October 23, 2006

The Richest Deputy in the World

The leader of Russian Liberal Democratic Party (LDPR) Vladimir Zhirinovsky managed to spend $612,000 in just three months on postage for correspondence with his party members. That's about $200K a month on mail, or about 500 times the federal limit on postage expenditures which is capped at $370 per month.

The average cost of mailing a letter is about 5 rubles. If you do the math, it comes out that Zhirinovsky's office sent out about 3.2 million letters in the months of June, July and August. The fact these are the months that preceded nationwide Duma elections, we're guessing that he wasn't just reaching out to existing party members. Chances are that most of that cash was spent on printing glossy fliers for his reelection campaign. But this practice isn't news to anyone. According to Moskovskye Novosti, almost every deputy uses their mail expenditure accounts for anything from reelection campaigns to flower baskets for their mistresses. It's not surprising that they overdraw. $370 a month might be enough to send out post cards hundreds of thousands of postcards, but doesn't quite cut it when it comes to gift baskets.

To remedy the situation, Duma deputies are discussing a bill that would raise that sum to a more civilized amount.

Seems like the amount spent by Zhirinovsky for mail for the three months sets a new record among deputies worldwide. We just wonder how long it will take to beat the record. And it woudn't be a surprise if it'd be done by one of the LDPR's members.

Source: http://www.exile.ru/2006-October-20/kompromat_korner.html

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