Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Caucasus Report

Zhirinovsky Comments Trigger Outcry Across North Caucasus

Controversial Russian nationalist politician Vladimir Zhirinovsky
Controversial Russian nationalist politician Vladimir Zhirinovsky
Not for the first time, the chairman of the nationalist Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR) and Russian State Duma deputy speaker Vladimir Zhirinovsky has incurred the wrath of North Caucasus officials by making disparaging remarks about the region.

Speaking on a TV talk show late last month,  Zhirinovsky advocated  erecting a barbed wire fence to separate the North Caucasus from the rest of the Russian Federation and taking measures to reduce the birth rate there, which included imposing a financial penalty for the birth of a third child.

The parliaments of both Daghestan and Kabardino-Balkaria have addressed formal protests to the    Russian leadership; the Chechen parliament voted in an emergency session on October 26 to do so, but has apparently not yet approved any such statement.

Republic of Ingushetia head Yunus-Bek Yevkurov has not made any public comment, a failure noted by the opposition Mekhk Kkhel (shadow parliament).

The first regional official to condemn Zhirinovsky was Chechen Republic head Ramzan Kadyrov.

In an Instagram post on October 26, two days after the talk show in question, Kadyrov dismissed Zhirinovsky as "immoral and irresponsible"  and "a pitiful nonentity" motivated by hatred, not just for the peoples of the Caucasus, but the Russian people, too.

Speaking to journalists later the same day, Kadyrov expressed astonishment that State Duma deputies elected from the North Caucasus republics had not immediately condemned Zhirinovsky. He asked the Duma's Ethics Committee to assess the implications of Zhirinovsky’s "extremist" remarks.

Magomed Vakhayev (United Russia), who represents Chechnya in the State Duma, has since formally asked the Ethics Commission to determine whether Zhirinovsky's comments should qualify as extremist.

Meanwhile, the Chechen parliament met in an emergency session and unanimously approved a proposal by speaker Dukvakha Abdurakhmanov, a close Kadyrov associate, to lodge a formal protest with the State Duma.

Chechen lawmakers also resolved to draft individual appeals to Russian presidential administration head Sergei  Ivanov, North Caucasus Federal District head Aleksandr Khloponin, Prosecutor General Yury Chayka, Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev, Investigative Committee Chairman Aleksandr Bastrykin, and the heads of the State Duma factions, stressing that criminal charges of inciting interethnic hatred and calling for the destruction of Russian statehood should be brought against Zhirinovsky.

Abdurakhmanov, for his part, called for Zhirinovsky to be stripped of his deputy's mandate.

He said that, if doing so necessitates amending Russian legislation, the Chechen parliament is ready to draft the required legislative amendment and submit it to the Duma.

"We shall not calm down until [Vladimir]  Zhirinovsky is removed by legal means," Abdurakhmanov was quoted as saying.

At the same time, the Chechen chapter of the LDPR distanced itself from Zhirinovsky, and its members decided to collectively quit the party. Its leader, Adlan Shamsadov, explained that "we cannot agree with these nauseating and essentially fascist remarks." The party’s Moscow leadership expressed concern that Shamsadov may have made that statement under duress, however, and claimed that the LDPR's Chechen branch was still functioning.

It was only October 31 that the parliaments of Daghestan and Kabardino-Balkaria adopted statements condemning Zhirinovsky and demanding disciplinary action against him.

The reasons for that delay are not clear: It is conceivable that the Russian leadership has finally lost patience with Zhirinovsky and intends to discipline him, but did not want to do so solely in response to demands from Grozny so as not to substantiate the supposition that Kadyrov has already become the tail that wags the Kremlin dog.

The Kremlin may therefore have mobilized the parliaments in Makhachkala and Nalchik to issue comparable calls for action.

The Daghestan lawmakers' statement was addressed to Russian President Vladimir Putin and to the speakers of both chambers of the Russian parliament, Sergei Naryshkin and Valentina Matvienko. They called for Zhirinovsky to be dismissed from the post of Duma deputy speaker and stripped of his deputy’s mandate.

Echoing Kadyrov, Republic of Daghestan President Ramazan Abdulatipov, who addressed the parliament session, asked rhetorically why none of the other State Duma factions had called for Zhirinovsky to answer for his remarks before the law.

In fact, Yabloko faction head Sergei Mitrokhin had lambasted Zhirinovsky in an interview with the website on October 28.

