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Zhirinovsky: When One Wife Is Not Enough

Published: February 6, 2001 (Issue # 642)



  • Zhirinovsky fighting with Duma deputy Irina Tishkovska in January 1996. He later claimed she 'just wanted to be close' to him.
    Photo: For The St. Petersburg Times

Duma Deputy Speaker and leader of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia Vladimir Zhirinovsky has actively crusaded for the legalization of polygamy in Russia. In spite of his heated arguments based on Russia's demographic decline, Zhirinovsky failed to find enough support among his fellow deputies in the State Duma. He spoke to Kester Klomegah about his cause. Q: Your political party raised the issue of legalizing polygamy in Russia. What were your motivations for this move?

A: Everyone is greatly concerned about the deepening demographic crisis in our country. President Vladimir Putin also raised this issue in his Children's Day address last June and called for a radical approach to arrest the crisis. So it was not on a lark that the LDPR proposed legalizing polygamy. We came up with the correct approach to the problem. The Russian Constitution allows us to change the Family Code. But every time amendments are proposed in the Duma, our lawmakers get confused. They don't know what to do. Polygamy and polyandry are already practised illegally, why not legalize it?

Q: You first raised this issue in 1996, and back then the Duma was not interested in supporting it.

A: Actually, it was during the parliamentary election campaign in 1993 that I raised this issue to boost the numbers of the dwindling Russian population. I know where this country is heading. So far there has been little open support for my proposal, but I know for sure that privately many deputies are in favor of it. They secretly support the idea. If they do not openly support me, the population will soon disappear.

Q: How do you hope to get a majority in the Duma to support your proposal?

A: Everyone says the demographic situation is catastrophic. We as lawmakers have to analyze the Family Code in relation to this problem. They [the deputies] are not looking at the problem the way they should. In the next five to 10 years, when the population shrinks by a third, they will overwhelmingly vote for amendments to the Family Code and legalize polygamy and polyandry.

Q: Maybe the question should be put to the people in a referendum?

A: You think I am afraid of the people? Many people are trying to survive loneliness in our society. I know for sure they'll say yes.

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Thursday, Nov. 27


The Customs and Transportation Committee for AmCham meets this morning at 9 a.m. in their office on Ulitsa Yakubovicha.


Tickets are still available for local KHL team SKA St. Petersburg’s showdown with Siberian club Metallurg Novokuznetsk tonight at 7:30 p.m. in the Ice Palace outside the Prospekt Bolshevikov metro station. Tickets can be purchased on the team’s website, at the arena box office or in their merchandise store on Nevsky Prospekt.


Celebrate one of Russian literature’s most tragic figures during Blok Days, a two-day celebration of the 134th anniversary of the poet’s birthday. The tragic tenor’s work, which led to writer Maxim Gorky to hail him as Russia’s greatest living poet before his death in 1921, will be recited and meetings and discussions about his contributions to the Silver Age of literature in St. Petersburg will be discussed in the confines of his former residence.



Friday, Nov. 28


Join table game aficionados at the British Book Center’s Board Game Evening. Held every Friday at 5 p.m., aficionados and amateurs alike can come take part in a variety of different games that test one’s intellect and cunning.



Saturday, Nov. 29


Cats, dogs, birds, rodents and reptiles are just some of the things that will walk and crawl at Lenexpo convention center this weekend as part of Zooshow, a two-day exhibition featuring not only man’s best friends but a four-legged fashion show, as well as a food fair that will help pet owners find out more about which kibbles are best for their hungry pets.



Sunday, Nov. 30


Remember the 75th anniversary of the beginning of the Russo-Finnish war in 1939 during today’s reenactment titled “Winter War: How it Was.” More than 200 people will take part in recreating the opening salvoes of the battle for the north in Kamenka, a small village situated between Vyborg and St. Petersburg, using authentic equipment and vintage vehicles from the era. The faux battle begins at 2 p.m.



Monday, Dec. 1


Serbia filmmaker Emir Kusturica is the featured guest this evening at the Lensovet Palace of Culture the Petrograd Side. Fans of the director will get the chance to watch his movie “Black Cat, White Cat,” as well as ask questions about his award-winning filmography. Tickets for the event, which starts at 7 p.m., start at 2,000 rubles ($42.50).



Tuesday, Dec. 2


Today is the final day of “Takoy Festival,” a three-week program of plays based on the works of Dostoevsky, Remarque and other famed European writers, whose work is transcribed for theatrical performances. Tonight’s festival finale is “Fathers and Sons,” a two-act drama staged by the Novosibirsk Academic Drama Theater based on Turgenev’s classic about familial relations.



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