Press Conference with Zhirinovsky…

Official Kremlin Int’l News Broadcast
August 16, 2004 Monday


Moderator: Good day. Our guest today is State Duma deputy and vice
speaker of the Duma Vladimir Volfovich Zhirinovsky. The press
conference is devoted to the recent trip by Vladimir Volfovich to
Abkhazia. You know that the trip took place after Saakashvili’s
statement that he would shoot and sink boats with our tourists. And
immediately after the Duma went into recess, the only faction to go
to Abkhazia was the LDPR faction led by its leader. Why Vladimir
Volfovich felt it was necessary to go there, what he saw there, whom
he met there and what impressions he got from the trip he will now
tell you. And you are welcome with your questions.

Q: What are your main impressions of this trip? — (inaudible) —

Zhirinovsky: We had a long-standing invitation to visit Abkhazia. But
last year was election year and so we could not avail ourselves of
that invitation. The last time I was there was in November 1990, that
was still in the Soviet Union. And this time around it is summer and
vacation time and we went on a tour of our Black Sea holiday resorts
which took us to Anapa, Sochi and we also decided to go to Abkhazia.
We left Sochi by boat. This was the choice because it takes almost
six hours by car from Anapa to Sochi. And going by sea is always
better: it’s cool, the air is fresh and you can see a lot more. From
a car you can’t see much.

So, partly the motives are political because we hadn’t been there for
a long time, especially after the transformations of the USSR and
Georgia and Abkhazia of course is a seat of tensions connected with
the disintegration of Georgia. And the immediate political pretext
was the statement by the Georgian leadership that they are going to
use force if tourists go to Sukhumi by sea. Such statements are odd
and they may raise eyebrows and even indignation. Not a single leader
in the world has ever made such statements. Even the most abhorrent
and barbaric regimes always treat tourists well because tourists is
just a plus, and no minuses.

And we wanted to see for ourselves what the situation is in the
territorial waters of Abkhazia, Georgia, Russia, the Caucasus as a
whole, the holiday resorts. The impressions are very favorable. Even
we — and LDPR always pays particular attention to trouble spots, we
have gone to Yugoslavia, Transdniestria and Iraq — even we had an
impression that some kind of hostilities were still going on there.
Actually, there is peace and quiet, people live normally, everybody
works, all the sanatoria, guest houses and beaches are filled. The
entertainment industry is flourishing. You see all the traditional
things like speedboats and sea bicycles, “bananas”, horse riding,
tamed bears and birds. All the restaurants and cafes and discos. In
short, it’s business as usual, like many years ago.

Of course, in some parts of Abkhazia you see shattered buildings. In
fact, our visit coincided with the 12th anniversary of the liberation
of Abkhazia, of the end of their “patriotic war”. It was indeed a
patriotic war because they fought for their independence. Over its
history Abkhazia was independent and it fell under various
influences, but for 12 years now it has been an independent state.
And even though it hasn’t been recognized, the Soviet Union, too, was
unrecognized for a long time. The United States recognized us only in
1936 when Hitler came to power. Apparently, they were frightened that
they might find themselves face to face with him. So, the fact that a
state is not recognized doesn’t mean that such a state does not

It has all the trappings of a state, the president, the government,
the parliament, the heads of local administrations, everything
functions — the schools, hospitals, police, fire service. So, it’s a
normal state with all its attributes: the flag, the anthem. All the
institutions are working. The population is calm. There are no gunmen
in the streets, no one wears camouflage fatigues, all the trade
outlets work. Everything is normal and calm.

We met with the leadership of Abkhazia, with the vice presidents, the
prime minister, the parliament chairman and his deputies and the
members of parliament, the mayor of Sukhumi. Wherever we were there
were representatives of the administration and everywhere we heard
one sentence that etched itself on our minds: “Abkhazia has broken
away from Georgia for all time and it will never be with Georgia.”
Any options, but never with Georgia.

While in 1989-1990 there might still have been talk about some kind
of agreement and the division of powers, after that terrible war when
the “troops of the State Council” which was what they were called
because Georgia was in the process of disintegration, just as it is
now. Well, these “guards” burned and looted everything there, they
killed and raped and maimed many people. If the Tbilisi soldiers
thought that it was Georgia, they would never have behaved like this
for almost two years. They invaded on August 14, 1992 and it was only
a year and a half later that this terrible “patriotic war” ended. The
Abkhazians were fighting for their native land.

And if Georgia thought that it was part of the country, why did all
the Georgians leave? All the Georgians left with these troops.
Obviously, they left as occupiers. And by the way the claims that
there is a problem with refugees, the Georgians who left Sukhumi and
Abkhazia just returned to their homeland. In his time Beria forcibly
resettled them to Abkhazia. There was even an organization called
“Pereselenstroi” by analogy with GULAG. He set up such an
organization and he lured Georgians from remote Georgian villages in
order to observe demographic balance so as to get a pretext for
Georgianization of Abkhazia. This was done on the cultural front and
in terms of personnel.

