“world peace,” or socialism, by whateverrnmeans are necessary to fulfill a nationalrndestiny made inevitable by the dialecticsrnof history. It is unimportant whetherrnthey call themselves “patriots” or “communists,”rnwhether they see Lenin orrnPeter the Great as a demi-god, for allrnnationalists of this stripe see the historyrnof the nation as a continuous progression,rnunder czars and commissars. Polishrndissident Adam Michnik has calledrnnationalism the “final stage” of communism,rnand the extremist coalition of “redbrowns,”rntriumphant in Russia’s Decemberrnelections, is not misnamed.rnVladimir Zhirinovsky has been thernmost notable beneficiary of the redbrownrntriumph. He is colorful, brash,rnand outrageous. His party’s strong showingrnin the December elections shouldrnhelp to dispense with the once widelyrnheld image of him as a clown and buffoon,rna man not to be taken seriously. Ifrnthat did not, then his recently publishedrnautobiography, The Last Drive to thernSouth, should. Zhirinovsky is a man withrna plan, which, according to his book, hernhas mulled over for some time. Zhirinovskyrnwrites that, even as a “small boy,”rnhe was aware of “something great,” anrn”ultimate idea,” which was to guide himrnto great “heights.” He felt that he wouldrnlead Russia to the end point of her history,rnthe “resolution” of her “global task,”rna task that he eventually identified asrnher last “great historical mission,” a missionrnwhich would usher in a period ofrnworld peace and stability.rnThe historical process in which Zhirinovskyrnsees himself as instrumental willrnreach its culmination via the “drive tornthe south,” a Russian Blitzkrieg thatrnwill expand the borders of the Russianrnimperium to the shores of the IndianrnOcean. Russia’s southern border, nowrnracked by conflict, will once and for allrntime be secured by the “pacification” ofrnthe barbaric Georgians, Azeris, Turks,rnIranians, and Afghans. Thus will Russiarn(and the world) be saved from the “Islamicrnthreat,” thus will she resist beingrn”driven into the tundra” where “nothingrncan breathe and develop.” Russia will bernfreed of the threat of extinction inherentrnin her existence in an “unviable region,”rnmeaning the northern latitudes where arntruncated Russia is confined. She willrngain a warm-water “platform,” an accessrnto the world’s markets by the hospitablernwaters of the Mediterranean Sea and thernIndian Ocean. Russia’s allies India andrnIraq (this explains Zhirinovsky’s personalrnfriendship with Saddam Hussein andrnhis party’s willingness to send “volunteers”rnto help defend this ally wheneverrnAmerica threatens him) will act asrnguardians of Russia’s flanks, and thernworld will naturally be divided intornspheres of influence by the great powers,rnensuring stability and world peace in thern21st century.rn”I dream of Russian soldiers washingrntheir boots in the warm waters of the IndianrnOcean and switching to summerrnuniforms forever,” he writes. Russia willrnthereby “insure stability throughout ourrnregion,” which will serve “the wodd communityrnas a whole.” The future Russiarnwill “grow rich” as a result of “the north”rnmatching its “heavy industry” with thern”raw materials” of “the south.”rnZhirinovsky acknowledges somernrough spots on the way to the millennium,rnsince there will naturally bernresistance, and once the “drive” is an accomplishedrnfact, part of the south’srnpopulation “will migrate to the northrnin a quest for work. Unfortunately, somernof it will die because the south does notrncurrently have sufficient medicines.”rnThis unpleasantness, in Zhirinovsky’srneyes, is merely a phase of “natural survival,rnassimilation, and adaptation” onrnthe way to a “world order” based uponrnhis notion of spheres of influence, which,rnin the era of the global economy, willrnestablish a true “economic order,” thusrnrationalizing world affairs.rnThe last drive to the south, the consolidationistrnphase of Zhirinovsky’srnGrand Vision, will be preceded by thernrestoration of the Russian Empire withinrnboundaries similar to those under thernimperial regime, a restoration whose firstrncause is the humiliation that the Russianrnpeople have experienced since the disintegrationrnof the Soviet Union. Indeed,rnthe grand themes of The Last Drive tornthe South are humiliation, restoration,rnand consolidation. These themes arernlinked to the historical process thatrnwill culminate in the “last drive”: humiliationrngiving way in the short term tornrestoration, while in the long term consolidationrnwill bring prosperity and tranquillity.rnIn The Last Drive to the South, Zhirinovskyrnlinks his life and fate to thernfuture of the Russian nation: his ownrnhumiliation is a metaphor for the humiliationrnof all Russians. He repeatedlyrnreminds his readers of the crushingrnpoverty he was raised in, of the discriminationrnhe claims he experienced at thernhands of ethnic minorities, of the dullrnteachers (usually Jews) who deliberatelyrnblocked the advancement of a bright butrnoverly independent student, of the hideboundrnbureaucrats who did not recognizernor appreciate his intelligence andrnpotential, and of the “toadies” whornLIBERAL ARTSrn—pm^rnZHIRINOVSKY ON THE U.N.rn”Why do we Europeans need an intcmationa] orgam/ahoii like the United Nafiora?rnIt is A collection of states irovn the age of the ox cart Africa, Latin America, Austrsdia,rnNew Zealand, Indonesia—why .should 1 be interested m their problems? They ate atrnthe other end of the earth.”rn—from an interview with Vladimir Zhirinovsky conductedrnby a CHASA Moscow news, correspondentrn)ULY 1994/29rnrnrn