The same day, the Kabardino-Balkaria Republic parliament adopted an appeal to State Duma speaker Naryshkin, Prosecutor-General  Chayka and Investigative Committee head Bastrykin to deliver a legal and political evaluation of Zhirinovsky’s remarks.

Oddly, the parliament  of the Republic of North Ossetia-Alania, which had appealed to then Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to rein in Zhirinovsky when the latter affirmed in January 2011 (on the same talk-show) that the residents of the Caucasus "don’t know how to work and don’t want to,"  remained silent on this occasion.

Nonetheless, Oleg Khatsayev, who represents North Ossetia in the Federation Council, formally called on the Prosecutor-General's office to rule whether Zhirinovsky's comments were extremist.

To date, the only senior Russian political figure to have expressed an opinion is North Caucasus Federal District head Aleksandr Khloponin. 

Khloponin branded Zhirinovsky's remarks "banal and cynical" and said he should be held responsible, without explaining how or by whom.
This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Jack from: US
November 06, 2013 23:35
does this outrage overshadow the glorious victories of clintons-led US government, allied with flourishing democracy of Saudi Arabia, in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and Syria?
Hillary Clinton is undoubtedly proud of her achievement in Libya where NATO-imposed democracy takes deep roots, as exemplified by daily shootings, kidnappings, and robberies by NATO-supported democratic and peaceful Sunni
Never mind that every day Hillary Clinton is crying her eyes out for the CIA operatives killed by evil Syrian people.
Her tears dry quickly as soon as she learns her Taliban friends killed several more US servicemen. After all, Taliban are good old friends and allies of Clintons.

by: Mamuka
November 07, 2013 00:46
Why give this idiot any attention or media coverage
In Response

by: Konstantin from: Los Angeles
November 07, 2013 15:50
Mamuka is right, Zhirinovsky as homosexual wants publicity,
Not unlike Western agenda to pervert East by homosexuality.
Russia tolerate him as old KGB asset of Russia impossibility
Putt together just few vulgar sentences sound grammatically.
Ethnic Russian, unlike Zhirinovsky, using only "Blya-Bly-uity".
It is also deliberate insult by race war of Russia - be vulgar.
Sure, overpopulation is Global problem , one of the horses
Of "Last Days", but not if Russia repopulate other's houses
To expand and breed Russians in non-Russian land "ugar"
Possess again Varaga-Prussaka, while insulting Caucasus.
In Response

by: Eugenio from: Vienna
November 07, 2013 21:17
Ah, Mamuka, it is obvious why such cheap US propaganda outlets as the RFE/RL give so much attention to such idiots as Zhiri. The purpose of doing so is simple: it contributes to the desperate efforts of the US govt to divert the attention of at least some people from the NSA-spying-related scandal that currently rages all over Europe and that led to a number of personalities prominent in Germany to issue a public appeal to the German govt to give asylum to Edward Snowden in Germany, so that he could testify to an investigative committee of the German Bundestag to help them grasp the scope of spying that the US govt was (and apparently is) engaged into in Germany and that involved (and propably involves) spying on the German Chancellor Frau Merkel.
All the free Europe is compeltely outraged about this and the RFE/RL as usually entertains us with stories about who said what in Russia.

by: Ray Finch from: Lawrence, KS
November 07, 2013 13:26
You might have mentioned that the program which hosted this debate (Duel), supporters of Zhirinovsky out-polled his rival (M. Shevchenko) by some 300%. As a Russian bell-weather, Zhirinovsky often reflects the prevailing mood of many Russians. The Kremlin runs a grave risk if it attempts to ‘discipline’ him.
In Response

by: Konstantin from: Los Angeles
November 08, 2013 16:35
It is what I said, most of Russians support breed
Ethnic Russians instead of other nations. To be fear,
Majority is relative. A third, like Varaga, are pogrom-wild,
Beat-oppress opposing third and last third, passive, geared
By ruling power and its apparatus of violence to keep quiet.
Instincts inflicted by lie of "threats" and "Breed-out" strong.

About This Blog

This blog presents analyst Liz Fuller's personal take on events in the region, following on from her work in the "RFE/RL Caucasus Report." It also aims, to borrow a metaphor from Tom de Waal, to act as a smoke detector, focusing attention on potential conflict situations and crises throughout the region. The views are the author's own and do not represent those of RFE/RL.