In short, Abkhazia was fighting for its right to be an independent
state for a long time. It was not just a case of some individuals
quarrelling between themselves. This is a long-standing case of
historical hostility because the Abkhazian Kingdom was part of the
Russian Empire in its own right. It joined Russia in 1810. Six years
from now we will mark the 200th anniversary of Abkhazia’s voluntary
accession to the Russian Empire. And later Easter Georgia joined
Russia separately. And it too, when it entered, said it was for all
time. The Georgian tsar Georgy signed the so-called Georgian Treaty.
So, historically, legally, morally, economically and demographically
Abkhazia was and can be an independent state.

If you look at the ethnic aspect, Abkhazia is closer to our Adygians,
Kabardins, Balkarians, but certainly not Georgians. It’s like Russia
and the Baltics. We are Christians, but the Balts are a different
people altogether. They are Latvians, Lithuanians and Estonians. And
when they wanted to leave we did not hold them by force. We didn’t
want them to break away from the USSR.

Abkhazia is to Georgia what the Baltics are to the USSR. Totally
different populations and Abkhazians have always considered
themselves to be an oppressed nation. And that is how it was. But at
present they are happy. They live normal lives. There are no ethnic
problems. And they said when talking to me that an ethnic Russian
should perhaps be appointed as prime minister. If Abkhazia is a
multinational country, Abkhazians make a majority of the population
today, but there have lived lots of Russians, Armenians, Greeks,
Estonians and other nationalities there. And they are now even ready
to have a Russian prime minister of Abkhazia. This way they would
show their benevolence to Russia and those ethnic Russians still
living in Abkhazia. There are Russian parliament members there, and
even a vice speaker of parliament. So my impression was very good

The main thing was that our visit there was related to vacations. We
started in Anapa, the only major children’s resort. Then we moved to
Sochi, our main health resort, and then we visited Abkhazia —
Sukhumi, Novy Afon, Gudauta, Pitsunda, all of their major recreation
centers, Lake Ritsa. They are all well known tourist routes, which
have existed for two hundred years.

And their attitude to Russia and Russians is very good. They speak
Russian everywhere. Abkhazians only speak Abkhazian among themselves,
but the common language is Russian. And children in Abkhazia, brought
up in a new environment speak Russian very well. The Abkhazian
language uses the Russian alphabet. So my impression was very

Had it not been for destroyed buildings somewhere, I would have had
the impression that we visited a Soviet Abkhazia.

Naturally we do not fully understand the sanctions regime. Why have
sanctions, economic sanctions introduced against Abkhazia? Abkhazia
is a victim of aggression by Tbilisi, but the sanctions regime has
been effected against Abkhazia. I cannot understand this.

This obstructs normal navigation on the Black Sea, because an hour
away from Sukhumi and you enter the area which is not considers
Russia’s territorial waters. And it is similar when you go in the
direction of the Crimea. When you pass Anapa, there is Kerch and the
Crimea, territorial waters of yet another state. This certainly
impedes the development of navigation, tourism, business on the whole
of the Black Sea coast.

But despite all those problems, limitations, on the whole the entire
coast is in the state of recreation. It’s the peak of the season.
This year 500,000 tourists will visit that area. And some time ago
they started with 50,000. So the number of tourists has grown tenfold
over the past years. And in Soviet times, around 7 million people
passed their vacations there. So there is room for growth. They are
ready to build new hotels. They are waiting for investment, and our
business people could buy real estate very cheaply there now. They
could expand those facilities and increase the flow of tourists.

I cannot understand Saakashvili’s statement about holiday boats
moving from Sochi to Sukhumi. They can go there by other roads, round
the clock. There are lines there to enter Abkhazia, not far from
Adler, on the Psou River, the border bridge. The very word “border”
is unapplicable. Naturally you cannot see any border posts there.
This is all very conditional, it is a former administrative border
between the Krasnodar Territory and Abkhazia.

While staying in Abkhazia, we certainly did not feel as foreigners,
not even guests. We felt at home there. We should consider our whole
country, the Russian empire and the Soviet Union as our big Russian
home, and that is the Abkhazian apartment in that house, with windows
overlooking the Black Sea, the warm and pleasant sea.

It was very good there, very calm and very inexpensive for our
citizens. All those Maldives, Seychelles, Canaries, Cyprus — that is
very expensive for most Russian citizens. But the Black Sea,
especially Abkhazia, is the least expensive tourism. You can find
where to stay and you can get good nourishment, because they do not
import anything, they offer what they produce themselves. They have
animal breeding, dairy products, fruit. It’s all fresh and they
produce it themselves.

There is a warm sea, nearly 30 degrees Centigrade. That’s very good
for kids. There are vast empty areas on the coast. Those who like it,
those who want stay alone, those who like it to be quiet and calm —
when we were traveling from Anapa to Sochi, it’s all packed full,
including Anapa, Gelendzhik, Dzhubga, Lazarevskoye, everything. But
it is not so packed there. And there are lots of empty areas, where
people can recreate.

