Zhirinovsky: Russian Fascism and the Making of a Dictator

Vladimir Solovyov, Author, Catherine Fitzpatrick, Translator, Elena Klepikova, With
Vladimir Solovyov, Author, Catherine Fitzpatrick, Translator, Elena Klepikova, With Addison Wesley Publishing Company $24 (256p) ISBN 978-0-201-40948-2
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Influential right-wing Russian politician Vladimir Zhirinovsky (born in Kazakhstan) has promised that if he attains power he will restore the Russian empire to its 1913 borders, impose a new geopolitical partitioning of the world and persecute dissenters, Jews and other ethnic minorities. In this astute psychological profile, Zhirinovsky is shown to be highly impulsive--a dangerously driven personality who transformed the humiliations and sexual inadequacies of his youth into a thirst for revenge and open preaching of chauvinism and misogyny. The authors, a husband-and-wife team (Boris Yeltsin) based in New York City, document Zhirinovsky's close ties to the KGB since his youth and analyze the would-be dictator's appeal to a desperate, confused populace. They cogently argue that the Kremlin's brutal invasion of Chechnya and Yeltsin's recent clampdown on democratic reforms were partly due to direct pressure from Zhirinovsky, whose Liberal Democratic Party won 25% of the popular vote in 1993. While the authors' suggestions for neutralizing Zhirinovsky (e.g., assign him a ministerial post) may be wishful thinking, their urgent book sounds a warning to the West. Photos. (July)
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