by Vladimir Zhirinovsky ‧ RELEASE DATE: July 1, 1996
Depending on the outcome of the upcoming presidential elections in Russia, this political manifesto will prove either ridiculous or frightening. Zhirinovsky burst onto the political stage and into the world's focus when his wildly misnamed Liberal Democratic Party won 25 percent of the vote in Russian elections of December 1993. Since then, he has been called a populist, a demagogue, a rabid nationalist, a fascist, a neo-Stalinist; what is abundantly clear from this thin, rambling tract disguised as an autobiography is that he is all of the above and a megalomaniac as well. It is no coincidence that the title is a direct translation of Hitler's Mein Kampf, and as in that notorious work, another potential dictator lays out his master plan based on delusions, fantasies, irrational hatreds, and persecution-mania. Zhirinovsky wallows in bathos as he portrays himself (a Russian) as a victim of ethnic nationalism in the former Soviet Union. After a stint in the Institute of Oriental Languages in Moscow and a career as legal counsel for the Mir Publishing House, Zhirinovsky entered politics. Most of this short book describes a geopolitical vision containing equal parts banalities, clichâ€šs, and outrageous demands, the key being Russia's ""bid for the South."" According to Zhirinovsky, Russia must expand its territory to the Indian Ocean and Mediterranean Sea for the benefit to all humankind. In the process, Iran, Afghanistan, and Turkey will have to be dismembered. Another prescription in his global vision calls for a rapid-action force of Russians, Chinese, and Germans to keep the peace in Eurasia. He casts himself in the role of savior and martyr, echoing Nazi demands for Lebensraum, or ""living space."" Fantasy, utopia, and apocalyptic visions combine in a frightening call to rearrange borders and resurrect the Russian Empire, including demands that the USA return Alaska. If Zhirinovsky does well in upcoming elections, the West and the world will have to deal with yet another fanatical nationalist whose grip on reality is tenuous at best.
Pub Date: July 1, 1996
Page Count: 304
Review Posted Online: N/A
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1996
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