Zhirinovsky visit shocks Germans

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BERLIN - Vladimir Zhirinovsky, the leader of the ultra-right Russian Liberal Democrats, sent a shudder through most of Germany yesterday by declaring that the country's eastern border with Poland should be open for renegotiation, writes Adrian Bridge. 'It is no crime to say that the Oder-Neisse line (the German-Polish border) is not the last word in world history,' Mr Zhirinovsky said after a brief meeting with Gerhard Frey, the leader of the extreme right-wing German People's Union. 'But, of course, any changes should be brought about peacefully and through negotiation.'

Mr Zhirinovsky and Mr Frey have made no secret of their desire to expand the borders of their countries, with Russia re-acquiring the Baltic states and both carving up Poland under a pact similar to that signed between Hitler and Stalin in 1939. Until a few weeks ago, such ideas were dismissed as deluded rantings.

Mr Zhirinovsky's dramatic success in the Russian election, however, has suddenly given them an unexpected menace. German politicians across the mainstream spectrum expressed outrage over his visit yesterday. Mr Zhirinovsky later flew on to Austria for talks with Edwin Neuwirth, a former Waffen SS soldier.

(Photograph omitted)