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Russian politician calls for imposing ban on discussion of ethnic tensions

November 01, 2013, 15:03 UTC+3
Zhirinovskiy: controversy fuels passions prompting people to say things that other people may dislike
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Photo ITAR-TASS/ Alexandra Mudratz

Photo ITAR-TASS/ Alexandra Mudratz

MOSCOW, November 1 (Itar-Tass) - Leader of Russia’s Liberal Democratic Party /LDPR/ Vladimir Zhirinovsky has come up with a proposal to impose censorship on the issues of inter-ethnic relations and tensions and to ban their public discussion altogether.

“Why do they put up the problem of inter-ethnic relations and raise polemics around them?” Zhirinovsky said Wednesday as he spoke at a discussion club in the State Duma, the lower house of parliament. “Polemics whips up the passions prompting people to say things that other people may dislike.”

He rebuked the mass media of “hunting out highly sensitive problems” and “what we get as a result is violence and commotion.”

“Why do you push these problems into limelight and why does the government allow the hot-tempered discussions of this kind?” Zhirinovsky said. “We really need censorship in this sphere.”

His own claims that he made in the course of a highly popular televised show ‘The Duel’ October 24 provoked an angry reaction in different agencies of power and parts of the country, and especially in North Caucasus.

At one point of his debate with the conservative political analyst Maksim Shevchenko, Zhirinovsky proposed among other things to impose a ban on migrations of people originating from North Caucasus to other regions of Russia, to fence the territory off with barbed wire and to introduce measures that would reduce childbirth there.

In response, Sergei Mitrokhin, the leader of the liberal Yabloko party, filed a query with the Investigations Committee demanding to bring Zhirinovsky to account. The query said the LDPR leader, who is known for his flamboyance and outlandish colorful utterances, had said the things clearly falling under the clause on “fomenting ethnic hatred and/or strife.”

Chechnya’s President Ramzan Kadyrov said on his official web page that he was bewildered by the reaction of State Duma deputies to Zhirinovsky’s conduct, as they clearly admitted a behavior of that kind.

A source in the Duma told Itar-Tass earlier this week the heads of parliamentary factions would discuss the situation around Zhirinovsky’s statements and would try and find the ways of settling the conflict they had sparked off.

MP Gadjimet Safaraliyev representing Dagestan filed a query with the Office of the Prosecutor General asking to assess a possible presence of extremism in them.

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