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Zhirinovsky Wants to Ban English Words

The leader of the Liberal Democratic Party, Vladimir Zhirinovsky (right). Igor Tabakov

Nationalist rabble-rouser Vladimir Zhirinovsky said his Liberal Democratic Party is preparing legislation that would ban the use of English and other foreign words that have Russian equivalents.

"Why say 'dealer' when there is 'posrednik,' or 'performance' instead of 'predstavleniya'? 'Boutique' in Russian is 'lavka.' 'Mouton' is 'ovchina,' Zhirinovsky said in a statement on the party's website.

"All across town there's 'sale,' 'sale,' 'sale.' Soon they'll even force us to use English pronunciation," the Liberal Democratic leader said.

The legislation would include a list of 100 English words, he said. If Russians were to use those words, they would face fines or even dismissal from their jobs.

"We've been tormented by these Americanisms and Briticisms," Zhirinovsky said. "We will fight for this law to be passed and so that this list will be on the desk of every journalist, television or radio host, teacher, scientist and writer.

"We need to free the language from this trash, from foreign words," Zhirinovsky said. He told Interfax that lawyers were currently preparing the bill for submission to the State Duma.

The proposed bill is the latest in a series of moves targeting foreign influence in recent months.

Late last year, Russia passed the so-called anti-Magnitsky Act, banning adoptions of Russian orphans by U.S. families. It also adopted a law requiring nongovernmental organizations that conduct "political activity" and receive foreign funding to register as "foreign agents."

Last month, Duma Deputy Sergei Zheleznyak of the majority-wielding United Russia party called for movie theaters that show foreign films to pay a tax that all other movie theaters would be exempt from. He also called for a quota on foreign films.

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