Vladimir Zhirinovsky insists that doctors have told him that Hillary is suffering from something much worse than pneumonia, that she has a serious chronic illness... He ridicules the idea that people believe the pneumonia story.
This post first appeared on Russia Insider
One of Russia's most popular, prominent and visible politicians, conservative nationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky, roundly ridiculed Hillary Clinton on a major talk show Monday evening, accusing her of being completely unfit to become president, while praising Donald Trump.
He insisted that leading doctors from "various countries" had "confirmed" to him that she has a very serious chronic illness, and that her excuse of having pneumonia was a lot of nonsense.
Russia Insider has been covering Hillary's health collapse closely, and we have argued that the most likely case, based on mounting public evidence, is that she has Parkinson's disease. The article features two detailed videos by an American doctor presenting very convincing evidence that Hillary is suffering from Parkinsons.
Pointing out that she had a major collapse on Sunday, he bellowed to an applauding studio audience:
"A person like that shouldn't be allowed to be the manager of a bathhouse (banya)!, much less run a country!".
Zhirinovsky's comic timing is hard to convey in text, so we highly recommend watching the video - it is very entertaining, and shows how theatrical Russian politics are.
He argued that she was a bitter, angry, unstable woman, and that she would rush to war with Russia, and that putting her in charge of a nuclear superpower was the height of stupidity:
"What if she has to decide - to bomb or not to bomb? And at that moment she gets the shakes!?", he roared to a laughing audience. "And then falls down!? passes out!?" - he continued. "What if she presses the wrong button!" bobbing his head, mimicking Hillary falling on the nuclear command codes.
Pointing at a photo of Hillary looking angry he shouted: "look at her! ... In America they call her a witch!, - Hey, it's not me sayin' it ... Americans say this! ... She's a witch! Look at her! ... We need Trump! Trump! That's what we have to fight for!"
He went on to ridicule the other panelists were accepting the idea that Hillary only had pneumonia insisting that it was much more grave than that, shouting at them:
"Nonsense! She didn't slip! Her brain switched off! Give me a break! They had to CARRY a presidential candidate to her van! What the heck?! She sneezes?, - no big deal. She coughs? - that's OK too, But she passed out!! In broad daylight!! In the middle of her work day!! A presidential candidate passes out!"
"Pneumonia is only a symptom of a much worse sickness she is suffering from! She didn't just catch a cold and get pneumonia! Its 80 degrees in New York! You could go swimming! It's a symptom of some very serious diseases, of which she has several! She shouldn't be hiding this! She should tell the whole world the truth! ... You guys are being way too kind to her, too much sympathy...! What the heck! Is she your next door neighbor at your dacha!!!? (summer home) (laughter) She'll press that nuclear button! - She'll blow you all to Kingdom Come!"
Here is one of the videos from our article cited above, making the case that Hillary has Parkinson's. It is this sort of evidence that Zhirinovsky is talking about:
Towards the end of the show, the audience was asked to vote on whether they thought that Hillary's collapse would cost her the election. Zhirinovsky exhorted the audience to vote yes, shouting again that Hillary was a witch, calling her a "vicious snake" and when 67% did so, he was delighted. "Victory!" he cried happily.
Throughout the show he lavished praise on Trump, approvingly pointing to a picture of Trump looking happy and kind, shouting:
"Look, just look at him! It will be a better world! His victory will be a great thing for America, for the whole world, for humanity!"
At one point he argued that Hillary is bitter at the whole world because her husband cheated on her with Monica Lewinsky, and that she would gladly blow the whole world up, just to get her revenge on everyone. He also argued that if she has a chronic illness, it is affecting her personality, making her nasty and vengeful.
Zhirinovsky has been a force in Russian politics since 1991. In 1993 his party got 23% of the vote. He has been a multiple presidential candidate and twice served as deputy head of the Russian Duma (parliament). He is expected to do very well in Russia's elections on Sunday, due to the populist and nationalistic fervor sweeping the country.
Zhirinovsky's influence and popularity in fact far exceed his national poll numbers. For one thing, his support is huge in the provinces. In 1993, his best year, his party came in first place in 64 of the 87 regions of Russia.
But more importantly, due to his entertaining style, he is by far the most popular guest on the nation's top political talk shows, on which he is omnipresent. This gives him a powerful pulpit from which to push his issues.
When he entered the TV studio for this show, the large studio audience spontaneously stood up and gave him a standing ovation.
Here is a video of the entire one-hour show (Russian only):
Russia Insider has an article up today by our contributor, Gilbert Doctorow, about the effect of this populism on US-Russian relations, where he explains the Zhirinovsky phenomenon in detail:
In what little exposure US media has given Vladimir Zhirinovsky in the past, Western readers will assume that he is just a buffoon who has served the Kremlin’s interests by drawing nationalists away from the Communists and so reducing its threat. However, my reading of Zhirinovsky, including from seeing and sparring with him up close, as I will describe below, is that his buffoonery has been as calculated as Donald Trump’s. Playing the clown and wearing outlandish bright red sports jackets on air spared Zhirinovsky from being taken too seriously by the Establishment even as he delivered below the belt punches against the powers that be.
In a feature television program celebrating his 70th birthday in July, Zhirinovsky made it clear that in his 27 years in parliament he has seen it all, understands very well how the Kremlin has maintained power by one dirty trick after another. In particular, he explained to the Pervy Kanal presenter journalist Vladimir Soloviev how the single-mandate scheme which is being used in 2016 to complement the party list system of electing Duma deputies gives an unfair advantage to United Russia. The scheme, which was taken from practices in some West European democracies, has been popularized as a means of bringing into parliament at least some deputies who are well known and dedicated to the district that elects them. But since United Russia has more candidates with more experience in power across the country, it can profit best from this scheme.
In the full page advertisement-campaign manifesto of LDPR in the same aforementioned weekend issue of Rossiiskaya Gazeta, Zhirinovsky and his associates denounce another feature of this year’s national elections: the appearance on the ballot of a half-dozen ersatz parties, parties that long ago combined forces and disappeared as separate entities. Zhirinovsky is calling them “subsidiaries” of United Russia, launched solely for the purpose of sopping up protest votes that otherwise might go to the Duma parties like his own.
It is to be expected that there will be no vote-rigging or other illegal abuses in Sunday’s national elections such as set off the dramatic protests during the last Duma elections in December 2011. The tricks that Zhirinovsky is denouncing are legal even if they are unethical. They are no different from what goes on in mature democracies like the USA (gerrymandering, for example) for the purpose of ‘managed democracy,’ which is by no means a made-in-Russia concept.
The astute critique of the Russian elites in power which Zhirinovsky puts forth underlines the justified fear of United Russia that it will lose control of parliament. Meanwhile, Zhirinovsky has changed his wardrobe to a classy business suit and changed his demeanor to almost calm, measured speech as I saw two days ago when we were both took part in the Pervy Kanal’s leading political talk show “Sunday Evening with Vladimir Soloviev.” This was my second chance to observe him up close in the past 4 months and the difference was palpable. You could sense that he feels power within reach and is hoping for a ministerial portfolio in the new post-election government.
A good showing for Zhirinovsky’s party on September 18th and demotion to minority party for United Russia may well mean the renunciation of lingering hopes of getting along with, being buddies with the USA. It could result in new marching orders for Sergey Lavrov, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and first talking partner of John Kerry.
This post first appeared on Russia Insider
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