There is no political problem — actually there is a political
problem. There was a war. Georgia fell into pieces. It disintegrated
like Yugoslavia, like the Soviet Union. People of various
nationalities decided that they did not want to live in one state.
There have been lots of provocations, there have been lots of money,
there was corruption, there was the desire by ethnic elites to get
privileges for themselves. That is a natural process.

It happens to families sometimes that they cannot live together. They
create new families. For us Abkhazia is interesting not only because
it likes Russia and wants to stay with us. It may get an associated
status in the CIS or join a union state of Russia and Byelorussia.
Lots of options. They are ready to accept anything. The only thing
that they do not agree to is to return to Georgia’s fold. Tbilisi
should realize this and they cannot do anything by use of force.

But why should they stop tourists? I cannot understand Tbilisi’s
logic. They have not paid pensions to them. We have paid pensions to
our pensioners. Thousands of our pensioners live there, and our
pension agencies pay pensions to them. Why does not Tbilisi pay
pensions to them, if they regard them as part of Georgia? Let them
pay pensions in that case. But they would not. And they have not
financed anything there.

So there is no link with Georgia. On the contrary, they have wide
ties with Russia. There are lots of our business people there. Some
Muscovites buy houses, land plots there. That is, a normal economic,
tourist process, cultural process is under way. They held a chess
tournament at Sukhumi recently. Our chess players from various
Russian regions took part. So Abkhazia is ready for wide ties with

They would like their football team to play in our premier league or
in some other league, so it would take part in our championships, so
Abkhazians could compete with their colleagues in various kinds of
sports. They are ready to hold various festivals, festivities,
competitions. So there is nothing there but positive things.

And the psychological climate is also very pleasant, because they
welcome any progress in the development of relations with Russia.

Naturally there are some questions. They would like to have the
regime for entry to the Krasnodar Territory to be facilitated. They
want to have an opportunity to get Russian citizenship faster. On
August 10 this resumed, free registration of Russian citizenship.
They want credit and financial ties to be restored with the Central
Bank. They use the Russian ruble there. So they have all the
attributes of the Russian state there: the Russian language, the
Russian ruble, Russian tourists, Russian culture, Russian athletes,
Russian health farms. Several sanatoria there are still controlled by
Russia’s Defense Ministry, as they used to be in the past. Land plots
have been granted to it for eternal use.

So Tbilisi should not worry. Abkhazia lives calmly and normally. It
develops and I think that in the future decisions will be made on its
status. It will now live as it is for decades. This does happen in
the world. Countries live for 50-60 years before their status is
decided. International legal documents are then adopted. For example,
we do not have a peace treaty with Japan. But this does not mean that
we are at war with Japan. In legal terms, we are at war with Japan,
because we declared a war, but we have not signed a peace treaty so
far. We are still in a state of war, but we do not fight.

So, it’s the same here. If Tbilisi doesn’t want to recognize an
independent Abkhazia, let it be so. But Abkhazia is an independent
state and… It’s 12 years, and in another 30 years young Georgians
and Abkhazians will have grown up and they will come to their own
arrangement. But Tbilisi’s claims that the Abkhazian are an ancient
Georgian tribe — we might as well say that the Latvians are an
ancient Russian tribe. Because there are some Slavic words in the
Latvian language, it doesn’t prove anything.

So, the wish of the Abkhazian people to live as an independent state
in every respect — linguistically, culturally, historically,
legally, militarily — in every way. International law must be on the
side of the Abkhazians. If you proceed from the standards of NATO and
the US, if they backed the dismemberment of Yugoslavia into six or
seven states, they should have supported this too because it was the
same variant. And today Saakashvili is trying to a Georgian
Milosevic. He will shoot people, then he will sit in the Hague for
having issued his orders and decrees because what is happening is
violence, there are already casualties in South Ossetia. The
Saakashvili regime answers for this.

But if you look at history, then of course there have been a lot of
atrocities in a few months of occupation. They burned down whatever
they could. They struck at culture in the first place, that is extra
proof of evil intent. They deliberately smashed Abkhazian monuments,
burned an Abkhazian library, the university, the archives in order to
destroy any traces that prove that Abkhazia was a state in its own
right. And that is a telltale sign. And I am not speaking about the
violence against civilians and any other nationalities — Abkhazians
and Russians were killed — and Armenians and everyone who was there.
They were abducted, taken hostage and their property was taken away.

I have seen all this with my own eyes. I have heard it from refugees
who fled from Abkhazia. And now we spent several days there and we
have seen it with our own eyes. There are many Russian tourists, they
are relaxing, they are happy, because people are pleased to revisit
the places where they hadn’t been for a long time. And we too had
such a chance. After 14 years of separation our relations have been
restored. I think there will be more tourists every year. The
deputies from other factions can also go there and they will be
welcomed by the Abkhazian parliament and they will be able to rest
there. Perhaps, I should stop here, but in answering your question I
took the opportunity to cover some other questions and perhaps to
provoke some more.

