The regional branch of the Liberal Democratic Party in the republic of Chechnya has broken from the national organization after the party's leader, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, said Russia should "block off the Caucasus with barbed wire" during a television program.
Speaking during the Poedinok program on the Rossia 1 television channel, the leader of Russia's nationalist LDPR, known for his headline-grabbing outbursts, called for imposing limits on the birth rate in the North Caucasus and curtailing the movement of the area's citizens across the country.
Declaring that it was ceasing its activities, the Chechen LDPR said in a statement, "We find it impossible to be continue to be part of a party led by a politician that has compromised himself as a holder of fascist ideology," Interfax reported Sunday. Comparing Zhirinovsky to the Ku Klux Klan, the statement urged other offices of the party in other regions to follow the Chechen branch's example.
State Duma vice-speaker and head of the LDPR council told Interfax that the national organization has not yet received any confirmation from the regional members about the break.
Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov had earlier accused the State Duma deputy of "inciting hatred" in Russia. Kadyrov said in a statement on Instagram on Friday that the sharp statements of Zhirinovsky, who he said had tried to prove that all the country's problems were linked to the North Caucasus region, "insult millions of Russians," adding that he should be "held accountable."
Posting a doctored picture of Zhirinovsky with a clown's rainbow wig, Kadryov said that he did not take the politician's statements "seriously" as he understands that President Vladimir Putin would never allow "unleashing interethnic and inter-religious conflicts."
Lawmakers from the republic of Chechnya have asked the lower house of Russia's parliament to react to the statement. "We are now waiting for the response from the house's leadership," United Russia lawmaker Magomed Vakhayev said.
Zhirinovsky responded to the criticism Sunday. "Did I try to impose my position on anyone? They asked me [what my views were] and I answered," he told Komsomolskaya Pravda radio and added that he thinks 90 percent of Russians share his opinion.
Materials from The Moscow Times were included in this report.