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Duma Speaker Apologizes For Zhirinovsky Insults

Liberal Democratic Party leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky, wearing a military uniform, addresses a State Duma session in Moscow on April 15.
The speaker of Russia's State Duma has condemned as offensive recent behavior by eccentric ultranationalist lawmaker Vladimir Zhirinovsky.

A spokeswoman for Sergei Naryshkin, Yevgenia Chugunova, told reporters on April 18 that the Duma speaker wanted to apologize to journalists for Zhirinovsky's actions.

On April 18, while talking to journalists at the Duma, Zhirinovsky used vulgarities to verbally insult several reporters, including a pregnant woman.

Naryshkin said he had asked the Duma's ethics committee to deal with the situation.

The committee's deputy chairman, Andrei Andreyev, said a hearing into the incident will be held next week.
Zhirinovsky, the leader of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia, has often faced criticism for public statements considered to be xenophobic, sexist, or homophobic.

Just last month, he publically called for a letter in the Russian alphabet, the vowel "ы" -- a difficult-to-pronounce sound for nonnative Russian speakers usually transliterated simply as "y" in English, to be removed, calling it a "nasty Asiatic" import.

Speaking in the State Duma, Zhirinovsky said that the letter came to the Russian language from the Mongols and "only animals make this sound."

Beside the Russian and Belarussian Cyrillic alphabets, the letter also exists in most of the Turkic languages spoken in former Soviet republics, including Kazakh and Kyrgyz, which use the same alphabet.

A month before that, Zhirinovsky said that Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan should be grouped together as "the Central Asian Federal Region" and returned to the Russian Federation.

In the past, similar remarks by Zhirinovsky prompted Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan to temporarily bar him from entering the country.
Based on reporting by Interfax and ITAR-TASS