The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Russian parliament deputy speaker tells aide to ‘violently rape’ pregnant journalist on live TV

Russian lawmaker Vladimir Zhirinovsky poses on the red carpet at the closing ceremony of the 35th Moscow International Film Festival in Moscow, Russia, on Saturday, June 29, 2013. (AP Photo/ Alexander Zemlianichenko Jr)

The deputy speaker of Russia’s Lower House is a man accustomed to saying crazy things. Called a “political clown” by Der Spiegel, Vladimir Zhirinovsky has unleashed a racist, profane tirade against Condoleeza Rice, punched another politician in the face following a television debate, proposed shooting birds to combat the bird flu and most recently called for the eviction of all McDonald’s in Russia. Even Putin has told Zhirinovsky to cool it.

But days ago, his antics reached an apogee.

The occasion, as described by numerous media outlets including Russia Today, was a Moscow press conference featuring Zhirinofsky. In attendance was a brown-haired reporter named Stella Dubovitskaya with Rossiya Segodnya — Russia Today. Six months pregnant, she asked the politician about a recent Ukrainian restriction on Russian men entering the country. She wanted to know if Russia would institute sanctions against Ukraine in response.

Hearing this, Zhirinovsky’s face bulged and reddened. “You are all bloodthirsty,” he boomed.

Referring to Kiev’s Maidan protests, which ignited a series of events that have pushed Ukraine and Russia to the brink of war, the politician yelled, “You women of the Maidan all have uterine frenzy! Without that uterine frenzy there wouldn’t have been Maidan.”

Then, for reasons not entirely clear, he brought up Ukrainian nationalist Iryna Farion. “You think she hates Russians? She loves them! Uterine frenzy, no lover, no husband present, nothing! She has a beast between her legs! And that fire devil rushes upward through her dumb [expletive] tongue.”

The journalist smiled uncomfortably, and looked away. But the politician continued his screed.

“Where are those idiots?” he said, calling for his aides. “Come here.” He motioned at the journalist. “You come here too, journalist. OK, when I say,” he told his aides, “you run to her and violently rape her.”

He pushed the aide at her and shouted, “Christ is risen! Truly he is risen! Christ is risen! Truly he is risen!”

Another journalist confronted the ranting politician, telling him that her fellow reporter was pregnant. Zhirinovsky responded by calling her a “damned lesbian.”

“This isn’t a place for pregnant people!” he shouted. “If you’re pregnant, go home. Better take care of your child!”

The State Duma, which has long since become inured to Zhirinovsky’s behavior, expressed disgust at its bloviating member. “My view of what happened is extremely negative,” State Duma Speaker Sergei Naryshkin told Interfax. “For my part, I would like to apologize for deputy Zhirinovsky.”

The rogue politician could be forced to apologize, and may face a one-month censorship, according to Russia Today.

He may also face a lawsuit. “Due to the disgusting incident in the state Duma,” Russia Today editor in chief Margaret Simonyan said, “after which our correspondent was hospitalized because of Vladimir Zhirinovsky’s discourtesy, we have decided to use all legal options to punish Mr. Zhirinovsky as severely as possible under the law, including by suing him.”

Correction: This article has been updated to reflect that Margaret Simonyan’s correct title is editor in chief, not general director.