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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Zhirinovsky: Shut Airport to Stop 'Swindlers'


Ultranationalist presidential candidate Vladimir Zhirinovsky demanded Friday that Moscow's main airport be shut down at the start of the summer tourism season to prevent rich Russians from fleeing with the country's cash.

In a typical outburst in the State Duma, Zhirinovsky said the government should shut down Sheremetyevo-2 airport from May 1 to July 1 to block "swindlers trying to escape with our money to the West," Interfax reported.

He contended hundreds of thousands of Russians had booked flights to the West with the intent of fleeing if they did not like the turn politics was taking in the upcoming June presidential election.

Zhirinovsky's Liberal Democratic Party has been slipping lately in some polls, which generally put him third, although he has confounded the pollsters before. Dismissed as an extremist buffoon in the 1991 presidential campaign, he finished a shocking third with 8 percent of the vote. His party finished third in December's Duma elections.

Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov has been leading in most recent polls, with President Boris Yeltsin appearing to gain some ground lately.

Undaunted, Zhirinovsky pressed ahead in the race for the youth vote this week by urging the legal voting age be reduced from 18 to 16. He made the proposal Thursday, when he announced the formation of a children's branch of his ultranationalist party.

Called Zhirinovsky's Little Falcons, 30 children and teenagers at the news conference saluted their leader with a motto adapted from the Young Pioneers of Soviet times: "Little Falcons of the whole country are loyal to Zhirinovsky."

Zhirinovsky said the children would not be used in his campaign for the presidency. But he did not miss an opportunity to take a swipe at older Russians, a major part of the Communists' support base.

"We should respect age [but] people are sick when they get old," said Zhirinovsky, who turns 50 in two weeks. "In our party we have only young people"