The far-right Russian pol love the idea of building walls and banning Muslims. He says he's fighting corruption, but excuses Trump's shady Russian connections.”>
MOSCOW Vladimir Zhirinovsky lately boasted of taking a DNA test to prove that hes related to Donald Trump. The 70 -year-old Russian right-wing nationalist and populist who founded the( not very) Liberal Democratic Party often is compared to the 70 -year-old American populist now slightly ahead in the contest to win presidency of the United States. Zhirinovsky is called a Russian Trump and Trump, at least in Russia, is labeled an American Zhirinovsky.
What similarities do Russians see in them? It could be their brash, fiery rhetoric, the roughness of their style, the way their faces distort with indignation, or, as one Russian pointed out, the way that spittle tends to build on the corners of their mouths.
Certainly they share an ability to feed the public with ferocity, and change their message as they find convenient. Depending on what tune he needed at any given moment in the political arena, Zhirnovsky can act as the Kremlins clown or as a pacify, even cold, opposition leader.
Now he is in this second mode.
In an exclusive interview with The Daily Beast, Zhirinovsky described his plan to fight organized
crime in Russia. He describes it as a web thats penetrated all law enforcement agencies and regional administrations, reaching all the way to the highest echelons of the Kremlins leadership.
The coordinated mafia is directly connected with country corruption, Zhirinovsky told The Daily Beast on
the way to a meeting with voters outside the Kremlins wall. So we need to get rid of it, as we did in
Smolensk, where the governor is our LDPR member and all his deputies are from parties other than United Russia, which is the party of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
If everybody, from a steam bath director to the president and police general have no ties with organized crime, there will no corruption, Zhirinovsky said. The veteran is part of the Duma, who was twice elected its deputy speaker, says he has a plan to fight corruption at the level of prosecutors, police and the FSB( the security service that succeeded the KGB ).
But wait a minute. If Zhirinovsky is sincere about fighting organized crime, how can he
be such a fan of Donald Trump, who has done business with humen reportedly linked to the Russian
mafia , notably Felix Sater and Tevfik Arif?
Zhirinovsky sighed at the issues to, paused, and then answered. There is an objective side of it: he did not know anybody in business, a foreigner go looking for connects, so they introduced him to bad guys, Zhirinovsky said. I might also get introduced to mafia. Recently I met with my voters in Bratsk and somebody sent a coded message to Moscow that Zhirinovsky was meeting with local criminal mob, with local bandits.
When it comes to geopolitics, Zhirinovksky likes to threaten Washington. In 2014 he devoted listeners an imaginative description of a Russian attack on the United States. One day Americans will wake up, and there will be no White Housesnow will cover all of America.
But when it comes to Trump, all that anti-Americanism seems to dissipate. The head of the State Dumas LDPR faction seems pleased to hear about any parallels between him and the U.S. Republican Partys presidential candidate.
Trump is a person whos close to me somehow, Zhirinovsky told The Daily Beast. I liked him the first time we had a short session in New York in 2002 he was normal, neither prim , nor prejudiced, Zhirinovsky recalled as he looked back on the session arranged by Russian diplomat Alexander Grachev.
To say something ultimately crazy and watch the reaction, to enjoy the unpunished freedom of insanity as if gauging how far they can go, is the common strategy of both men.
Trump and Zhirinovsky are twin brothers, representing the new popular tendency of nationalist leaders including[ Russian President Vladimir] Putin,[ Frances] Marine Le Pen,[ and Hungarys] Viktor Orbn, beloved by white middle class voters, who were not interested in politics before and now have been awakened by the radical far-right, says Dmitry Oreshkin, an independent Moscow-based political scientist.
Trump has suggested, famously, banning Muslims from entering the U.S. and constructing a wall on the border with Mexico. Zhirinovsky, who had been in big politics long before Trumphe ran for the Russian presidency in 1991 has stimulated much more aggressive ultranationalist statements.