Vladimir Zhirinovsky sounds like a serious person on paper. He's a colonel in the Russian army, Vice-Chairman of the State Duma (the lower house of Russia’s legislature), a member of the Parliamentary Assembly Council of Europe, and, most notably, the founder and leader of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia. But a quick Google search reveals that he’s earned his reputation as the insane clown prince of Russian politics. When he ran for prime minister in 1993, his campaign promises included free vodka for men and better underwear for women. He’s throttled newscasters and state officials, told world leaders to suck Russian dick, and pontificated about enslaving the planet. A couple weeks ago, he called the Royal Baby a “bloodsucker,” but he’s said far, far worse things. If his party ever managed to take control of the country, the world would be a much more terrifying place (thankfully, there's little chance of that).
And yet, even though he’s a belligerent, racist, sexist, homophobic, nationalist sociopath, you can’t help but admire his refusal to play politics as usual. With Zhirinovsky, you don’t get any fake smiles (or any smiles, period), or false promises, or two-faced diplomacy. He says what’s on his mind, even if what’s on his mind isn’t so much a political position as a violent, incoherent rant that can only be communicated through wild gestures. And that’s sort of endearing, in it’s own jaw-droppingly offensive kind of way.
For your entertainment pleasure, here are the Lib Dem leader’s Greatest Hits.
His Drunken Rant About Bush, the Iraq War, and Condoleezza Rice
One late night in 2002, so wasted he had to be propped up by two lackeys, he gave a riveting speech against the War in Iraq. He counseled Bush on his daddy issues, called America a “second-hand goods store” filled with “cocksuckers, handjobbers, and faggots,” and threatened to change the gravitational field of the Earth in order to sink the entire country.
If you skip to 5:16, you can listen to him call Bush an ignoramus who can’t count and say much, much worse things about Condoleezza Rice: “She is a black whore who needs a good cock. Send her here, one of our divisions will make her happy in the barracks one night. She will choke on Russian sperm as it will be leaking out of her ears... until she crawls to the US embassy in Moscow on her knees.”
For more of his thoughts on Condoleeza Rice, you can check out this article from 2006, in which he offers her sympathetic advice:
“Condoleezza Rice released a coarse anti-Russian statement. This is because she is a single woman who has no children. She loses her reason because of her late single status […] If she has no man by her side at her age, he will never appear. Even if she had a whole selection of men to choose from she would stay single because her soul and heart have hardened. Like Napoleon, Genghis Khan, Tamerlane, or Alexander the Great of Macedon, Ms. Rice needs to fight and release tough public statements in global scale […] Condoleezza Rice needs a company of soldiers. She needs to be taken to barracks where she would be satisfied. On the other hand, she can hardly be satisfied because of her age. This is a complex. She needs to return to her university and teach students there. She could also deal with psychological analysis.”
His Explanation of Why Men Hate Women
On a popular Russian TV program, Zhirinovsky took upon himself the heavy task of revealing the harsh realities of gender relations to us poor, delusional women: “All men lie to you. When they tell you that they love you, it’s a lie... All men hate you, ladies, they hate you. Because you prevent men from thriving… This is why all the crimes committed in the world are women’s fault.”
As always, you have to appreciate his candor, if nothing else. When the female interviewer asks if his wife is happy he doesn’t miss a beat. “Of course not. How could she be happy? I ignore her,” he says, as though the interviewer is a moron for asking such a stupid question.
And yet, behind all of the women-bashing, he’s almost unintentionally making a feminist argument: If women were self-sufficient, they wouldn’t need the endless supply of furs and shoes that apparently drives men to their graves. And in 2006, Zhirinovsky proposed that polygamy be legalized in Russia. So that’s kind of open-minded. Kind of.
His Many, Many, Many Fights
It happens all the time. You’re watching footage from a Russian legislative session as people read documents, make boring speeches—then you recognize Zhirinovsky’s unmistakable bark. Within moments, papers are flying, officials are scrambling to get Zhirinovsky’s latest victim out of his death-grip headlock, and the presiding officer is making tired appeals to restore order in the chamber. Often, it takes more than a dozen people to restrain him. On televised programs, he often responds to someone disagreeing with him by pelting them with whatever is on the table, water bottles and stationary being his favorites. He’s spoken out about being bullied at school growing up, so perhaps it’s no wonder that he regresses to the problem-solving strategies of a rabid kindergardener, but he's the bully in practically all the situations he gets himself into these days. (The best fight in the legislature is between 2:37 and 5:01 in the video below, and his fight on a televised debate show is from 6:17 to 6:57. It’s in Russian, but just imagine the worst insults you can think of, and you’ll get the gist.)
In this video, Zhirinovsky tells his bodyguard to take his political opponent and shoot him in the corner.
His Hardcore Racism and Voldemort-esque Anti-Semitism
He’s been pretty frank about his hatred for Turks and people from the Caucasus Mountains, as well as his desire for the Chinese and Japanese to be deported from Russia. He’s warned America several times to be careful about turning the country over to the blacks. He wants to forcibly take back Alaska because it’ll be “a great place to keep the Ukranians.” In Zhirinovsky’s dream world, all of the former Soviet countries will get back together, the ethnic minorities will murder each other, Russians will rule, Georgians will serve as slaves, and the Baltic countries will be used for the dumping of nuclear waste. Oh, and they need to seize Afghanistan and the Middle East so that Russians have somewhere warm to go on vacation.
As for his own heritage, Zhirinovsky has long denied that there was any non-Russian blood in him, shrugging it off with the statement, “My mother is Russian, my father is a lawyer.” He finally stopped playing coy in his tantalizingly-named autobiography, Close Your Soul, Ivan (it shares a lot with Mein Kempf in terms of blaming all of history’s misfortune on the Jews), in which he revealed his father’s Jewishness but also said that he wasn’t going to change his opinions just because of “that single drop of blood that my father left in my mother’s body.” Like his plan for world domination, his understanding of reproductive biology is fairly shaky.
His Awesome Ideas on How to Stop Epidemics
When the bird flu was spreading around the world in 2006, world leaders everywhere were scrambling and trying to figure out what to do. But Zhirinovsky, who is a man of action, came up with a simple solution: just shoot all the birds.
“This little song of theirs has to be broken,” he said. “No more migration to the north. They can stay in the south. We must shoot all the birds. We have to send all of our troops, from Sochi to the Crimea, and force migratory birds to stay where they are. This is not a joke!”
Diana Bruk is a freelance writer who was born in St. Petersburg, Russia, and raised in New York City. You can follow her on Twitter: @BrukDiana
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