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RUSSIA and Islam

From Moscow, Cameron Sawyer comments on Zhirinovsky and his Baghdad speech: "Zhirinovsky: this character is the leader of the so-called "Liberal-Democratic Party of Russia", one of the most complete misnomers ever. It is Russian, but neither Liberal, nor Democratic, nor really even a party. This organization was set up by the KGB in the late Gorbachev era, when it was thought that Communism might survive, but with some pretense of having political parties, as a cynical pretend democratic political party. Then when Communism ended, Zhirinovsky found other, more lucrative uses, for his pretend party

Zhirinovsky seems to be crazy, but in fact he is simply a professional clown. He has no political program whatsoever, and so lurid publicity is the only thing which can keep him in the public eye. His so-called "party" is a commercial operation which sells Duma seats, much prized among criminals for the immunity they give, for $250,000 each, and sells votes in parliament to the highest bidder, usually the party in power since the party in power usually has some money. Zhirinovsky is obsessed with sex, and once gave a pseudo-political speech advocating a "sexual-market economy", and kind of pun on the German "social-market economy". These stunts sell newspapers. Zhirinovsky was also for a time a notorious anti-Semite, but quieted down a bit on this when it came out that he is himself a Jew.

Zhirinovsky has been very active in Iraq because he and Saddam understood each other quite well, that is, in terms of money for political favors. It is said (unfortunately hard to confirm) that Zhirinovsky received hundreds of millions of dollars for arranging certain weapons sales and certain support for the Iraqi dictator. One argument is favor of the war in Iraq is that it has cut off one source of funding for this odious character. Russians, by the way, were outraged by the speech in Baghdad, on the basis that he had no authority from the Russian state to make such pronouncements, and censure proceedings were initiated against him (the latest of dozens) in the Duma, to what result I'm not sure".

Ronald Hilton - 5/12/03