
Avakov: You heard me, thief. F*ck!
Poroshenko: Arsen Borisovych, could you not swear?
Avakov: There was no swearing.
Poroshenko: There was. Arseniy Petrovych, I’m asking you to speak now.
Avakov: I want to finish.
Poroshenko: Fine. Please, speak about facts, don’t comment on the speeches.
Avakov: Speaking of all the things that were said… Of course, there should be privatization. Including privatization of Odesa Port Plant. We need to bring it all to the light as much as we can and privatize the whole Odesa Port Plant. But I have a question. Mr. Saakashvili, are you or are you not preventing the privatization of Odesa Port Plant?
Saakashvili: I’m not going to discuss anything after the way you spoke. After what you said, I will have only a public discussion with you. I will prove that you are a thief. And I’ll prove that the Cabinet of Ministers heads the corruption. I’ll never let this (happen)… I don’t have money – unlike you (Avakov) but I have a conscience and reputation. And I won’t let some Avakov – who’s caught stealing, and who – everyone knows that – is managing schemes… talk to Saakashvili in (insulting) tone. The country knows that he’s a thief.
(Avakov throws a glass at Saakashvili)
Avakov (to Saakashvili): Scum!
Poroshenko: I’m closing the session.
Neither man listened to Poroshenko as they continued to spew insults at each other.
Avakov (to Saakashvili): Bastard!
Avakov: Sure, a thief…
Saakashvili: And (such people) like you would be in prison. Because Ukraine should be a successful country…
Avakov: You’ve already pushed your country to the limit. Get out of my country!
Saakashvili: Out of your country? I’m Ukrainian, by the way.
Avakov: I’m also Ukrainian.
Saakashvili: No! I’m Ukrainian. And you’re a thief.
Arseniy Yatsenyuk (to Saakashvili): And you’re a clown…
Avakov (to Saakashvili): You’re a f*cking cirques perfomer, bitch.
Yatsenyuk (to Saakashvili): You’re a visiting performer and a blabbermouth! You were invited to the country to do something rather than go into political speculation…
Avakov (to Saakashvili): Bullshitter…
Poroshenko: Arseniy, enough!
Saakashvili: You’re insulting. Ukraine, you’re insulting member of parliament and Ukrainian nation and you will respond for it…
Poroshenko: Done. Everyone’s free.
The fight appeared to cause Poroshenko stress.
Russian TV having a field day with the Saakashvili / Avakov spat, also noting Poroshenko reaction in this screengrab pic.twitter.com/c5ZRYPImvU
— Shaun Walker (@shaunwalker7) December 16, 2015
It is the second physical imbroglio involving the Ukrainian government in the past week. Ukraine’s Parliament has developed an international reputation for erupting into violence without warning. On December 11, a fistfight broke out in the Ukrainian Parliament after one member approached Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk and physically hoisted him from the podium: