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Zhirinovsky Before Politics: A Curriculum Vitae 1946-1989

Zhirinovsky Before Politics: A Curriculum Vitae 1946-1989
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  This article was downloaded by:[Canadian Research Knowledge Network]On:6 May 2008Access Details:[subscription number 783016864]Publisher:RoutledgeInforma Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954Registered office: Mortimer House, 37-41 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH, UK The Journal of Slavic Military Studies Publication details, including instructions for authors and subscription information: Zhirinovsky Before Politics A Curriculum Vitae 1946-1989 Andreas UmlandOnline Publication Date:01 September 2004To cite this Article:Umland, Andreas (2004) 'Zhirinovsky Before Politics A Curriculum Vitae 1946-1989', The Journal of Slavic Military Studies, 17:3, 425 —447To link to this article: DOI:10.1080/13518040490486133URL: SCROLL DOWN FOR ARTICLEFull terms and conditions of use:,teachingandprivatestudypurposes.Anysubstantialorsystematicreproduction,re-distribution,re-selling,loanorsub-licensing,systematicsupplyordistributioninanyformtoanyoneisexpresslyforbidden.Thepublisherdoesnotgiveanywarrantyexpressorimpliedormakeanyrepresentationthatthecontentswillbecompleteoraccurateoruptodate.Theaccuracyofanyinstructions,formulaeanddrugdosesshouldbeindependentlyverifiedwithprimarysources.Thepublishershallnotbeliableforanyloss,actions,claims,proceedings,demandorcostsordamageswhatsoeverorhowsoevercausedarisingdirectlyorindirectlyinconnectionwithorarising out of the use of this material.     D  o  w  n   l  o  a   d  e   d   B  y  :   [   C  a  n  a   d   i  a  n   R  e  s  e  a  r  c   h   K  n  o  w   l  e   d  g  e   N  e   t  w  o  r   k   ]   A   t  :   1   1  :   1   7   6   M  a  y   2   0   0   8 425  Journal of Slavic Military Studies 17(3): 425–447, 2004Copyright © 2004 Taylor & Francis Inc.ISSN:1351-8046 printDOI:10.1080/13518040490486133 Journal of Slavic MilitaryStudies173Taylor & FrancisTaylor and Francis 325 Chestnut StreetPhiladelphiaPA191061351-8046FSLVTaylor & Francis Inc.20042580610.1080/135180404904861332004121ANDREAS UMLAND   ZHIRINOVSKY BEFORE POLITICS   Zhirinovsky Before PoliticsA Curriculum Vitae  1946–1989 ANDREAS UMLAND A number of publications in various languages have, to one degree or another, dealtwith the biography of the leader of the so-called Liberal-Democratic Party of Russiauntil its foundation in December 1989. Yet, none of them has provided a satisfactoryaccount of Vladimir Zhirinovsky’s life before be entered politics. This chronologypresents, in a condensed form, most of the relevant dates, events and names men-tioned in various primary and secondary sources. While being in need of verifi-cation, addition, and interpretation, the below “fact sheet” constitutes a first steptowards a comprehensive biography of Zhirinovsky. This is a reconstruction of the main events related to Zhirinovsky’ssrcins, and professional, social as well as private life before the firstmeeting of the organizational committee for the foundation of theso-called Liberal-Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR) on December13, 1989.When I compiled the first draft for the chronology in 19931994, 1 Zhirinovsky’s triumph in the December 1993 State Dumaelections (22.92%) was not entirely surprising. 2 The particularlyvolatile political situation in Russia in 1993–1994 justified focuson even as eccentric a figure as Zhirinovsky. That Zhirinovsky—in distinction to, for instance, the somewhat similar 1991 Polishpresidential candidate Stanislaw Tyminski—would, however,become a figure of long-term concern has been difficult to imagineuntil recently. This was less so because of the generally overratedclownishness in Zhirinovsky’s behavior (of which he seems to beaware, at least, as much as those observers who have been dismissinghim throughout the 1990s). Rather, food for skepticism was pro-vided by the fact that Zhirinovsky is of partly Jewish srcin. Thisis a circumstance that, such was my conclusion, makes him an     D  o  w  n   l  o  a   d  e   d   B  y  :   [   C  a  n  a   d   i  a  n   R  e  s  e  a  r  c   h   K  n  o  w   l  e   d  g  e   N  e   t  w  o  r   k   ]   A   t  :   1   1  :   1   7   6   M  a  y   2   0   0   8 426ANDREAS UMLAND unlikely leader of a Russian ultra-nationalist movement. 3 Yet, theresults of the 2003 State Duma elections in which the LDPRreceived a degree of electoral support (11.45%) basically, similarto the one it had attained in the December 1995 parliamentaryelections (11.18%) seem to have partly falsified such consider-ations. With the first results of these elections in, Zhirinovsky hasbecome a subject worth deeper scholarly scrutiny. Oddly, he andhis party have become an aspect of the political—and not only cul-tural or social—history of post-Soviet Russia.One obvious starting point for delving deeper into the Zhirinovskyphenomenon is his life history. A chronology such as the one belowis, to be sure, no substitute for a narrative interpretation of the cir-cumstances that had led Zhirinovsky to become what he was whenhe entered politics in 1990–1993. 