AS IN 1993, THE NATIONALIST VLADIMIR Zhirinovsky has been a noisy and visible contender in the campaign leading up to the 17 December elections to the State Duma. With his Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR) having captured nearly one-quarter of the vote in the last parliamentary elections, Zhirinovsky has predicted even greater success this year. However, Russians disenchanted with "traditional" political parties may no longer support his party. Like all beneficiaries of a protest vote, Zhirinovsky is now a prisoner of his own rhetoric.

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