This time, Vladimir Putin has out-Putined himself.
On April 18, Russia’s erratic, though consistently anti-democratic, leader awarded the Russian Federation’s prestigious “For Service to the Fatherland Order, Class II,” to none other than Vladimir Zhirinovsky.
Zhirinovsky, who is the head of the bizarrely named Liberal Democratic Party of Russia, has been an unabashed promoter of Russian illiberalism, fascism, and imperialism since he first made a splash in the Duma elections of 1993, when his party garnered 23 percent of the vote.
Zhirinovsky has never minced his words. To his credit, he’s never pretended to be anything but an imperialist and a fascist. Indeed, he’s been so brazen, so outrageous, and so unapologetic that not even Putin Russia’s most ardent Western apologists apologize for him.
Here’s a classic Zhirinovsky statement threatening Eastern Europe with war, from August 2014: