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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Zhirinovsky Hits U.S.

SAN FRANCISCO, California () -- About 500 people demonstrated outside the hotel where ultranationalist politician Vladimir Zhirinovsky made his first speech in the country he calls the "empire of evil."

The bombastic politician trotted out his standard litany Monday night for the World Affairs Council, a nonpartisan educational group.

He asserted that corruption has infiltrated all levels of the Russian government and society, that Russia is in the grip of economic and political failure, and that only the election of his Liberal Democratic Party can save the country.

He also said reports in the Western media that he is a racist and anti-Semite are false.

Congressman Tom Lantos called the decision to grant Zhirinovsky a U.S. visa a "horrendous tactical mistake."

Zhirinovsky is scheduled to travel to New York City later in the week.