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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Jubilant Zhirinovsky Tells It as He Sees It

ReutersZhirinovsky speaking after an appearance on NTV's "Svoboda Slova" Sunday night.
Flushed with victory as election results trickled in to Liberal Democratic Party headquarters, LDPR leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky came out strongly in favor of what some suspect may be one result of the new pro-Kremlin State Duma: changes to Russia's Constitution.

From extended presidential term limits to the elimination of smaller parties, Zhirinovsky pulled no punches.

"The four-year presidential term is the American term, and it's not acceptable," he said at a news conference in LDPR headquarters at 2:30 Monday morning. "The tsars ruled for about 15 years each. The general secretaries had 15-year terms on average. This way, a president who serves two terms would get 14 years."

As night gave way to morning, Zhirinovsky's comments grew even more grandiose, if somewhat less concrete.

"There shouldn't be any limitations for the head of state at all," he declared. "It should be like a monarchy."

Zhirinovsky, whose party finished a close third with 11.6 percent of the vote, said he would work in the next Duma to streamline parliamentary elections. He proposed raising the threshold for getting into the Duma to 10 percent from 5 percent of the party-list vote, and eliminating the single-mandate seats.

"The best variant for Russia is the two-party system," he said. "We need a party of power and an opposition party that will balance the party of power, just like in the United States. One party will rule for 40 or 50 years, and then they'll switch over."

The most recent elections, he said, showed that the Communist Party, or KPRF, Yabloko and the Union of Right Forces, or SPS, will likely disappear altogether.

"Rodina will practically become a replacement for the KPRF," he said. "Parties like SPS and Yabloko could work in small countries, like the Baltic countries or the Czech Republic. But Russia is a KamAZ truck, and SPS and Yabloko want it to be a Mercedes. A Mercedes does not drive on our roads."

Looking forward to the March presidential elections, Zhirinovsky said Sunday's results forecast a three-way matchup between President Vladimir Putin, Rodina bloc leader Sergei Glazyev and himself.

"And after that, I want to destroy Glazyev so that I'm No. 2," he said. "Glazyev's not capable of anything."

Zhirinovsky further declared that all governors should be appointed by the government, and the upper house of parliament, the Federation Council, should be abolished altogether, along with the national autonomous districts.

Although LDPR has tended to vote with the pro-Kremlin deputies on all important issues, Zhirinovsky's pronouncements are not the most reliable guide to future policies.

"Zhirinovsky's policy is to take a government policy and take it to the point of absurdity," said Masha Lipman of Carnegie Moscow Center. "He does this all the time. It may mean that policy will come toward this, but never to the extent that Zhirinovsky talks about."

In any case, not all of Zhirinovsky's proposals Monday were earthshaking. He also advocated changing the word "president" to something more Russian-sounding.

"'President is an English word," he said. "I suggest we amend the Constitution to give the president a Russian name, like verkhovny pravitel [supreme leader] or predsedatel respubliki [chairman of the republic]."