Vladimir Zhirinovsky, a Putin ally who is mostly known to Russians for his outlandish and sweeping rhetoric, has warned Americans that if they do not vote for Republican candidate Donald Trump in the general election, they should brace themselves for a nuclear war.
Speaking to Reuters in a recent interview, Zhirinovsky threw down the gauntlet at Hillary Clinton and the rest of the American political establishment, saying that only Trump could save the world from another war.
"Relationships between Russia and the United States cannot get any worse. Americans voting for a president on Nov. 8 must realize that they are voting for peace on Planet Earth if they vote for Trump. But if they vote for Hillary it's war. It will be a short movie. There will be Hiroshimas and Nagasakis everywhere."A self-proclaimed Trump fan, Zhirinovsky even went on to suggest that the Republican nominee's efforts in the White House could help him win the Nobel Peace Prize.
"Trump will have a brilliant chance to make relations more peaceful... He's the only one who can do this," he said.Vladimir Zhirinovsky, who heads the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia, holds only 39 seats in the 450-seat State Duma, but is seen as a close ally of Putin and received a top state award from the Russian president last month for coming in third in the parliamentary elections. Not unlike Trump, he is known for his boisterous personality and has often found himself embroiled in controversies for making ultra-nationalist, misogynistic and downright moronic statements. Similar to Trump's call to build a wall across the southern border of United States to fend off Mexican immigrants, Zhirinovsky has argued that the southern part of Russia be blocked off with a barbed wire fencing to keep the Muslims out.
As the Washington Post reports, Zhirinovsky has previously threatened to "bomb Poland and the Baltic states into oblivion, annex Afghanistan and the Middle East so that Russian soldiers could wash their boots in the warm waters of the Indian Ocean, and take back Alaska from the United States."
However, Zhirinovsky serves an important function for the Kremlin. He is used by the Kremlin policy makers to test ground waters. He is made to float radical ideas so that the Kremlin can gauge the public reaction. Over time, Russians have started to see him as a clownish figure who can go to any lengths without being worried about being ridiculed or mocked for his positions. One will have to argue that such figures exist in political circles all around the world, but Zhirinovsky can stretch the truth like no one can. Perhaps not even the man he constantly likes to compare himself with these days -- Donald Trump.
So while his recent threat to Americans to vote for Donald Trump or face a nuclear war is certainly set to send pulses racing, one should not be worried about what Vladimir Putin's Clown-in-Chief has to say. He might epitomize the hostility that Russia has for America's political establishment in the crudest terms, but making absurd statements to the press is what Zhirinovsky does for a living.
But one would be too naive to assume that his words do not have any significance, either. The relations between Russia and United States have soured over the last few years on account of their positions in Syria and Ukraine, while the American political establishment and the intelligence community has lately been accusing the Kremlin for interfering in the U.S. elections. Zhirinovsky's recent statement, as stretched as it might be, is a signal to the world that the next president of the United States will have to find a way to get along with Russia on important matters.
And if you ask Vladimir Zhirinovsky himself, he will tell you Hillary Clinton is not that person because she is a woman.
"Most Americans should choose Trump, because men have been leading for millions of years," the Clown-in-Chief said. "You can't take the risk of having one of the richest, most powerful countries led by a woman president."
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