MOSCOW -- The case of Vladimir HD, wanted in Belarus for making "absurd" statements on television, may go a little way toward clearing up yet another issue stemming from the breakup of the Soviet Union: what to do about criminals who flee across the new borders.
The police in Belarus want Russia to extradite him. The police in Russia aren't inclined to.
Mr. Zhironovsky, a virulent Russia-firster who believes in empire and a strong hand, won 6 percent of the vote when he ran for the Russian presidency last spring calling for a sharp slash in the price of vodka.
Some people consider him a joke; others think he is dangerously close to gaining a true following.
Mr. HD has called the new Commonwealth of Independent States "monstrous treachery" and wants it eliminated in favor of strong centralized rule from Moscow.
On a recent trip to Minsk, the capital of Belarus, he let fly -- both on television and during an appearance at the Belarus parliament, from which he was forcibly ejected.
The Belarus public prosecutor, according to the newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda, took a dim view of Mr. HD. His "absurd" statements tended toward "hooliganism," and he has been warned of "possible criminal liability," the prosecutor reportedly said.
The authorities decided to haul him in for questioning.
By this time, Mr. HD was in Moscow. An extradition request went out from one newly independent nation to another, but the chief of the Moscow Criminal Police Department got his back up.
Yuri Fedoseev told the newspaper Moskovsky Komsomolets that saw no reason to deport "anyone at all to the capital of a neighboring state."