The leader of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR), Vladimir Zhirinovsky, has provoked a scandal on the basis of interethnic relations. The Kommersant daily reports that members of the party in the Chechen Republic are indignant at anti-Caucasian statements made by Vladimir Zhirinovsky in the Poyedikok (Duel) programme on the Rossiya 1 TV channel aired on October 24 in which he suggested to limit births in the North Caucasus, as well as to stop the migration of people from there, building “barbed wire” fences around the territory.
The Chechen branch of the Liberal Democratic Party on Sunday announced the termination of its activities: because of the “anti-Caucasian statements” made by Vladimir Zhirinovsky. The local Liberal Democrats made a decision to surrender en bloc their membership cards. The LDPR leadership has stated that the party has not received any official statements.
“We cannot agree with and accept those terrible, in essence, fascist statements,” head of the Chechen branch of the Liberal Democratic Party Adlan Shamsadov told the newspaper.
Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov stated: “I know that the country’s President Vladimir Putin will have no one ever unleashing ethnic and religious conflicts,” Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper quotes him.
According to vice speaker of the State Duma from LDPR Igor Lebedev (Zhirinovsky's son), the party has not received “any statements” from the Chechen branch.
Chechen head Ramzan Kadyrov has previously demanded to bring to justice the leader of the Liberal Democratic Party. The head of the State Duma Committee on Nationalities, Gadzhimet Safaraliyev, believes that Vladimir Zhirinovsky should at least by deprived of the right to speak in the lower house for a period of up to six months. He has already written a letter to Duma speaker Sergei Naryshkin with a request to take action; he also intends to apply to the Duma commission on ethics and to the Prosecutor General’s Office. As for the LDPR leader, he says that he has only expressed a view, and “there is no need to run for the investigator because of this. Had we proposed to pass the law, only then there would be something to discuss.”
Expert of the Moscow Carnegie Centre Alexei Malashenko believes that by such declarations Vladimir Zhirinovsky is trying to gain popularity. According to him, although the party is “losing points” among the Chechen electorate, the leader of the Liberal Democratic Party “understands that he already has no chances to poll much votes there (at the State Duma elections in 2011 the party won 0.02% of votes in the republic).”