An informational report on the “death of Vladimir Zhirinovsky” once again raised the question of his successor and the fate of the Liberal Democratic Party itself. We have gathered the views of politicians and political scientists who have previously expressed their views on this. In addition, our source in the State Duma named the candidates who are being considered to replace the leader of the Liberal Democrats.
A scandal broke out this morning. Zhirinovsky’s “death” was reported by the Mash telegram channel, and the news of the politician’s death also appeared in a telegram from LDPR member and senator from the Vladimir region Alexander Pronyushkin.
State Duma Speaker Volodin urgently denied these reports, demanding the resignation of the senator, Pronyushkin removed the post and said that it was not he who appointed him, and the perpetrators will be punished. The Liberal Democratic Party, the Ministry of Health and Zhirinovsky’s relatives refuted. Then Dmitry Peskov stated: Vladimir Wolfovich’s condition is serious, he is in the hospital under the supervision of doctors…
Back in February, Zhirinovsky’s possible successors were listed by Mikhail Delyagin, a member of the lower house of the Russian parliament. In his opinion, the ideal candidate for the post of leader of the Liberal Democratic Party could be the governor of the Khabarovsk Territory Mikhail Degtyarev. And to replace him in the governor’s post can be a liberal democrat, the military Alexander Sherin. However, as our source in the State Duma notes, this could create problems for the Liberal Democratic Party in the Khabarovsk Territory, and Degtyarev himself, due to his “sharp” nature, may not get along at the top of the party.
Delyagin also believed that among the worthy successors are the same Alexander Sherin, as well as parliamentarians Yaroslav Nilov and Vasily Vlasov.
Political scientist Oleg Bondarenko some time ago singled out several clans within the party, which, in his opinion, joined the struggle for Zhirinovsky’s place. Bondarenko called them “sons” (Igor Lebedev, Alexei Ostrovsky), “young leaders” (Boris Chernyshov, Vasily Vlasov) and separately “sponsors” (Leonid Slutsky, Boris Paikin).
Also, in his opinion, “not without reason, the chairman of the Rodina party, Alexei Zhuravlev, who landed in the Duma faction of the Liberal Democratic Party, may also be happy to try on the chair of the leader of the new united party based on the Liberal Democratic Party without Zhirinovsky.”
Since the Liberal Democratic Party is an absolutely “leader’s” party, some experts have read that it ceases to exist in its current form without Zhirinovsky. Thus, political scientist Maxim Zharov said in an interview that the party may be led by Deputy Chairman of the Security Council Dmitry Medvedev during its rebranding.
No less exotic assumption was made by some publicists, who called Zhirinovsky’s successor Vitaly Milonov, apparently focusing on the outrageousness of his statements.
It is also assumed that the Liberal Democratic Party will be absorbed by United Russia or merged with some “right-wing” party (however, there are no such people in the Duma except for the New People). Opinions about merging with the brand of another “right” party are held, for example, by the director of the Center for Regional Policy Development Ilya Grashchenkov, who believes that the leadership project has no prospects in the event of the departure of its leader.
Our source in the Duma on Friday partially confirmed the assumptions of MP Mikhail Delyagin.
Thus, among the possible candidates was named Vasily Vlasov, a clear favorite of the leader of the Liberal Democratic Party. Vlasov was constantly close to Zhirinovsky, and even at the sittings of the lower house of parliament their seats were close. However, he does not have to be taken seriously: he is clearly not a competitor due to his youth and inexperience. He simply does not have enough political weight to lead and hold the Liberal Democratic Party.
Another “young leader” is Boris Chernyshov. He was also noticed and praised by Vladimir Wolfovich, but he is again inexperienced, and most importantly (which, of course, is important for a party of this type), “as a speaker is not very good.”
Among experienced party members and deputies, our source named Alexei Didenko. He has always received good positions and really has weight in the party. However, it is almost unknown to the general public and, as they say, not bright at all.
The most likely successor is Yaroslav Nilov. A deputy of several convocations, he headed important committees in the Duma and now heads the Committee on Labor and Social Policy. He is, so to speak, Zhirinovsky’s confidant. It is well known to the media that all questions to Zhirinovsky and the Liberal Democratic Party from the press have been “closed” to him lately. In addition, Yaroslav Nilov is able to speak brightly. Until now, he has usually spoken on “non-political” topics, but his speeches have been covered by the media and found a response in public. Now that Vladimir Zhirinovsky has been hospitalized, Nilov has taken on the role of political speaker. It may not look very organic yet, but the trouble has begun.