Q: Can you see a situation when more than half of the citizens of
Abkhazia will obtain Russian citizenship?

Zhirinovsky: Already 60 percent of Abkhazian citizens have Russian
citizenship. And in the next year or two the absolute majority are
dreaming of becoming citizens of the Russian state.

Q: If it is an independent state, how can all its people become
Russian citizens?

Zhirinovsky: It indicates their love of Russia. Although they
declared independence, they dream of becoming citizens of Russia. In
this way they are displaying their love. Well, about 20 percent will
remain Abkhazian, they will be purely Abkhazian citizens. But the
trend is there, already 60 percent are Russian citizens. And the rest
are lining up. They want Russia to understand that they had not aimed
at destroying the USSR, they had come out against the breakup of the

And under the 1990 law On the Right of a Union Republic to Secede
from the USSR, it was expressly stated that if an autonomous republic
that is part of a union republic does not want to secede from the
USSR together with the union republic, it remains within the USSR. In
other words, they are following the law. Under the 1990 law, Abkhazia
chose not to break away from the USSR together with Georgia, and so
it is now automatically part of the USSR.

But the USSR does not exist, so, they found themselves in a kind of
limbo: territorially they are an independent state and as citizens
they consider themselves to be the citizens of the Russian Federation
which is the heir to the USSR. And they repeatedly send documents to
us asking that Abkhazia be included in the Russian Federation or that
a special status be conferred on Abkhazia, for example, an associated
member of the CIS or the Russian Federation. All this is possible, it
is realistic.

The Constitution of the Russian Federation allows of increasing the
number of the subjects of the Russian Federation and the Union State
of Russia-Byelorussia is open to any new member. So, everything will
depend on them. But in the meantime they just live peacefully and
they want as many tourists to come to Abkhazia as possible. And the
number of tourists has grown by ten times in as many years.

Q: Still, what are the chances that Russia — (inaudible) —

Zhirinovsky: I think the chances are good because Georgia is anxious
to be fully under NATO, under America. This is against the will of
the Georgian people and especially of the Abkhazians. So, the sooner
Tbilisi moves toward NATO, the faster the Abkhazians will move
towards Russia. Just like South Ossetia, Batumi did not want to
become somebody’s colony together with Tbilisi. Just as Dzhavakhetia
where the majority are Armenian.

If Georgia wants to follow international standards, it must first of
all allow Meskhetian Turks in. Turks used to live in Meskheti. There
are 100,000 of them. Let them solve that issue. They live here in
Russia but they have the right to return to their homeland. So, if
Georgians want their kin to return to other places of the former
Soviet Georgia, let them begin by allowing them into their own home.

So, neither Shevardnadze nor Saakashvili have acted in a way that
makes sense. Shevardnadze was an elderly man, he was 75, he knew that
one shouldn’t engage in saber-rattling, but Saakashvili is probably
too young to be the leader of Georgia and so he decided to some
saber-rattling. Although he himself has not served in the army, he
doesn’t know what army life. He is a Georgian Yavlinsky or a Georgian
Kostunica, or a Georgian Yushchenko. But Yavlinsky hasn’t been let
into the Kremlin, Yushchenko hasn’t yet been elected president of
Ukraine and most probably will not be, and Saakashvili made it
because he had American money behind him.

This velvet revolution was the most brazen overthrow of the regime.
He chased the president out of the parliament and declared himself
president. The elections, of course, were all rigged. So, there is no
question of a velvet revolution. It’s the right of the Abkhazians:
they want to live with Russia and to have the closest ties, they want
to be the citizens of Russia and they are entitled to that.

Q: And another question. If Georgia suddenly moves its troops into
Abkhazia, can Russia move its troops in, citing that 60 percent of
its people are Russian citizens?

Zhirinovsky: Yes, of course. It will be our duty to do so because
already tens of thousands of Russian citizens live on the territory
of Abkhazia, whatever its status may be, they are our pensioners, we
pay them pensions.

But there are peacekeeping forces there and the mandate of the
peacekeeping forces confers power on the commander, General Yevteyev.
And there are only two powers: to disarm any illegal arm units or
destroy them. So, if anyone encroaches on Abkhazia’s independence or
tries to perpetrate violent actions, these troops will be disarmed,
the weapons will be seized and they will be sent home. And if they
resist, they will be destroyed.

Another thing the Abkhazian side wants is for the peacekeepers’
mandate to cover not only the land, but also the sea. This was
somehow forgotten. There are territorial waters and they must be
patrolled by our ships. Several Russian naval vessels must be there
in order to keep the peace and protect democracy on the whole space:
on land and at sea. I think it will happen: our naval ships will
appear in the territorial waters of Abkhazia. In fact, at present
they are deployed in places that enable them to control the territory
and there are no armed units, no threats to the integrity of Abkhazia
and no threat of armed conflict. Peace and quiet, holiday season.

