Chechnya branch of Zhirinovsky party to disband itself

The branch in Chechnya of Russia's Liberal Democratic Party (LDPR) said on Sunday that it was disbanding itself after a television program on Thursday in which LDPR leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky made judgments about North Caucasus terrorism.

"It defies the democratic principles that underlie Russian statehood. For this reason, we are leaving the LDPR and putting an end to the activities of this party on the territory of the Chechen Republic," the branch said in a statement made available to Interfax.

"We deem it impossible to remain members of a party that is led by a politician who has compromised himself by espousing fascist ideology," branch coordinator A. Shamsadov said.

The branch said Thursday's "Poyedinok [Duel]" program on Rossiya 1 television had left it with "a very bitter aftertaste."

"The trouble is not only that the Liberal Democratic leader sank to the level of fascist and Ku Klux Klan ideology. Nobody would have cared about his personal racial views if there hadn't been one 'but,'" the statement said. "Ideas that were extremist in form and content were preached via a federal channel by a federal-level politician. And this was happening in our multiethnic and multireligious country as well!"

Chechen members of the LDPR were shocked that a deputy chairman of the Sate Duma "was yelling from the screen for the entire country to hear that terrorism in the North Caucasus is a direct consequence of a high birth rate, which should be limited artificially, and that the region should be cordoned off with barbed wire," the statement said.

"It is our principle that no one in their sound mind, no true citizen and patriot of Russia can support slogans that sow ethnic strife and advocate limiting the rights of millions of citizens of Russia living in the Caucasus," it said.

The branch urged "all regional branches of the LDPR to follow our example" and called on "all Russian citizens to never vote for this party, which has discredited itself by attempts to fan ethnic conflicts and plunge our country into an abyss of hate and barbarity."

In a radio program earlier on Sunday, Zhirinovsky said his statements on Thursday reflected his personal position on terrorism and that he wasn't trying to force it on anyone.

"Did I harm anyone in the street? I spoke about a program of fighting terror that is being implemented across the world. Any attempt to prevent someone from stating their position holds no water. Do I demand that my position should be forced on anyone? I was asked a question, and I answered," Zhirinovsky told the Komsomolskaya Pravda radio.

"I'm not standing in the street and telling people, let's do this. What do courts have to do with it? Okay, let's suspend the constitution then - there'll be a dictatorship, a rigorous regime. I'll be happy to support it. And everyone will be silent. Because there will always be a position that someone dislikes," he said.

He claimed that 90 percent of Russians shared his position on North Caucasus terrorism.

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