Mar 31, 2021
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Zhirinovsky: We don’t need the Senate!

In the photo: the building of the Federation Council of the Russian Federation

In the photo: the building of the Federation Council of the Russian Federation (Photo: Valery Sharifulin / TASS)

Leader of the Liberal Democratic Party Vladimir Zhirinovsky believes that the Federation Council should be abolished, and management in Russia should be made centralized. “The Federation Council is not needed at all. Russia is a unitary state, if we develop a federation, we are finished, Russians will be in the minority everywhere. We need a centralized state, it should be called simply “Russia”– said the politician who was always distinguished by extravagance at a round table in the State Duma.

But really – why not? It’s not a secret for anyone that now the Russian Senate is such a completely decorative body, a kind of sediment tank for downed political pilots, when retired governors or other officials sit there in silence and contentment for their days, receiving a very healthy salary at the ministerial level. Or are there people who feed Putin considers himself to be obliged to something – like, say, a senator Narusova, widow Anatoly Sobchak, teacher and mentor of the current Russian president, and the mother of the scandalous Ksyusha Sobchak

However, for Zhirinovsky, such political statements are commonplace. Earlier, Vladimir Volfovich had already proposed no less radical changes, in particular, a reduction in the term of office for all leaders and the system of government.

“A single form of dividing the country into regions – provinces with administrative boundaries. The head of state is the Supreme Ruler, ”he wrote in his Telegram channel in July 2019.

And here’s another initiative. The LDPR leader, as they say, is striving for change.

Director General of the Institute of Regional Problems Dmitry ZhuravlevCommenting on Zhirinovsky’s statement, he recalled the old Russian vaudeville “Lev Gurych Sinichkin”:

– For what he said, it is obvious. As Raisa Minichna Surmilova said: “Take me on stage, otherwise the audience will forget.” The fact that frankly no people have to be promoted to prominent places is a sign of the crisis of the genre.

In addition, Zhirinovsky always achieved his political popularity with extravagant statements. Nothing new happened to him.

And, finally, since Zhirinovsky has always done this, his electorate consists of those who consider such statements to be correct and reasonable. Others would not have voted for Zhirinovsky in 1993.

“SP”: – And if you still look at the meaning of what was said?

– This is old logic. He claims that Russia is a unitary state. This is not true. We live in the Russian Federation. That is, it is no longer unitary. Zhirinovsky argues that Russia is a unitary state because he wants to. In fact, he says that the federal form gives privileges to all nationalities, except for the Russians, because it gives them additional statehood.

Zhirinovsky says that the Russians do not have an independent republic, so all national republics should be made regions, perhaps. And then Russia will be a truly unitary state. Different peoples will live on the territory of the regions, but all regions will be the same. This is what he calls for, appealing to the pride of the Great Russians.

“SP”: – Then, probably, it is worth explaining what the Federation Council has to do with it.

– This is the Chamber of Regions, and the main principle of its formation is that there is an equal number of representatives from each region. But in the Duma it is not so – there by the number of inhabitants, by electoral districts. Here Zhirinovsky says that there is no need for regions with one deputy and two senators. This is exactly the case in many regions.

Sometimes it happens that there are senators in a region, and there is a deputy only because, according to the law, there should be one deputy per region, although there is not enough population for the district. According to the law, there should not be two regions in one district. There are republics (most often just republics) that have their own constituencies with a smaller number of citizens; to get into the State Duma, they need fewer votes. In general, this can be interpreted as injustice.

Zhirinovsky says – “let’s make a unicameral parliament”. A bicameral parliament usually occurs either in monarchies, as it is a tradition, or in federal states, since the upper house is the federation chamber. And if the state is unitary, then the upper house is not needed.

As I understand it, it does not bother Zhirinovsky, but you have to offer something big, because an extravagant decision must also be large-scale, otherwise no one will notice it, or they will laugh at him.

On the other hand, our Federation is a borderland, and regional activists say why they are worse: someone is a republic, but they are just a region, although 5 times more. Zhirinovsky exploits these sentiments, and this is the trouble. He feels great mood. As long as everything is good in the economy, this is one thing. If the socio-economic situation worsens, nationalist quirks begin.

Head of the Center for the Development of Regional Policy, political scientist Ilya Grashchenkov noticed that the Liberal Democratic Party is the party of a bright person.

– A bright person should remain bright all the time, declare what, from the point of view of his voter, will support this reputation. However, since our people, in principle, have lost faith in the authorities, they believe that any system of power is useless, it eats budget money, everyone should be abolished, leaving the Supreme Ruler who will distribute budget money to the population with a wise hand. This is a hype before the elections.

“SP”: – Why did the Federation Council fall under this?

– Vladimir Volfovich is a State Duma deputy and is going to be re-elected. It would be strange to shoot oneself in the foot, proposing to abolish the Duma. And why bite your hand Mishustin… So the most harmless thing is the Federation Council, because no one understands what they are doing anyway.

I think that this is Zhirinovsky’s populist appeal, a reminder of himself on the eve of the elections.

“SP”: – What is behind the words about a centralized state?

– We really have an empire, Moscow, which takes income from oil-bearing and other regions, distributes it throughout Russia as it sees fit. If the federation is developed, then the rich regions will demand more. A certain bias in the economy is possible.

We really have a federation that requires a unitary government. Another thing is that this should be some kind of democratic logic, not quasi-imperial, when billions are spent on projects that do not bring any income. We are talking about projects of super-scale, but senseless in the current situation – like the dream of a flight to Mars.

Zhirinovsky and his electorate are just about a flight to Mars, and not about real development. Such radical calls against the Federation Council put Zhirinovsky on a par with dictators who will lead the Russian Empire to a brighter future.

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