4 Yet, a first comprehensive factsheet might be useful as a basis for further scholarly biographicalresearch into the Zhirinovsky phenomenon that would confront thepartly contradictory information given in the various sources available,and try to make sense of them in the light of later developments.Going through the curriculum vitae does not answer the ques-tion who Zhirinovsky is. It might, nevertheless, give the reader afeeling of how Zhirinovsky’s personality evolved until politicalpluralism was officially permitted in the Soviet Union in 1989.Though a tabular list of ‘naked’ facts has many disadvantages incomparison to narrative accounts of Zhirinovsky’s pre-political lifeprovided in, for instance, the books by Vladimir Solovyov and ElenaKlepikova or Peter Conradi, 5 the CV below is, partly, far moredetailed and gives, at least with regard to the factual side, a morecomprehensive picture than other studies published so far. To be sure, anumber of details given below demand further specification (especiallyconcerning the closeness of Zhirinovsky’s links to the KGB ), or mayneed to be corrected. Some important dates or names have, probably,to be added. Yet, the general story emerging should be accurate. 6 The major reference point for the chronology below is the first andmost important September 1993 edition of Zhirinovsky’s principal,autobiographical pamphlet The Last Dash to the South . 7 Apart from this,an important source for the relevant circumstances in Zhirinovsky’s lifein the years 1967–1968 and 1985–1987 is the valuable Russian docu-ment collection edited by Dmitry Khopak for Moscow’s PanoramaExpert Center. 8 This documentation is more or less fully-reproducedhere which is why these periods are especially well-covered.     D  o  w  n   l  o  a   d  e   d   B  y  :   [   C  a  n  a   d   i  a  n   R  e  s  e  a  r  c   h   K  n  o  w   l  e   d  g  e   N  e   t  w  o  r   k   ]   A   t  :   1   1  :   1   7   6   M  a  y   2   0   0   8 ZHIRINOVSKY BEFORE POLITICS427 Interesting information and discussion on Zhirinovsky’s Jewishbackground and links to the KGB are provided in a short study byEvgeniia Al’bats. 9 Two further relevant sources are a dossier com-piled by Alexander Verkhovsky of the Panorama Center, 10 and thememoirs of Vladimir Kartsev who worked with Zhirinovsky at  Mir  Publishers before Zhirinovsky became a politician. 11 WhileVerkhovsky is a detached researcher and followed aims similar tomine, the often exhilarating details provided by Kartsev are to beapproached, partly, with caution. That is because a main purpose of this publication seems to have been to disprove that Zhirinovskywas linked to the KGB on the basis of Kartsev’s observations fromthe 1980s. Whatever the value of these recollections, Kartsev’sconclusion that Zhirinovsky was not linked to the KGB is in so farmisleading as a number of circumstances in Zhirinovsky’s lifebefore and after his employment at  Mir  clearly demonstrate thatZhirinovsky had at least some connections to the KGB . In fact,Zhirinovsky’s (and, for that matter, Kartsev’s) employment at  Mir  , a publishing house dealing with foreign clients, itself wouldseem to indicate that he must have passed some kind of security check by the Soviet authorities—if nothing more—to get such a job. 12 The remaining sources are listed in my dissertation. 13 Its biblio-graphy can be also found on the World Wide Web. 14 The most impor-tant sources are indicated below such as the above-mentioned textsand others written by Belkin, Kulikova, Luchterhandt, Plekhanov, andPribylovsky. 15 I shall be grateful for, and happily acknowledge in possiblefuture publications, any valuable additions, corrections, or commen-taries on the dates, names, and events below. 16 1907Vol’f Isaakovich Eidelshtein, Zhirinovsky’s father,born.1912Aleksandra Pavlovna Makarova, Zhirinovsky’smother, born.1919Aleksandra Pavlovna’s father, Pavel IvanovichMakarov, a Tsarist Army soldier, dies from typhus. 17 1928Aleksandra Pavlovna’s mother, Fiona Nikiforovna,sent to Solovki prison camp for running a privatecafeteria in the 1920s; Aleksandra Pavlovna marries     D  o  w  n   l  o  a   d  e   d   B  y  :   [   C  a  n  a   d   i  a  n   R  e  s  e  a  r  c   h   K  n  o  w   l  e   d  g  e   N  e   t  w  o  r   k   ]   A   t  :   1   1  :   1   7   6   M  a  y   2   0   0   8 428ANDREAS UMLAND Andrei Vasilievich Zhirinovsky, an army orsecurity officer, in order to avoid starvation.1930sHaving risen to the position of Security DepartmentHead of the Leningrad Railway, Andrei Vasilievichis imprisoned for one year in the late 1930s.1941–1945Vol’f Isaakovich’s family perishes under Nazioccupation. 18 Aug. 1, 1944Andrei Vasilievich, then at the Forestry DepartmentHead of Turkestan-Siberian Railways, dies fromtuberculosis.Nov. 13, 1945Aleksandra Pavlovna Zhirinovskaia, by then motherof five children from Andrei Vasilievich, marriesEidelshtein, planner at a cooperative producingclothing and footwear in Alma-Ata, capital of theKazakh SSR.April 25, 1946Zhirinovsky born as Vladimir Vol’fovichEidelshtein.November 1946Vol’f Isaakovich dies in car-accident.1949–1953Attends 24-hour six-day-per-week kindergarten; 19 acquires gastritis and colon inflammation; 20 Aleksandra Pavlovna works full-time at cafeteriaof Alma-Ata Zooveterinary Institute; family livesin cramped communal flat.1950–1962Aleksandra Pavlovna lives together with a 15years younger men with an alcohol problem anddisliked by young Vladimir.1953–1964Registered as ‘Vladimir Andreevich Zhirinovsky’at best, KGB -sponsored Alma-Ata middle (andthen boys’) school no. 39 at Dzerzhinskii Streetwith many pupils from privileged families (amongthem Kuliash Tashalitova, daughter of KazakhMinister of Transportation); temporary chairmanof his class’s Young Pioneer group; among favo-rite subjects: geography, history; intended careers:military officer, investigating judge, diplomat; readsDreiser’s  American Tragedy . 21 1954Zhirinovsky’s school becomes coeducational.
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