The picture of President Putin dropping the traditional red carnations on the coffin of Vladimir Zhirinovsky might look like another episode of contemporary Russia’s charade. But the death, on 6 April, of the 75-year-old ultranationalist, leaves a hole in the political landscape that has been built in Russia during the last 30 years. Zherenovsky’s latest speech at the Duma, in December 2022, has been so extravagant, even by his standards, that it was received as another sign of his mental decline. It included his description of 2022 as “a year when Russia finally becomes great once again, and everyone has to shut up and respect our country”.
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