The State Duma ethics committee has recommended that hothead politician Vladimir Zhirinovsky make a public apology to the journalists he insulted last week, and distribute information about his ethics violations to the media.
The possibility of depriving Zhirinovsky of his Duma speaking rights for a month was discussed, but ultimately rejected, committee head Alexander Degtyaryov said Wednesday, Interfax reported.
The ruckus took place on Friday after Zhirinovsky, leader of the Liberal Democratic Party, or LDPR, was asked whether he thought Russia should take action in light of Ukrainian travel restrictions on Russian men.
Seemingly incensed, Zhirinovsky went on a rant against the female journalists present, suggested that his aide rape pregnant Rossia Segodnya correspondent Stella Dubovitskaya, and then ordered his aides to go “kiss” the female reporters while shouting Easter greetings.
He also said that Dubovitskaya should go home if she was pregnant and called one of the women a lesbian when she defended her colleague.
Dubovitskaya later filed a police report seeking to open a criminal case against Zhirinovsky on hooliganism charges, her lawyer Anatoly Kucherena told RIA Novosti Tuesday.
The pregnant reporter told police that she sustained physical and emotional damage and was hospitalized as a result of Zhirinovsky's crude onslaught.
The politician, known for his flamboyant and frequently offensive outbursts, later apologized for his actions on the television program “Sunday Night with Vladimir Solovyov,” saying that he had “spoken a little bit rudely” and “out of turn.”
The ethics commission, which reportedly received letters about the matter from the Union of Russian Journalists' secretary, Boris Reznik, and the Orthodox Church's Moscow patriarchy, has the authority to order Zhirinovsky to apologize, as well as to censure him or recommend that he be barred from speaking at the Duma for a month.
Andrei Andreyev, deputy head of the ethics committee and a Communist Party member, told Interfax that both he and his fellow party member Vladimir Pozdnyakov had voted for taking away Zhirinovsky's speech rights, the strongest measure.
The Duma's Rules Committee voted Monday to remove an exhibition in honor of the LDPR leader's birthday from the Duma's second-floor lobby as punishment for the tirade.