Despite his long history of anti-Semitic statements, Russian ultranationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky enjoys belligerently proclaiming his neutral position toward the Jewish people.
But any ambiguity in his position disappeared last week, when Zhirinovsky blamed Jews for pushing Russians out of former Soviet republics.
“The orchestras playing the same song, `Russians get out!’ are being directed by the same conductors, the same provocateurs,” he said.
“The same provocateurs in Russia itself have persistently moved into the most prestigious and well-paid professions – scholars with grants, writers, composers, film directors, journalists and so on – the Jews.”
He also said that Jews dominate Russia’s “ministries, banks companies and so on.”
His statement received limited notice in the Russian media, but Zhirinovsky is starting to feel some heat for his outcries.
During parliament hearings last month, he called the head of Russian’s Federal Counterintelligence Service, Sergei Stepashin, an agent of the Mossad, Israel’s secret service. He also accused the Russian intelligence service of being “a branch of the CIA and Mossad.”
Now Stepashin is suing for libel.
A spokesman for the federal Counterintelligence Service, Vladimir Tomarovsky, told the Itar-Tass news agency that Zhirinovsky’s charges were “an offensive and completely groundless attack.”
Zhirinovsky’s anti-Semitic utterances are now often accompanied in the Russian media – as they are in the West – by references to an investigation earlier this year that found that Zhirinovsky may well be part Jewish himself, the son of a man named Volf Eidelshtein.