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When Vladimir Zhirinovsky's Liberal Democratic Party won 22.8% of the vote in the Russian parliamentary elections in December 1993, the West gasped. It had previously not taken much notice of the man known for his boorish, bullying behaviour or for his promise to create a dictatorship when elected president, and they had not listened very closely to his threats to expand the borders of Russia to include Alaska and Finland, use large fans to blow radioactive waste into the Baltic states, and reduce crime by instituting summary executions. People did not know if they should take his high-decibel nationalistic comments seriously.