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Zhirinovsky tones down rhetoric at council session

Published Apr. 13, 1994|Updated Oct. 6, 2005

Russian ultra-nationalist leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky again attacked the West at the Council of Europe on Tuesday, but in unusually meek style hours after France warned him not to repeat extreme statements.

The foreign ministry said his outbursts Monday were unacceptable. It implicitly threatened expulsion by reminding him of the terms of his visa, which restricted him to Strasbourg to attend the council and forbade inflammatory remarks.

Zhirinovsky maintained a moderate tone throughout a rambling contribution to a debate on the right to political asylum.

He said the West had provoked a flood of asylum-seekers from Eastern Europe by trying to impose capitalism on them. Monday he accused the West of installing communism in the East.

"The governments of Western Europe must take their share of responsibility for installing regimes which are not inherent to our countries," he said.

"In the past we heard Western Europe applaud democracy in Eastern Europe. But look what that led to. Thousands of refugees and all the consequences that came with them," he said. "Now Western Europe is closing its doors."

On Monday Zhirinovsky urged Russia to bomb NATO airbases in retaliation for NATO air strikes against Bosnian Serbs, and he delivered a vitriolic tirade against the "losers" in the parliamentary assembly of the council he was addressing.

The head of the 18-member Russian delegation distanced himself from Zhirinovsky's antics and from his anti-western comments Monday.

At a news conference Tuesday, Vladimir Shumeiko said Zhirinovsky was out of touch with most Russians, who want peaceful relations with the rest of Europe.

Russia is awaiting membership in the 32-nation council, which strives for European integration.

Zhirinovsky told the assembly Monday that if he became president of Russia, he would take his country out of the organization, adding that "the West would not succeed in pushing (Russia) backward."

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