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Zhirinovsky Engages in Street Theater

Published: January 25, 2008 (Issue # 1342)


MOSCOW — Liberal Democratic Party leader and presidential candidate Vladimir Zhirinovsky had his back to the British Embassy on Wednesday, but his voice boomed over a microphone toward the Moscow River with a message for British officials.

In a 20-minute tirade that was part theater, part campaign circus, Zhirinovsky accused Britain of most of the world’s ills — including fomenting the 18th-century war between Russia and Sweden, the Russian-Japanese war, World War I, the October Revolution, World War II and the collapse of the Soviet Union.

“The British provoked perestroika,” Zhirinovsky said. He accused former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher of “pushing” former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to make liberal reforms.

Journalists — Reuters journalists, in particular — were are on the payroll of Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service, also known as MI6 — “the most disgusting secret service in the world” — Zhirinovsky said.

The embassy’s press service is also working for MI6, he alleged.

With Russian-British relations at a low following the closure of two regional British Council centers and with the March 2 presidential election approaching, Zhirinovsky’s performance was almost a given. While he is largely loyal to the Kremlin, he paints himself as an opposition ultranationalist.

The LDPR had promised an appearance Wednesday by Andrei Lugovoi, the party’s newly elected State Duma deputy who is wanted in Britain for purportedly murdering Andrei Litvinenko, but whom Russia has refused to extradite.

One foreign journalist suggested that Lugovoi might have been pushed onto British territory had he shown up. But there was no Lugovoi, and so it was a typical one-man show from Zhirinovsky.

Before his spoke, eight LDPR supporters, including an 11-year-old girl, held up flags that read: “Russia Has Never Been a British Colony.” One party official insisted that 12 supporters had turned up.

Now and again a motorist would beep a horn on the embankment — possibly in support unless it was an enraged Jaguar driver telling Zhirinovsky to cease his anti-British rhetoric.

“In time,” said Zhirinovsky, hitting his stride, “Britain will be recognized as the most barbaric country on the planet.”

A British Embassy spokesman declined to comment on the long list of accusations.

Apart from his few supporters, Zhirinovsky had one other fan in tow: Iren Ferrari, known as “the biggest chest in Russia,” who wandered down to watch and to pose in the cold for photographers, her coat open and trembling dog, Bentley, in her arms.

“I do not agree with what Britain does in relation to Russia,” Ferrari said, accusing Britain of aggressive politics as photographers clicked away.

When asked if she could elaborate, Ferrari said, “What clever questions you ask,” and giggled.

Zhirinovsky, who insisted that he was not giving a campaign speech, did offer one way for the two countries to mend ties.

“In the end, Britain will have to give freedom to Scotland and Wales and Northern Ireland ... and that will only leave London, which, because of [global] warming, will constantly flood,” he said. “And the time will come, maybe, when we will have to accept immigrants because of the climate.”

He also demanded that British Ambassador Anthony Brenton leave his post.

Wrapping up his speech, Zhirinovsky told reporters: “It’s cold. Go home have some tea, and then in the evening go and get your salary at the embassy, one from the ambassador, one from MI6.”





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Sunday, Jan. 25


Get out your running shoes for the 46th International Road of Life Marathon. Dedicated to the end of the blockade, three runs are offered — 5, 21 and 42 kilometer runs — starting in different places outside the city. Busses leave from 13/1 Arsenalnaya Naberezhny at 8 a.m. but check complete details and registration fees on www.newrunners.ru/race/doroga-zhizni-2015



If you are planning a wedding, head over to the Azimut Hotel, 43/1 Lermontovsky Prospekt from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The day includes live music, free dance classes and vendors selling wedding dresses, accessories, cakes and services to help make your special day perfect. Admission is free.



Monday, Jan. 26


Feeling stressed by the crisis? The Northwest Coach University at 3 Ulitsa Vostsstanaya is hosting a master class by lifecoach Tatiana Almazova. She will shed light on the coaching process, the usefulness of coaching during times of economic downturn and how coaching can improve your career and business prospects. The event starts at 7 p.m. and admission is free. Pre-register by calling 424 3700.



Discover the State Hermitage Museum's collection of English painting at a lecture by art historian Yelizaveta Renne at the Prince Galitzine Library, 46 Nab. Reki Fontanki. The event starts at 6 p.m. and the lecture will be followed by a concert of arias, songs and duets by English composer Henry Purcell. The event is free of charge.



Tuesday, Jan. 27


Celebrate the 71st anniversary of the end of the Siege of Leningrad on Palace Square with a free concert at 7 p.m. Listen to WWII-era songs and the poetry of Olga Bergholz while you peruse outdoor exhibitions dedicated to life during wartime. The event is capped off by a fireworks display at 9 p.m.



Stop by the Lexica School of Foreign Languages at 73 Ligovsky Prospekt from now until Friday for a free English lesson. The classes start at 7 p.m. and cover all levels, from Beginner to Advanced. Registration by telephone on 7641692 and a desire to improve your skills are the only prerequisites.







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