close to Putin, a Covid denier, had predicted the date of the invasion in Ukraine-

He had been given up for dead so many times that MPs from his party had written a law to prohibit false news of his demise. When Putin came to power, they quickly got along: the portrait of the man who clears nationalism in Russia

He had been given up for dead so many times that MPs from his party had written a law to prohibit false news of his demise. Wednesday evening, Vladimir Zhirinovsky he’s really gone.

A character comes out of the scene who had his moment of glory in the nineties, but who until the end was able to count on a hard core of devotees for his personal and self-styled liberal party, who lived above all on his image as a tough and tough polemicist. often folkloric. Independent media obituaries recall this by often resorting to terms such as clownand there is no doubt that he belonged to the varied landscape of Russian eccentrics.

But Zhirinovsky was something more, and worse, than the politician who challenged the writer Limonov who managed to drain a bottle of vodka in one go, or who in a televised debate ridiculed the young Boris Nemstov who opposed Vladimir Putin (he was later killed in 2007) by throwing a glass full of orange juice in his face. The man who had prepared the manifesto for a social democratic party in 1989, but called it a liberal because it was starting to go out of fashion at the time, was the first to plant the seed of nationalism in a depressed, identity-crisis Russia.

In 1991, after having supported the bankrupt coup against Mikhail Gorbachev, he created a new image by promoting his own ethnic nationalism. They are surrounding us, she said. The West’s project is to hold us in the grip of the Chinese, Muslims, Germans and Baltics, to annihilate Russia within thirty years. At that time, his words earned him considerable personal popularity. In the 1993 parliamentary elections he obtained a sensational 23 percent, never even close to it. From then on, through a few changes of acronym, his party has always maintained the role of a fake opposition, holding a 7-8 percent that allowed him a personal survival based on bombastic declarations and on an increasingly unrestrained nationalism . In Moscow, St. Petersburg and in the big Russian cities, it has always achieved irrelevant percentages.

With his neo-imperialism, Zhirinosvky sought and found the
consensus in deep Russia
, in the remote provinces, among the less educated and less connected classes, more exposed to its suggestions. When Putin came to power, one of the first pieces of advice his advisors gave him was to take a th with him. They immediately got along well. Zhirinosvky bartered any possible form of opposition with some respect guaranteed to his men, Putin appropriated his slogans and his formula. The history of the self-styled Russian Liberal Party so far. His leader spent the last twenty years securing the necessary votes to enter the Duma, riding on his increasingly paroxysmal image, becoming an idol of the most extreme television with his outbursts. But he still won his cultural battle.

Today in Russia, starting with Putin, everyone talks like him. Nationalism was cleared of customs, becoming a watchword, an identity trait of the new Russia. At the end of last December he made his last speech in the Duma. Making fun of foreign states that worried about a possible Russian war against Ukraine, he said the invasion would take place at 4 am on February 22nd. He was just two days wrong. A few hours later, he was hospitalized. Fervent Covid denier, died of Covid at the age of 75, after three months of agony. The law that prohibited the spreading of false news about his health was approved on April 5. The day before he disappeared.

April 7, 2022 (change April 7, 2022 | 11:45 am)

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