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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Zhirinovsky: 'We Don't Need to Stage a Coup'

Ultranationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky on Tuesday denied any involvement in coup plots and asked the government to foot the bill for his party's successful election campaign.


Zhirinovsky, in his usual outspoken form, rejected charges by a senior cabinet member of a conspiracy to bring him to power but repeated his prediction that he would some day rule Russia.


Deputy Prime Minister Anatoly Chubais had said in an interview broadcast this week that unnamed militants were planning to topple President Boris Yeltsin and install Zhirinovsky in his place.


Asked to comment, Zhirinovsky said: "Chubais is right, in a certain sense."


That brought surprised laughter from the audience, prompting Zhirinovsky to add: "We are not preparing any coups; the doors are just opened for us."


"December 12 has shown that we don't need to stage a coup," Zhirinovsky said, referring to the elections in which his Liberal Democratic Party won the most votes. "We received a pass to the Kremlin on December 12. That's all we need."


Zhirinovsky, clearly enjoying attention of the world media, made his usual share of outlandish statements. He threatened to turn Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan into a "scorched desert" for "killing" Russian men and "raping" Russian women.


He chided Alexander Rutskoi, released from prison last month under an amnesty championed by Zhirinovsky, for not publicly expressing his gratitude.


Zhirinovsky on Tuesday also confirmed reports that he had asked Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin for funding.


"If the majority of the people supported our party, the state should support us," Zhirinovsky said.


Zhirinovsky said his party needed a subsidy of 1 billion rubles ($570,000) per year.


Each of the 13 electoral blocs that contested the December elections received a government subsidy of 50 million rubles. Zhirinovsky's party is estimated to have spent about 1 billion rubles.


Two radio stations last month accused the party of defaulting on payments for campaign advertisements, but Zhirinovsky insisted that the payments had been made and the banks were to blame for delaying transfers.


To cut costs during these times of financial straits, Zhirinovsky said he was cutting down on his trips abroad. Also, after this weekend's scheduled annual convention, the Liberal Democrats will reduce the frequency of their expense gatherings.


This weekend's congress is likely to feature an internal challenge to Zhirinovsky. Viktor Kobelev, who ran the party's successful election campaign but quit the party's faction in parliament earlier this month, said Monday that he would try to get the party congress to remove Zhirinovsky as chairman.


But Zhirinovsky said that Kobelev and a second dissident had been thrown out of the party and could not attend the congress.