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Biography of Russian presidential candidate Vladimir Zhirinovsky

The politician speaks English, French, German and Turkish
Vladimir Zhirinovsky Vladimir Gerdo/TASS
Vladimir Zhirinovsky
© Vladimir Gerdo/TASS

MOSCOW, March 16. /TASS/. Russia will hold its presidential elections on Sunday, March 18. Eight candidates are running for the highest office in the Russian Federation. Among them is Vladimir Zhirinovsky, the longtime leader of the Liberal-Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR).

Vladimir Zhirinovsky was born in the city of Alma-Ata of the then Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic (currently the Republic of Kazakhstan) on April 25, 1946.

In 1970 he graduated from the history and philology department of the Institute of Oriental Languages (starting from 1972 the Institute of Asia and Africa Studies). Specialty - Turkey and Turkish Language.

In 1977 he graduated from the evening instruction branch of the Department of Law at Moscow State University.

Dr. Sc. (Philosophy). On April 24, 1998 he defended a doctoral dissertation entitled The Past, Present and Future of the Russian Nation (The Russian Question: Socio-Philosophical Analysis) at the Moscow State University.

In 1969 Zhirinovsky underwent internship as a translator/interpreter in Turkey at foreign trade offices of the USSR State Committee for External Economic Ties.

In 1970-1972 he served in the Soviet Army.

In 1975-1977 he was a foreign students relations official at the dean’s office of the department of economics of the Higher School of Trade Union movement.

In 1977-1983 Zhirinovsky worked at the Foreign Legal Collegium (an organization that provided legal aid for Soviet citizens and organizations in foreign civil cases) of the USSR Ministry of Justice.

In Decembe 1989 he participated in a meeting of the initiative group for setting up the Liberal Democratic Party of the Soviet Union (LDPSU). The LDPSU platform incorporated the Program of the Social-Democratic Party of Russia, which Vladimir Zhirinovsky drafted earlier.

The LDPSU’s constituent congress took place in Moscow on March 31, 1990. Zhirinovsky was elected the party’s leader to have retained the post for 27 years running. In April 1992, the LDPSU was reformed into the all-Russia socio-political organization Liberal-Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR) and in December 2001 it obtained the status of a political party.

On June 12, 1991 he participated in Russia’s first presidential election to place third with 7.81% of the votes after the runner-up Nikolai Ryzhkov (16.85%) and front-runner Boris Yeltsin (57.3%).

In October 1993 supported Russian President Boris Yeltsin in his conflict with the Russian parliament, the Supreme Soviet.

Zhirinovsky took part in the Constitutional Conference of 1993 for drafting Russia’s new constitution.

He was a member of all seven State Dumas. He has been in the lower house of parliament since 1993. A member of the LDPR faction in the lower house of parliament.

On December 12, 1993 he was elected to Russia’s 1st State Duma from the LDPR.

On December 17, 1995 he was elected to the 2nd State Duma from the LDPR and took the position of the faction’s leader.

In 1996 Zhirinovsky participated in the June 16 Russian presidential election as one of the ten contenders for the post of the head of state to place fifth with 5.7% of the votes, failing to qualify for the runoff. On July, 3 Boris Yeltsin was elected president by a 53.82% majority vote.

On December 19, 1999 he was elected to the 3rd State Duma from the Zhirinovsky Bloc. The bloc was formed after the Central Election Commission refused to register the LDPR’s list, because some federal candidates presented wrong information about their property. In January 2000, Zhirinovsky was elected deputy of the State Duma speaker Gennady Seleznyov. His son, Igor Lebedev, became the leader of the LDPR faction in the State Duma.

On March 26, 2000 he participated in the Russian presidential election to receive 2.7% of the votes and place fifth among the eleven candidates. Russian Prime Minister, Acting President Vladimir Putin was elected the head of state by a 52.94% majority vote.

On December 7, 2003 and December 2, 2007 he was elected member of the 4th and 5th State Dumas. In 2003-2011 Zhirinovsky was one of the deputies of State Duma Speaker Boris Gryzlov.

On March 2, 2008 he participated in a presidential election for the fourth time to take third place (9.35%) among four candidates. Dmitry Medvedev was first (70.28%) and Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov, second (17.72%).

On December 4, 2011 he was elected member of the 6th State Duma from the LDPR (he was number one on the party’s list). In the State Duma Zhirinovsky led the LDPR faction.

On March 4, 2012 he participated in another presidential election alongside four other candidates to take fourth place. Vladimir Putin received 63.6% of the votes to be elected president.

On September 18, 2016 he was elected to the 7th State Duma on the LDPR list. He leads the party’s faction in the lower house of parliament.

On December 20, 2017 the LDPR congress unanimously nominated Zhirinovsky as its presidential candidate. The Russian Central Election Commission registered his candidacy on December 29, 2017.

Military rank - Colonel (retired). Honored Lawyer of Russia (2000).

Zhirinovsky is the author of more than 500 books and other publications.

He speaks English, French, German and Turkish.

In 1971 he married to Galina Lebedeva. Their son Igor Lebedev (born 1972) is a Russian State Duma member.