A Kremlin-loyal nationalist politician faces possible criminal charges after being caught on camera in a rant urging an aide to rape a pregnant reporter.
The journalist, employed by the state-run Russia Today media holding, filed a criminal complaint to police asking that Vladimir Zhirinovsky be prosecuted for hooliganism, which carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison, her lawyer Anatoly Kucherena said.
The lower house of parliament, the State Duma, will need to strip Zhirinovsky of his immunity as a lawmaker, Kucherena said in comments broadcast today by RIA Novosti news service and RT television channel.
Zhirinovsky, a fixture in the State Duma since 1993, has gained notoriety for nationalist rants. He was criticized last year for saying Russia’s mainly Muslim North Caucasus region should be fenced off by barbed wire and in the past has called for Russia to retake Alaska from the U.S. by force.
His outburst last week was in response to a question about whether Russia should impose retaliatory sanctions after Ukraine put limits on Russian men entering the country. Zhirinovsky called over an aide and told him to “rape her roughly,” before repeatedly shouting “Christ has risen” over the protests of other reporters at the news conference.
Zhirinovsky, head of the nationalist Liberal Democratic Party, has issued an apology for what he deemed as being a “little rude” to the reporter, Stella Dubovitskaya.
The Duma’s ethics commission will investigate Zhirinovsky’s comments anyway, state-run news agency Itar-Tass reported April 20, citing Andrei Andreev, deputy head of the commission.
During his tirade at a group of reporters including Dubovitskaya, Zhirinovsky said she should be taking care of her baby instead of working and called one woman a lesbian. He said a reporter who spoke up for Dubovitskaya would lose her job.