Putin takes ‘nuclear football’ to funeral of Russian politician who revealed date of invasion
Vladimir Putin took his ‘nuclear football’ to the funeral of a far-right politician at a Moscow cathedral today, raising fears of a potential attack.
The Russian leader was accompanied by a man in a suit carrying the briefcase that can launch a ranged attack, during the open coffin ceremony for ultranationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky.
Mourners were also evacuated when the president paid tribute to Zhirinovsky, showing his fears of an assassination attempt at the Cathedral of Christ the Savior.
Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a farewell ceremony for the late leader of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR) Vladimir Zhirinovsky
Putin took his ‘nuclear football‘ to the funeral at a Moscow cathedral today, raising fears of a potential attack
“For Vladimir Putin, the room where people said goodbye to Zhirinovsky was completely empty of people – even relatives sitting on chairs,” Telegram channel VCHK-OGPU reported.
Putin held a bouquet of red roses and placed them at the foot of the coffin before making the sign of the cross.
At the same time, his troops carried out their last savage attack on Ukraine, killing 30 civilians and wounding 100 in a rocket strike on a train station.
The strike took place at the busy Kramatorsk train station, with graphic images on Friday showing bodies strewn on the ground outside, lying among abandoned luggage and children’s pushchairs.
Today’s funeral in Moscow was held for Zhirinovsky, who died of ‘Covid’ after revealing the exact date of the Russian invasion.
Putin held a bouquet of red roses and placed them at the foot of the coffin before making the sign of the cross
Mourners were also evacuated as the president paid tribute to Zhirinovsky
Today’s funeral in Moscow was held for Zhirinovsky, who died of ‘Covid’ after giving the exact date of the Russian invasion
When former President Dmitry Medvedev paid his respects, armed guards were posted in front of the coffin, but not for Putin
The 75-year-old died just weeks after announcing the date of the invasion, despite boasting that he had received eight Covid injections since August 2020.
He was admitted to hospital “seriously ill” with the virus on February 2, six weeks after predicting almost exactly when Putin would eventually invade Ukraine.
On December 22, 2021, he told MPs in a speech that the invasion would begin on February 22, although it actually began on the evening of February 23, and announced a “new direction in Russian foreign policy”.
It was Zhirinovsky’s last speech in the State Duma and his disappearance came amid rumors that he had annoyed the Kremlin by announcing an invasion that Putin wanted to keep quiet about.
State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin said Zhirinovsky died after “serious and prolonged illness” and observed a minute’s silence with deputies in the house.
Zhirinvosky, a candidate in all but one post-Soviet presidential election in Russia, told MPs before falling ill: “Russia will finally be a great country again. And everyone must shut up and respect our country.
Vladimir Zhirinovsky, 75 (pictured speaking in the State Duma on December 22, 2021) was admitted to hospital ‘seriously ill’ with the virus days after predicting almost exactly when Putin would eventually invade Ukraine, according to Russian media
“Otherwise they will lock us up and destroy the Russians first in Donbass and then in western Russia. Let us therefore support the new direction of Russian foreign policy.
Zhirinovsky founded the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia – a name that belied his xenophobic views – in 1991 as the Soviet Union was breaking up, and the group became the country’s first officially recognized opposition party.
He has made outrageous and headline-grabbing statements during his career, including threats to launch nuclear weapons against various countries and to seize Alaska from the United States.
He also called on Moscow to expand Russia’s borders to the point where its soldiers could “wash their boots in the warm waters of the Indian Ocean.”
Vladimir Zhirinovsky gave his last speech in December and his disappearance came amid rumors he had annoyed the Kremlin by announcing an invasion that Putin (pictured together in September 2016) wanted to keep quiet about
Apparently, the Liberal Democrats provided political competition; in practice, he supported it when it mattered, such as during the annexation of Crimea to Ukraine in 2014. Zhirinovsky also proved useful to the Kremlin by issuing radical views to test public reaction.
His career took off in 1991 when he won a surprise third place in a presidential election won by Boris Yeltsin. Although later accounts hold that the formation of his party was a KGB project to divert legitimate opposition sentiment into ineffective channels.
In its early years, the party had a significant presence in parliament. He won the largest vote share in the 1993 parliamentary elections and won 64 seats in the 450-member State Duma, but his prominence steadily declined, and after the 2021 elections the party had fallen to 21 seats.
Although the party’s influence waned, Zhirinovsky remained a living figure whose comments were received with enthusiasm or revulsion but rarely with indifference.