What is good about Abkhazia is that the holiday season last through
October and even November. I was there in November and it is warm in
Sochi, but Anapa is further to the north. But in Abkhazia the season
can be stretched to 8 months.

Q: Can you react to the statement by the US Defense Secretary
regarding the movement of NATO troops closer to the Russian borders?

Zhirinovsky: Well, this is what they have always dreamt of because
the Americans have never fought, they are afraid to fight. As for
putting their bases in various points on the planet, they have been
doing it for 60 years and they have practically occupied 150
countries, mostly by deploying their military bases in those

On the other hand, Western Europe is sick and tired of them. It is
like a gift to Western Europe for its good behavior during the past
50 years. For its pro-American course, and they are now trying to end
this occupation. Germany is actually still under occupation. US
troops are deployed there along with French, Dutch and British

So they will try to move troops from European, Western European
countries and deploy them in Eastern Europe, in Poland, the Czech
Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, Bulgaria — all those willing this, and
they will try to shift the burden of spending on them. This is a very
comfortable option — having an army financed by the country where
those troops are deployed. But this is not in our favor, because this
brings land troops closer to our borders.

The historic vector is the same. Napoleon also moved towards our
country. But he was more honest. He conquered Europe, declared a war
and crossed the border on June 12, 1812. In some respect Hitler was
also more frank. He invaded Europe, and Moscow knew that sooner or
later he will attack us. America follows suit. It is the third
crusade against Russia. The French, the Germans and the Americans.
The Americans want to do it using a more democratic variant,
gradually, via military bases, by replacing regimes.

It’s like with Saakashvili. They would also benefit if they managed
to install such a Saakashvili in Baku, in Yerevan, in Moldova, in
Ukraine and Byelorussia. They have a program for 20 years ahead. But
they will get stuck. Like Napoleon did and Hitler did. The Americans
will also get stuck because internal contradictions have aggravated.
The main thing is that the example of Iraq and Afghanistan shows that
they have been unable to do this: they cannot control their
territory, they have failed to succeed, there will be no election
there. The only thing that will happen is that the crime rate, terror
and drugs will grow.

But perhaps this is what they want. And one should not forget this.
When we weigh negative consequences for America’s foreign policy,
perhaps this is what they really want. They do not need a victory in
Iraq. They need a pretext so the world would ask the Americans to
stay, because otherwise no one knows what will happen there. So they
have intentionally created a situation under which they now act as
the United Nations. The United Nations has not made any decision yet
but they claim that they are the UN troops. They are ready to hand
over power to anyone. They have already handed power. Who to?
Puppets. Those the people do not want.

They now have reasons to surround Iran from Afghanistan. They do not
need Afghanistan. What they really wanted is blocking Iran from the
east, then from the west, via Georgia, Turkey, and from the south,
via Iraq. So it is the last country which irritates Israel and the
United States itself because it poses a certain military threat. And
then they will go farther — to the north, they seek to block Russia
from the west and the north, and, via China, the Far East.

This way they want to control the whole planet. They have done
everything purposefully. They have done it all right. Plus they skim
the cream from the whole planet. The best minds have come to their
country. Naturally the flow is not so substantial any longer. They
have now shifted to Meskheti Turks — this is not an elite certainly.
Still, they are as though spare parts for the population. But they
are Muslims and naturally they will not let all of them come there.
They have let about 500 people in, but they will not let others come
there. They already have 3 million Muslims there, and they do not
know what to do about that.

America replicates Napoleon’s advance to the east, then there was
Hitler. And they are now doing it themselves, doing it more
skillfully. Initially they arranged it all properly in the Far East,
in Korea, in Japan. Then they waged a war in Vietnam. Then
Afghanistan and the Balkans followed, and it’s now Iran’s turn. This
would lead to a logical end of the American empire. The American
empire has been disintegrating. This is the last step, closer and
closer to Russia and the end of the American empire.

Q: (Off mike.)

Zhirinovsky: By the strengthening of its military power. They marked
a jubilee, fifty years, in Novaya Zemlya. We have a testing ground
there, and we should resume tests of new weapons so everyone would
know and see that we have excelled them in technology terms, in
military aircraft.

The whole Europe cannot create a fighter plane. They have good
Mercedes cars and passenger airliners. But they cannot create
military aircraft in Europe. Our Sukhoi and MiG aircraft are the best
in the world. The same is in the space field. They can only continue
space research in collaboration with us. So while cooperating with
them we should bear in mind that America has ambitions to control the
world alone, but this is impossible.

