Russian Patriarch honours nationalist Zhirinovsky at funeral


Eastern Europe


Photo of Zhirinovsky at the memorial service. Photo EPA, Igor Palkin

No one less than the Russian Patriarch himself led the funeral service of the ultra-nationalist politician Vladimir Zhirinovsky on Friday. Remarkable is that Kirill, by doing this, gives Zhirinovsky the highest honours.

Patriarch Kirill himself requested to lead the funeral service of the politician. The offer to lead the service means that the Patriarch gives Zhirinovsky the highest honours. The nationalist politician had a controversial career. At the end of the 20th century, he was seen as a threat to Russia's development and relationship with the Western world.

Shortly after Zhirinovsky's death earlier this week, Kirill honoured the politician as a sincere and upright man. According to the Patriarch, Zhirinovsky was an ardent patriot, Interfax Religion reports.

Kirill praises Zhirinovsky

Right before the funeral service in the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow started, the Patriarch continued to praise Zhirinovsky. He said that the politician was "a diplomat by education, but he was not a diplomat on the podium. Zhirinovsky said what he thought without any compromises. This honest position evoked sympathy and gratitude from other people." According to Kirill, the politician has contributed significantly to the political life of modern Russia, Interfax Religion writes.

In addition, Kirill called Zhirinovsky an "outstanding politician." "Vladimir Zhirinovsky possessed many abilities, talents and was a bright, convincing person", he said according to Ria Novosti.ru.

Zhrinovsky during a speech. Photo Yuri Kochetkov

Patriarch Kirill asked everyone who had a conflict with Zhirinovsky to forgive the politician during the funeral service. "The soul of the deceased should leave this world in a state of complete reconciliation with everyone", he said according to Ria Novosti.ru. Many high-ranking Russian officials were present at the funeral, among whom the governor of the Khabarovsk Territory and the deputy head of the LDPR faction in the State Duma.

Kirill's support for Zhirinovsky shows his position

The request of Kirill to lead the funeral service of a nationalist Russian politician occurred in the middle of the Ukrainian crisis. Kirill has received much criticism because he identifies with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Outside of Russia, all Orthodox Churches oppose the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and several of them attempt to break away from the Russian Patriarchate. The fact that Kirill himself took the initiative to lead the funeral service shows that this criticism does not diminish Kirill's support for Russian nationalism.

Last Thursday, Kirill spoke at the Day of Annunciation. He then urged everyone to pray for the spiritual unity of Russia and peace in Ukraine, Interfax writes.

Outspoken politician with controversial reputation

The well-known nationalist Russian politician Vladimir Zhirinovsky passed away this week. With his death, Russia has lost one of its most outspoken politicians.

The Russian Duma announced his death, Dutch newspaper NRC writes. The 75-year-old politician passed away as a result of Covid-19.

Zhirinovsky had a controversial political career. At the end of the 20th century, he became infamous for his populistic bluster and shameless insults. For example, he poured orange juice over former prime minister Nemtsov, pulled the hair of a female politician, made sexual suggestions in the Russian Parliament and insulted Jews. Remarkably, because Zhirinovsky had a Jewish father himself. The ultra-right-wing politician was probably the only one that was able to get away with openly criticising Russia's leadership.

Zhirinovsky never hid his political ideas. According to him, all means to build a large Russian imperium were right, whether that meant bombing Kyiv, firing nuclear rockets at Grozny, conquering Alaska or occupying the former Soviet republics, the NRC writes.

In addition, Zhirinovsky was an outspoken opponent of the Western world. For example, after the terroristic attacks in Brussel in 2016, he said: "The attacks are beneficial for us. Let them suffer and perish."

Despite his controversial statements, Zhirinovsky received several medals from Putin.



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