Russian Ultranationalist Spreads Hate Message in Bosnia
Bangor Daily News
1 February 1994.
By John Pomfret
BIJELJINA, Bosnia-Herzegovina — Russian ultranationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky brought his campaign of hate to Serb-controlled Bosnia Monday, telling crowds of brandy-chugging, gun-toting Serbs that a NATO bomb dropped on Serb positions here would effectively mean a bomb dropped on Russia.
In an hour-long visit to this city, where tens of thousands of Bosniaks were forced from their homes by Serb paramilitary units more than a year ago, Zhirinovsky met with several alleged war criminals, walked near the site of a demolished mosque — now a parking lot — and pledged Russian support for Serbian ultranationalism.
Zhirinovsky’s trip — which included an afternoon journey to the Croatian city of Vukovar, destroyed by Serb guns in 1991 — came on the heels of controversial jaunts to other countries where his welcome was less enthusiastic. The Russian politician, whose misleadingly named Liberal Democratic Party captured a surprisingly large number of seats in Russia’s parliament in December elections, has in fact been denounced most places he has gone.
For example, earlier this week, Slovenia asked Zhirinovsky to leave its territory as quickly as possible after his body guards engaged in a violent drinking bout in a resort town. Last month, Zhirinovsky was expelled from Bulgaria for inflammatory comments about that country’s president, and was then refused a visa to Germany.
Zhirinovsky’s trip here was organized by Vienna-based businessman Petar Ivankovic, a native of Montenegro, which, with the more powerful Serbia, makes up the Yugoslav federation. He came to Serb-controlled Bosnia from Serbia, where his planned meeting with Yugoslavia’s minister of minorities and human rights was not held, a sign that the government did no want to elevated the status of the private trip.
To resounding cheers from a crowd of several thousand, who stood for several hours in a freezing rain to see him, Zhirinovsky praised the Serbs for waging war to “save Orthodoxy.”
“Don’t worry, brothers,” he told the applauding throng. “We will protect you… If a single bomb falls on Serbia, we will consider that an attack on Russia.”