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Russian Elections 1999
The elections are as much a contest between personalities, and the power blocs they control, as a conventional electoral race between parties. Click the names on the right for an at-a-glance guide to the key figures and political groupings.
FATHERLAND-ALL-RUSSIA
UNITY
UNION OF RIGHT-WING FORCES
YABLOKO
OUR HOME IS RUSSIA
THE COMMUNIST PARTY
Boris YELTSIN
Yury LUZHKOV
Yevgeny PRIMAKOV
Vladimir PUTIN
Grigory YAVLINSKY
Gennady ZYUGANOV
Aleksander LEBED
Vladimir
ZHIRINOVSKY

Vladimir Zhirinovsky



Vladimir Zhirinovsky
Vladimir Zhirinovsky is Russia's most eccentric and outrageous political leader, whose pronouncements now appear less as serious statements than a form of political theatre. Despite its apparent extremism, the parliamentary faction of Mr Zhirinovsky's Liberal Democratic Party of Russia often votes with, rather than against, the Yeltsin government, and Mr Zhirinovsky's public statements, invariably laced with dark humour, sometimes verge on self-parody.

Now aged 53, he shot to prominence in 1991, when he took third place in Russia's first presidential election.

His most controversial demands include calls for the return of Russia's former territories in Poland, Finland and Alaska, and expansion to the south, as far as the Indian Ocean. The Central Electoral Commission refused to register the LDPR for the parliamentary elections because two of the party's top three candidates violated election procedures, so Mr Zhirinovsky hastily put together a new bloc, called "Zhirinovsky's bloc", formed out of the Russian Union of Free Youth, and the Party of Russian Spiritual Revival, led by his sister.