Kazakhs accuse Zhirinovsky of nationalist slurs

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The Independent Online
THE FAR-RIGHT Russian politician Vladimir Zhirinovsky was embroiled in a fresh row yesterday after the authorities in Kazakhstan accused him of insulting an entire nation and of fomenting ethnic hatred.

Kazakhstan's general prosecutor, Rashid Tusupbekov, wrote to his Russian counterpart demanding that the nationalist firebrand be prosecuted for whipping up ethnic hatred between Russians and Kazakhs and for insulting the dignity of the Kazakh people.

The row began when Mr Zhirinovsky, in a radio interview last month, asserted that Kazakhstan, which was colonised by Russia in the 19th century, had never existed as an independent nation.

His inference was that the former Soviet republic should be part of Russia and not independent.

He went on to criticise a recent border agreement between the two countries saying Russia was giving away its historic lands - then he claimed there was no such thing as a Kazakh identity. "There is no such thing as a Kazakh language," he told Ekho Moskvy radio. "Nor is there any history of a written language. In general there's simply nothing there." Mr Zhirinovsky, leader of the Liberal Democratic Party, supports the restoration of the Russian Empire by force, including the seizure of Finland and Alaska. Yesterday his office stood by his comments about Kazakhstan.

His views on Kazakhstan may be linked to the fact that he was born there in 1946 when it was part of the Soviet Union and witnessed the intensive Russification" of the republic in the next two decades, a process that saw Russian farm workers eventually outnumber the natives.

Kazakhstan became independent in 1991.