It would be much better if there are four zones, four centers of
influence — Washington, Brussels, Moscow and Tokyo. So it is
necessary to divide the planet among the four: Japan would control
Asia, America would get the American continent, Brussels would have
Europe. Americans, as they are greedy, could also be given half of
Africa, half of the Middle East, let them get stuck there in the
sands, in the desert, let them be drowned in Middle Eastern oil. We
do not need other countries’ oil, other territories.

I think by 2030 the mankind will develop in line with this scenario.
Four individuals will decide the fate of the planet. The American
president, the high commissioner in Brussels, the Russian president,
and the Japanese prime minister.

For the time being China will be adopted to the G8, it would then be
followed by India, Brazil, to bring the number to 10-12. And then
that dozen would go to naught and it will be easy to come to terms
among four leaders. They would gather, the four of them, in Moscow,
in Washington, in Brussels, in Tokyo, discuss what velvet revolution
should be accomplished, where a new Saakashvili should be trained and
released to see whether or not he fits the role. If he fails, another
one should be released, a Yushchenko.

We will do the same in European countries, in Africa, elsewhere. We
have done that, and the Americans replicate. We invented what the
Americans are doing now. We invented concentration camps, and Hitler
then used our ideas. We invented imposing regimes, and the Americans
now replicate it. They follow our example.

Russia itself thought of political ideas. An experiment with
communism. The European Union today is like a stage in socialism:
they have one currency almost everywhere, they will soon have one
party, one religion and a common living standard for the population.
They have repeated what we were doing, even if in softer forms
adjusted to Europe. Because we have Asian influence.

Q: (Off mike.)

Zhirinovsky: Where should those weapons be used?

Q: In Abkhazia.

Zhirinovsky: In Abkhazia, like in Vietnam in the past.

Q: Yes, with your image, you managed to resolve half of our problems,
problems of our diplomacy and all Georgian diplomatic problems, if
they have diplomacy there. Why should you need this, if we leave
alone advertising? Have you discussed this with the Foreign Ministry?

Zhirinovsky: I have not agreed anything with anyone. I do not need to
do this. We are the country’s second most influential party after
United Russia and the most influential party among opposition
parties. We do not have any bosses. And I visited Abkhazia before the
Russian president or anyone else visited it. We have long established
friendly relationship with that area. Like with Transdniestria. And I
repeat, it’s been a long time since I visited it, I can pay a visit
there. Plus recreation. Plus I like sea cruises. Plus they invited
me. Why should not I go if they invite me? The sea in summer.

As for the possibility that the conflicts will develop the way it
happened in Vietnam, that is quite possible. We will be rivals in
some areas. We would benefit from developing new weapons, and
Americans would also benefit from doing this. And we need to test
them somewhere. So I think we will come to terms with the Americans.
We will never attack each other. But in some hot spots we will
support different regimes, and this will let us keep the balance. A
certain balance. When we need a certain individual to win in America,
we will play into their hands — so they would succeed in some hot
spot for the American public to see that. When we need the same, the
Americans will help us succeed somewhere, because it is hard to
attract people by economic promises alone. Some actions, mainly in
the field of foreign policy are needed. So, it will be sort of an
orchestra, a spectacle, and the main conductors will be sitting in
Washington, Brussels, Moscow and Tokyo. These will be the four main
conductors and the people will be like extras on a film set. But
there are of course some solo performers — Saakashvili and
Yushchenko are running errands for the director who tells them run
here, run there, say this, say that. But this is a natural process of
confrontations in some points on the planet.

In Iraq, well, let them be killed every day. We do not interfere, we
think they are wrong. This is our confrontation. Our confrontation
with Tbilisi is that we believe issues should not be settled by force
of arms. But they think that the territorial integrity of Georgia
should be preserved. But we believe that perhaps the territorial
integrity of the Soviet Union could have been preserved. Especially
since this is what the Helsinki Final Act of the CSCE says. At that
time they were in favor of preserving the territorial integrity of
the Soviet Union, but then they granted recognition to its breakaway
parts. Now they are for the preservation of the territorial integrity
of Georgia and in five years time they will recognize its breakaway
parts. It’s a normal process.

So, we should look forward to the creation of new states, as many as
300. In the next 20 years about 100 new states will appear on the
political map of the world: Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Karabakh, I
don’t know, Transdniestria and it will be the same all over the
world. Belgium will split up because they have the French language in
Flanders and the Flemish language in the Flemish part. So, there will
be a process of division and we will sometimes encourage it and
welcome it and sometimes oppose it. So, the whole planet is acting
out a play: communism, fascism, racism, democracy, reforms, press
freedom, no press freedom, jail, visiting a jail, releasing from
jail, the Olympic Games. That’s the way things are.

Q: Is the LDPR and its faction going to do anything, I mean regarding
the independence of Abkhazia?

