Viktor Bout, the Russian arms vendor freed on Thursday after 14 years in U.S. custody in trade for U.S. basketball star Brittney Griner, has joined the Kremlin-loyal ultranationalist Liberal Democratic Occasion (LDPR), its chief mentioned on Monday.
In a video posted on Telegram, LDPR chief Leonid Slutsky, standing on a stage beside Bout, mentioned: “I wish to thank Viktor Anatolievich (Bout) for the choice he has made and welcome him into the ranks of the very best political occasion in right this moment’s Russia.”
Regardless of its identify, the Liberal Democratic Occasion (LDPR) has since its founding in 1991 espoused a hardline, ultranationalist ideology, demanding Russia reconquer the nations of the previous Soviet Union.
Its founder and long-time chief Vladimir Zhirinovsky gained a fame as a political showman for his outrageous stunts and eccentric behaviour earlier than his dying in April.
Although seen as a severe contender for energy within the Nineties, the LDPR has since assumed a subordinate position in Russia’s political system, offering token opposition to the ruling United Russia bloc whereas backing the Kremlin on most points.
It has a historical past of recruiting controversial personalities into Russian politics. In 2007, Andrei Lugovoy, a former KGB agent needed in Britain for the homicide the earlier yr of Russian ex-spy Alexander Litvinenko was elected to parliament for the LDPR.