When Playboy interviewer Jennifer Gould sat down with Russian ultranationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky, she figured there would be some talk about sex.
What she didn’t expect, the free-lance writer says, was “blatant sexual harassment.” Gould says Zhirinovsky repeatedly urged her and her 20-year-old female translator to have sex with him and his two young male bodyguards. And it’s all on tape.
“We’ll understand one another better if you undress right now,” Zhirinovsky told Gould. “You will lie on these little beds, and these boys will caress you. And I will be listening to you and continue talking myself. … “
Praising group sex, Zhirinovsky said, “It’s the best when it’s with a group. There are four of you here. You have to show me love for four. I love to watch more.” At yet another point, he said: “I can join you later during the process. For me it’s a way to get excited.”
Kind of makes the Jimmy Carter “lust in my heart” Playboy interview seem tame.
The flamboyant Zhirinovsky stunned the West in 1993 when his far-right party finished first in Russia’s first parliamentary elections.
These interviews took place over six days last August and will be published in Playboy’s March issue. Gould, 27, a Moscow-based Canadian reporter who often writes for the Toronto Star, persuaded Zhirinovsky to waive his usual $15,000 interview fee.
Gould said this week that she “never felt physically threatened” in Zhirinovsky’s private quarters. While he seemed to enjoy making outrageous comments, Gould said, she believes he would have happily accommodated her if she had agreed to his proposal.
“I was nervous,” Gould said. “The word `frightened’ even came to mind. He did cross the line, and I made it very clear to him he had crossed the line.
“A lot of it was about power. This could have been one way for him to try to take control of the interview, to make me feel ill at ease.” Gould said Zhirinovsky never touched her but did try to put his arm around the translator, Masha Pavlenko.
Zhirinovsky, who says he’s had sex with more than 200 women, gave Gould and Pavlenko chocolates and brandy. “I told them to come in topless,” he said to his son and the bodyguards.
Zhirinovsky said of Pavlenko: “I have a feeling she is a virgin. … The more contact I have, the more desire I have to touch her hand, to stroke it, to kiss it.”
After the women refused, Zhirinovsky said to them: “Look how selfish you are. You are two healthy women and you don’t want to enter into a healthy relationship with two healthy men. You push them toward war by not letting them enter an intimate relationship.
“If each Chechen would have a woman, there would be no war. That’s why you’re the source of war on the planet.”
In a later attempt, Zhirinovsky said: “You have to do it for the sake of your profession, to get to know better the person you are writing about.”
“But I have told you that I don’t want to,” Gould said.
“But during the coitus I would talk more,” the Russian replied. He predicted that Gould “will write that I’m a sexual maniac.”
Said Gould: “I wanted to break through his standard answers. I got a little more than I anticipated.”