Known for his nationalist tirades, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, who died Wednesday at 75, was a behemoth of Russian politics who skillfully kept his party afloat in the post-Soviet era, without ever angering Vladimir Putin.
At the head for more than 30 years of the Liberal-Democratic Party (LDPR), classified on the extreme right, he participated in almost all the presidential elections of modern Russia and his party has always been represented in local and national bodies, playing the role of loud opponent, but not rebellious.
It is his diatribes, warrior impulses, and improbable appearances that will remain in the memories of the Russians, such as the times when he threw a glass of water in a debate insulting his opponent, or fought in the Speaker of Parliament with a Member of Parliament.
One last prediction
His last stunt dates back to December 27, when he predicted that 2022 will not be a peaceful year, it will be the year when Russia becomes a power again , calling to wait until February 22 . Coincidence or not, the day before that day Vladimir Putin recognized the pro-Russian separatists of the Ukrainian Donbass, before bringing his troops into Ukraine on the 24th.
In 2014, he arrived in the hemicycle in military uniform and launched into an anti-Ukrainian tirade, a month after the annexation of Crimea by Moscow.
It was through such moments of spectacle politics that Zhirinovsky built his reputation, but he never opposed the Putin system of which he was in fact a nut.
Only the leader of Russia decides what will happen to the world in the next 10 to 15 years , he said again in April 2021, at the age of 75.
A few weeks later, he proposes to push back the age of majority to 30 years, because the Russians do not understand anything until 30 years old, they are children .
Xenophobia and authoritarianism
Born in 1946 in Kazakhstan, then a Soviet republic, Vladimir Zhirinovsky entered politics after studying language, philosophy and law, as well as military service in Tbilisi, Georgia. The region is then at a turning point in history.
Vladimir Putin was still only an adviser to the mayor of Saint Petersburg when the first outbursts of Zhirinovsky appeared on television, on the occasion of the Russian presidential election of 1991, shortly before the final dissolution of the USSR. , in which he finished in third place.
In a speech that has remained famous, he then castigates the loss of the Soviet republics that separated from Russia and promises to bring Russia back to its knees .
Created in 1989, his Liberal-Democratic Party bears a very bad name, being based on xenophobia, militarism, authoritarianism and the return of the many lost territories , including Alaska, sold by Russia to the United States in the tsarist era.
Three years later, he won his greatest political victory by winning 64 seats in Parliament, staggering Westerners, who were closely following the upheavals of Russian politics in the chaos of the post-Soviet years.
A controversial figure, his provocative nationalism then shocked part of the Russian population, as did his insults towards his detractors, his fights or his tirades against the United States, the Communists and the Jews, while acknowledging that his father was one.
Our scientists will slightly modify the gravitational field of the Earth and your country will be under water! , he still launches to the attention of the United States in a video of 2002, where he appears visibly tipsy.
For his supporters, he is on the contrary a skilful politician and charismatic orator, who knows how to play politics to recover the voices of those nostalgic for the USSR but also of those disappointed with the Communists, the Democrats and the Putin system.
For many observers, he was content to be a tool of the Kremlin to channel discontent.
When in 2020, LDPR governor Sergei Fourgal, who had beaten the Kremlin candidate in the elections, was arrested for a triple murder case denounced as political, Mr. Zhirinovsky raised his voice and threatened to leave Parliament with his entire faction.