Belgium denies visa to invited Russian ultranationalist

BRUSSELS — Belgium has refused to grant an entry visa to Russian ultranationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky because he poses a "possible danger for public order," an Interior Ministry spokesman here said.

Zhirinovsky, leader of the Russian Liberal-Democratic Party, and his Russian delegation had been invited by the European Union to address the European Parliament, the legislative arm of the European Union, this week.

Constanza Krehl, a German Socialist member of the European Parliament, said she had asked for a visa for Zhirinovsky to discuss with him such topics as Chechnya, European security, Bosnia and E.U.-Russian cooperation.

"I understand the Belgian decision, but I fear that this refusal would be misinterpreted" by the Russian public, Krehl reportedly said.

In a recent debate on Bosnia in the Russian Parliament, Zhirinovsky was involved in a brawl with a female colleague.

Last year, he threw plants and spat at Jewish protesters after a meeting with European lawmakers in Strasbourg, France.

Zhirinovsky also has blamed Jews for pushing Russians out of the former Soviet republics.

Pauline Green, chairwoman of the European Socialist group, said she disagreed with the Belgian decision.

"We don't like the man's politics but we were looking forward to the chance to take him on politically," she reportedly said.

Meanwhile, David Duke, a Louisiana Republican and former Ku Klux Klan leader, said he met with Zhirinovsky two weeks ago in Russia.

Duke, a former Louisiana state legislator who has aspired to become president of the United States, said he and Zhirinovsky had a lot in common. Duke was reportedly in Russia to help a Louisiana missionary who has been under house arrest there in connection with alleged currency violations.