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Russian Far-Right Party Unveils AI Chatbot of Deceased Leader

The voice of the virtual "Zhirinovsky" bears an uncanny resemblance to that of the real-life political leader. Alexander Kryazhev / RIA Novosti Photohost agency

Russia’s far-right Liberal Democratic Party (LDPR) has unveiled an AI chatbot featuring the voice and personality of its longtime firebrand leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky, who died last year after contracting Covid-19. 

Zhirinovksy — known for his brash ultra-nationalist views and support of the war in Ukraine — reappeared in the form of a ghostly neural network at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum on Thursday.

Simply called “Zhirinovsky,” the AI chatbot is able to respond to questions and make predictions about the future.

During Thursday’s showcase, the virtual Zhirinovsky said Russia’s war in Ukraine would “continue until peace and the Russian people’s safety are fully restored.”

“We won’t leave our compatriots to their fate. Russia’s victory is inevitable and we will achieve all our goals,” it said.

LDPR noted that the chatbot had been trained with more than 18,000 hours of the political showman’s recorded speeches and interviews.

Another video of the Zhirinovsky AI shared by the Financial Times’ Moscow bureau chief, Max Seddon, showed the chatbot disparaging Ukraine as a “swamp full of traitors and Russophobes.”

LDPR was left mostly rudderless after Zhirinovsky — a six-time presidential candidate — died at the age of 75 in April 2022.

In one of his last public appearances, the ultra-nationalist politician predicted Russia’s invasion of Ukraine with surprising accuracy, stating that “at 4 a.m. on February 22, you'll feel our new policy.” 

His forecast was off by only two days.

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