Europe through bottom of a glass

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The Independent Online
AN AIDE to Vladimir Zhirinovsky said yesterday the ultra- nationalist Russian politician would defy an official request to leave Slovenia, after a disturbance in a hotel restaurant in the town of Bled. Mr Zhirinovsky decided not to change his plans to spend yesterday relaxing in Bled before travelling today to Belgrade, where, he says, 'millions of Serbs' are waiting to greet him.

Witnesses in the hotel on Thursday night said Mr Zhirinovsky and his group, in exuberant mood, entertained friends, and some glasses were broken. One Russian was spotted chewing glasses. 'We did not upset the peace in Bled . . . we ate dinner normally,' Mr Zhirinovsky's aide said, though he admitted that one of the party ended up in the ice-cold lake.

Meanwhile Mr Zhirinovsky's strategic visions continue to send tremors through eastern Europe countries - though whether they should be shaking with fear or laughter remains debatable. Le Monde yesterday published a map (right) drawn by Mr Zhirinovsky for Rolf Gauffin, a former Swedish ambassador to Moscow, showing the frontiers of Europe as he conceives them.

Poland is redistributed between Russia and Germany (1); in compensation it gets the district of Lvov (2); Kaliningrad (Konigsberg) (3) returns to Germany and the Baltic republics go to Russia, exceptfor Tallinn (4) which would be a city- state 'like Liechtenstein or Luxembourg', and a zone around Kaunas (5), which was the capital of Lithuania between the wars. Germany would grow, with the acquisition of Austria, Bohemia, Moravia and Slovenia, while Slovakia would apparently become Russian. The former Yugoslavia would be divided equally between Croats and Serbs, while a Greater Bulgaria (6) would absorb Macedonia, Thrace and Bucharest.

Le Monde notes that while these may appear the ravings of a lunatic, his version is not so different from the map of Europe a little over 50 years ago.

(Map omitted)