MOSCOW, Nov 4: Barack Obama is the “American Gorbachev” who will ultimately destroy the United States, militant Russian nationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky said on Tuesday.

Credited in the West for leading the former Soviet Union away from Cold War confrontation, Mikhail Gorbachev, now 77, is vilified by many at home for presiding over the collapse of the Soviet Union and ushering in harsh economic reforms.

“Obama, he is the American Gorbachev, he will destroy America, it will not be rebuilt,” Zhirinovsky said at a meeting of the ultra-nationalist party he founded, according to Russian news agency Interfax.

Zhirinovsky, a 62-year old populist, was one of the best-known challengers to Dmitry Medvedev in last March’s Russian presidential poll.

Zhirinovsky is popular among Russians for his brash, often comical style as he attacks foreigners and Communists.

His Liberal Democratic Party came a distant third in parliamentary elections this year which saw the United Russia party of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin score a landslide victory.—AFP

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