Zhirinovsky: Of course. We had a resolution on August 5 on the
situation in Georgia and Transcaucasia, in South Ossetia and
Abkhazia. We proposed a number of measures that might help Abkhazia.
For example, deputy Ostrovsky contributed amendments to this
resolution, but they were turned down. Whenever there is a debate and
issues connected with Abkhazia crop up and the Duma and our Foreign
Ministry pass documents, we try to influence them in favor of
Abkhazia just as in Moldavia we are in favor of Transdniestria. This
is an honest and clean position.

Q: What is your thinking about elections in Ukraine and what is your

Zhirinovsky: Our position is against Yushchenko. As to which
candidate to back, we will decide later. The elections will be in
October. And anyway, support cannot be direct because Ukraine is not
today part of Russia. But the main thing is that Abkhazia too will
elect its president. We do not back anyone there because it is up to
them, but we are against a pro-Tbilisi president coming to power in
Abkhazia. We were against Saakashvili, although Shevardnadze was no
better, but he was softer and more calm than Saakashvili.

So, we are quick to express our position against Yushchenko and
against Saakashvili, and let the Georgians, the Abkhazians and
Ukrainians decide for themselves. I think if they decide against
Yushchenko, a pro-Moscow candidate will win. There can be only two
options: either a pro-Western one, Yushchenko, or a pro-Moscow one,
probably Yanukovich because the registration has finished.

Q: Does Russia and its Foreign Ministry have some program regarding

Zhirinovsky: Well, Georgia thinks that we have always backed the
Abkhazians. As early as 1989, Georgian nationalists, writers thought
that they could entertain imperial ambitions with regard to their
small peoples, but Moscow was not supposed to have any imperial
ambitions with regard to our small union republics. This is not
logical and it is a hindrance to them.

So, since 1989 we have been basically on the side of the autonomies
in those union republics which sought to break away from the USSR, in
the first place Georgia and then Moldavia, mainly Transdniestria.
Those were the two hot spots: Transdniestria, Abkhazia and South
Ossetia. I think the Foreign Ministry has sympathy with the
pro-Russian sentiments of the population in Abkhazia and South
Ossetia. After all, there are many diplomats who stick to the letter
of the law and since we have recognized Georgia, we should not, in
their opinion, in the opinion of some diplomats, the Foreign Ministry
openly expresses sympathy for other territories claimed by Tbilisi.

We, the LDPR, have our own position, we believe Abkhazia should be
recognized as an independent state and we should promote relations
with it. Especially since we are neighbors. It is not Chile or Cuba
or Mozambique or Angola or Vietnam. It is territory that can
practically be considered to be part of the Sochi area, further on
there is the Greater Sochi. At the same time one can respect the
Abkhazians with their culture, language and so on.

And it is very good for us. It’s the southern borders of the
Caucasus. Because if we lose the whole of Transcaucasia, the North
Caucasus will be in a difficult position because the whole territory
of Georgia will be used to provoke conflicts. We will get not one
Chechnya, but four or five and things will go from bad to worse.

So, from the historical point of view, from the military, demographic
and cultural point of view we should have relations with Abkhazia and
South Ossetia rather than with Georgia because Georgia has always
been against Russia. I served in the army there in the times before
Gorbachev, this was under Brezhnev in the 1970s and it was at the
time the only union republic from which there was an outflow of the
Russian population. This was under Soviet government. According to
all the censuses, the Russian population in Georgia was diminishing.
It was growing or it remained stable in all the other republics but
it was diminishing in Georgia. So, Georgia has always pursued an
anti-Russian policy. Regardless of perestroika, the Stalin or
Brezhnev regime, it has always been hostile. We shouldn’t admit it,
it was the tsar’s mistake, but a mistake made 200 years ago cannot be
rectified. But we should avoid mistakes in the future. So, our future
is to be friends with Abkhazia. And especially since it occupies the
best part of the former Georgia.

Q: What is the current state of the Abkhazian armed forces? It looks
as if Saakashvili is set to regain that part of Georgia by force
sooner or later. Will the Abkhazians be strong enough to stop his
offensive? Without Russian help.

Zhirinovsky: But one can look at it the other way: Will Georgia be
able to attack Abkhazia without US assistance? If Georgia attacks
Abkhazia with US assistance, Abkhazia should turn for help to Russia
and defend itself from Georgia with Russian help. This is what a
comrade said, Vietnamization. Only it’s the other way round. South
Vietnam was under the American flag and we were helping North
Vietnam. Now the US will be helping Northern Georgia and the Tbilisi
government and we will help Southern and Western Georgia as
represented by Abkhazia. So, Eastern Georgia is under the influence
of the US and Abkhazia is under the influence of Russia.

Q: If a conflict flares up, then surely both sides will —

Zhirinovsky: Military aid will come from both sides. And nothing will
happen because if the Abkhazians want to they can turn to their North
Caucasus brothers for help: the Adygians, Kabardinians, Balkarians,
the Karachais, the Circassians. It will be a battle of peoples and
Georgia will have a very hard time. Especially since in its time it
did seize and assimilate territories. Why were there militants in the
Pankisi Gorge? It used to be part of Chechnya, but Stalin gave it to
Georgia. He has given Abkhazia to Georgia. These are all hangovers of
Stalin’s strokes on the map of the world, on the map of the Soviet
Union. He bequeathed it to us.

