Vladimir Zhirinovsky (¬ладимир ¬ольфович ∆ириновский) was born on April 25, 1946, in Alma-Ata, now Almaty, Kazakhstan.
Education: Turkish studies, Moscow State University, 1970. Law, Moscow State University, 1977. Ph.D. philosophy, Moscow State University, 1998.
1970-1972: Served in the armed forces in Tbilisi
1972-1975: International department of the Soviet Committee for the Protection of Peace
1975-1977: Foreign relations department of the Higher School of Trade Unions
1983-1990: Legal department of the Mir publishing house, where practically all scientific books for Soviet readers were published
1990-present: Founder and chairman of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDPR). It was the first officially sanctioned opposition party and was probably closer to the traditional meaning of its name than its current successor.
1991: Zhirinovsky took third place in presidential elections with almost 8 percent. Later that year, he supported the hard-line coup attempt against Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, adding fuel to claims that he had links to the KGB.
1993: Zhirinovsky sent shockwaves through the West by gaining his biggest political victory in Duma elections, placing second and securing 65 seats for his party. Many observers noted at the time, however, that Zhirinovsky had largely won protest votes from people opposed to Yeltsin, who that fall had ordered the shelling of the White House to prevent a parliamentary coup. First place went to the Communists.
1996: Ran for president, finishing 5th with 5.7 percent of the vote
2000: Ran for president, finishing 5th with 2.7 percent of the vote
2004: Opted not to run for president, leaving the job to his former bodyguard Oleg Malyshkin, who scored 2 percent
2008: Finished third in presidential elections, winning 9.5 percent of the vote
Zhirinovsky has been a scandalous and controversial figure in Russian politics since 1990. A boisterous nationalist, he is notorious for slandering opponents, starting fistfights in the parliament and for his tirades against the United States, the West and Jews. In 2006, he gained international attention by signing up Andrei Lugovoi, wanted by Britain in the poisoning death of former KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko, to run with his Liberal Democratic Party.
Although Zhirinovsky is an avowed anti-Communist, it is suspected that his early political activism stemmed from a KGB desire to create a pseudo-democratic movement to discredit the more serious opposition in the heyday of perestroika. Today, critics accuse him of running the LDPR like a family business and of being a tool of the Kremlin.
Zhirinovsky only accepted that his father was Jewish in 2001 after years of denial and anti-Semitic tirades (source).
Zhirinovsky is married and has a son, Igor, who is also a Duma deputy from the LDPR.
"Condoleezza Rice needs a company of soldiers. She needs to be taken to barracks where she would be satisfied." Interview with Pravda.ru, Nov. 1, 2006.
"We are not the West. We have our own civilization. … There will be no democracy in Russia. No independent courts. No press freedom. Either accept it or leave." Televised remarks to liberal politician Irina Khakamada after State Duma elections, December 2003.
"Why should I reject Russian blood, Russian culture, Russian land and fall in love with the Jewish people only because of that single drop of blood that my father left in my mother's body?" In his book "Ivan Close Your Soul," 2001.