Absolute Zhirinovsky: A Transparent View of the Distinguished Russian Statesman

Graham Fraser, Author, George Lancelle, Author, Graham Frazer, Author Penguin Books $7.95 (224p) ISBN 978-0-14-024339-0
Readers who peruse only the bold-faced utterances of the founder of Russia's Liberal Democratic Party might come away feeling reassured. Vladmimir Wolfovich Zhirinovsky is clearly nuts. A half-Jewish anti-Semite who blames Jews for Marx, Lenin, Communism and the decline of Russia, he hopes to become Russia's president. Then he could surround Japan and ``if they so much as cheeped, I would nuke them.'' He would also reappropriate Alaska, bury nuclear waste around the borders of Russia to undermine the health of truculent neighbors (or, alternately, just shoot them all) and destroy pretty much any Moslem save Saddam Hussein. The problem is that the authors, both pseudonymous journalists, have put his sayings in context, thereby making it clear that his rhetoric is like a dog whistle: Westerners may not be able to hear it but it resonates in the Russian soul. Materialism and rationalism, two of the great givens of Western attitudes are approached with greater skepticism by Zhirinovsky's countrymen, who also share his assumptions about the great unpaid debt the West owes to Russia for having stopped Eastern invaders. Even more frightening, note the authors, is that the Russians have a long tradition of mad rulers and their strong support of Zhirinovsky's party in 1993 proves it's one tradition they uphold. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 07/04/1994
Release date: 07/01/1994
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