After the 1917 revolution, Abkhazia was independent and it joined the
Soviet Union as the Abkhazian Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic…
Just an ordinary republic. It became autonomous and now it has again
become independent. So, there were various formats, but it was all
illegitimate with regard to Abkhazia. But the Soviet period is over,
the Russian Empire is gone and the Georgia imperial status must also
end. If we come out for democracy, then we must support the wish of
the Abkhazian people. It has already gained its freedom. We cannot
decide its destiny, the Abkhazians have decided their destiny. They
have restored their fate, because they have always been an
independent state that had nothing to do with Georgia.

Q: When there was the first war and the Abkhazians fought the
Georgians, the Chechens helped them and Shamil Basayev was on their
side. Now Maskhadov says that if Georgia again attacks Abkhazia, the
Chechen militants will help Saakashvili. How do you account for this?

Zhirinovsky: It just shows the true face of the remnants of
Maskhadov’s bands. They are fighting where they are paid. If
Saakashvili promises to pay them, they may fight for him. But
Saakashvili wouldn’t want it himself because if they help Georgia,
they will remain in Georgia and may at any time turn their weapons
against Saakashvili himself. So, Saakashvili will not call in
Chechens. He has no need to.

And in their mentality, religion, beliefs, language and culture the
Chechens are closer to the Abkhazians than the Georgians are. They
are one big family of Caucasus peoples. They are also close to
Albanian tribes which have reached as far as Europe and are now in
Albania and then there are Kosovar Albanians and so on. So, they are
ready to fight anywhere. Russians also fought on the side of Tbilisi
and other Russians fought on the side of Abkhazia. And what cause did
they die for? In 10 years, 100 peacekeepers died of whom 40 died at
the hands of bandits from Georgia. We are losing our soldiers there
today. It means that we have been losing four soldiers a year there.
It’s bad. But it’s still less than some other kind of war that might
happen if there are no peacekeepers. So, peacekeepers are performing
a good mission, but they must have more funding, more opportunities
so that their sphere of activities does not contract, and the naval
component should be added to the peacekeeping forces so that Russian
naval ships control the territorial waters of Abkhazia. Have I
answered all the questions?

Q: Could I ask a question that is not strictly within the declared

Zhirinovsky: Yes.

Q: (Inaudible).

Zhirinovsky: Let them lower the cut-off rate, the more parties, the
higher the level of democracy. But it’s about representation, not
decision-making. One can retain the five percent barrier and that
means there will be 5 or 6 parties in the Duma. But they will between
them have only 120 votes and most of the votes will still belong to
the majority party or whatever you call it. This is like the Japanese
parliament or the Italian parliament and so on.

Let it be so, we don’t mind. We may settle for a 10-percent barrier,
we are in favor of a two-party system. But other parties are weak and
they are advocating a reduction of the cut-off percentage from 7 to
5. Perhaps, it will enable these former or new democratic parties to
get some kind of representation. I think roughly the alignment in the
new Duma, from the new year, will be as follows: the majority party
(I do not name it) has 250 votes, the second largest party, I mean
the LDPR, may have 100-120 votes and four other parties — the CPRF,
the Rogozin team which is something like SPS or Yabloko, will have 20
votes each. That makes six parties.

But the decisions will be taken by the majority party with the
support of some other party which will have to back the majority
party sometimes because it abhors all the other parties such as the
CPRF, the Rogozin team or SPS or Yabloko. We choose the lesser of two
evils. All of them are bad, but United Russia is a little bit better
than the CPRF and the Rogozin team. So, we would rather cooperate
with them.

That would be the disposition in parliament. But the decisions will
be taken quickly mainly by two parties. One of them may be the LDPR
because over 15 years we have proved that we are viable, that we have
an influence and we have our own niche.

Our voters will not vote for United Russia or the CPRF or pro-
Western democrats. These are our voters, they have matured, they were
ten years old and today they are 25. They have passed through the
school studying the history of Russia and knowing that there exists
the LDPR. We could see it even in Abkhazia because people know us and
respect us and love us.

So, if we reduce the barrier to 5 percent and adopt the proportional
system to strengthen all the parties, including the majority party
and to rule out corruption in the regions and wrest deputies from the
influence of the governors, then the situation will be quite
acceptable. The Kremlin will have the necessary majority in the State
Duma and all the political forces will be represented in the Duma.
And let the democrats and the communists and all the rest coo. They
will have 100-120 votes and they won’t be able to force any decision,
but they will be represented. They will have a chance to say
something and to declare their position from time to time. But no
matter how they vote, they will never be able to cause any decision
to be taken. That is all. Exactly an hour.

Moderator: Thank you.

Zhirinovsky: Good bye.