Russian lawmaker Vladimir Zhirinovsky has died aged 75

Far-right Russian lawmaker Vladimir Zhirinovsky has died aged 75 according to POLITICO. The political “heavyweight” was involved in politics for more than 30 years.

“After a serious and prolonged illness, Vladimir Volfovich Zhirinovsky passed away,” the speaker of the Russian parliament, Vyacheslav Volodin, wrote on Telegram on Wednesday.

“His personality is so large-scale that without him it is difficult to imagine the history of the development of the political system of modern Russia,” Volodin wrote, adding that Zhirinovsky was “a man who deeply understood how the world works and foresaw a lot.”

Among other things, Zhirinovsky garnered attention when he correctly predicted the Russian invasion of Ukraine almost to the exact day.

In December of last year, the parliament member argued that “at 4am on February 22, you’ll feel [a new Russian foreign policy].” The Russian invasion began on February 24.

“2022 will be a non-peaceful year, it will be a year when Russia becomes great again,” he said at the time. The lawmaker was seen as a court jester-type figure in the Duma, Russia’s lower house of parliament but also reportedly provided an “outlet” for grievances of nationalistic Russians.

Zhirinovsky was known for embittered rantings and remaining a loyal member of the opposition. He was hospitalized in February after a serious bout of COVID-19, despite claims that he had eight doses of the coronavirus vaccine.

“Zhirinovsky founded Russia’s far-right Liberal Democratic Party in 1989, and though he remained largely on the political fringe electorally, his party nonetheless came second in the 1993 parliamentary elections, while he came third in three separate presidential elections,” POLITICO reported.

Zhirinovsky celebrated former President Donald Trump’s win in 2016 with a Champagne party, and was himself considered to be “Russia’s Trump,” despite his lifelong career in politics rather than the private sector.

Putin paid tribute to Zhirinovsky after the news of his death, arguing that he “always “defended the patriotic position and the interests of Russia.”