Russia’s opposition comes to blows

Everybody’s favorite Russian nationalist clown and Jewish anti-Semite Vladimir Zhirinovsky is at it again. The presidential candidate from the absurdly named Liberal Democratic Party began verbally and physically abusing the campaign manager of Democratic Party candidate Andrei Bogdanov. Zhirinovsky clearly didn’t realize he was still being filmed but the video of the incident (which includes ...

Everybody's favorite Russian nationalist clown and Jewish anti-Semite Vladimir Zhirinovsky is at it again. The presidential candidate from the absurdly named Liberal Democratic Party began verbally and physically abusing the campaign manager of Democratic Party candidate Andrei Bogdanov. Zhirinovsky clearly didn't realize he was still being filmed but the video of the incident (which includes Zhirinovsky saying that the aide should be taken outside and shot) was leaked to YouTube and is collected here with some of Zhirinovsky's other greatest hits of televised violence. My favorite part is the calm, bemused reaction of the debate's hosts. They've seen this before.

If you've never heard of Bogdanov -- who now plans to sue Zhirinovsky -- you're not alone. Of the three long-shot candidates challenging the annointed Dmitry Mevedev, Zhirinovsky, and Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov are fixtures of the Russian political scene, whereas the previously obscure Bogdanov is Russia's youngest-ever presidential candidate at 38. He is best known for his long hair and for running Russia's largest Masonic lodge. Neither of these characteristics are likely to endear him to Russian voters, and it seems awfully fishy that he managed to procure the 2 million signatures required to get on the ballot when former Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov was unable to pull off the same feat.

Of course, with an opposition consisting of three mediocre candidates embroiled in lawsuits and shoving matches, Putin's managed election seems to be proceeding exactly according to script.

Everybody’s favorite Russian nationalist clown and Jewish anti-Semite Vladimir Zhirinovsky is at it again. The presidential candidate from the absurdly named Liberal Democratic Party began verbally and physically abusing the campaign manager of Democratic Party candidate Andrei Bogdanov. Zhirinovsky clearly didn’t realize he was still being filmed but the video of the incident (which includes Zhirinovsky saying that the aide should be taken outside and shot) was leaked to YouTube and is collected here with some of Zhirinovsky’s other greatest hits of televised violence. My favorite part is the calm, bemused reaction of the debate’s hosts. They’ve seen this before.

If you’ve never heard of Bogdanov — who now plans to sue Zhirinovsky — you’re not alone. Of the three long-shot candidates challenging the annointed Dmitry Mevedev, Zhirinovsky, and Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov are fixtures of the Russian political scene, whereas the previously obscure Bogdanov is Russia’s youngest-ever presidential candidate at 38. He is best known for his long hair and for running Russia’s largest Masonic lodge. Neither of these characteristics are likely to endear him to Russian voters, and it seems awfully fishy that he managed to procure the 2 million signatures required to get on the ballot when former Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov was unable to pull off the same feat.

Of course, with an opposition consisting of three mediocre candidates embroiled in lawsuits and shoving matches, Putin’s managed election seems to be proceeding exactly according to script.

Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy  Twitter: @joshuakeating

Tag: Russia

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