Democratic presidential front-runner Bernie Sanders likes to market himself as a wise old man who just happens to have clown hair but is right about everything, such as the War in Iraq. Yet his opposition to the Iraq War was dictated not by cool-headed geopolitical calculations, but the lifelong habit of romancing American enemies — as is typical for communism-lovers.
The recently surfaced press conference Sanders gave following his return from his honeymoon in Yaroslavl, USSR, is a great example of leftist naïveté about totalitarian regimes. For Bernie to fawn over Soviet culture the way he did indicates a staggering degree of incuriosity. I was only 15 and growing up in Kharkiv, now Ukraine, when the couple visited the USSR, and I’m not impressed when I watch Sanders sing Moscow’s praises.
Start with the metro. Sanders said at the time, “The stations themselves were very beautiful, including many works of art, chandeliers that were beautiful. It was a very, very effective system.”
It’s slightly creepy that Joseph Stalin initiated the tradition of building chthonian palaces underneath Soviet cities. The stations are beautiful, no doubt, but effectiveness is a whole different matter. Coverage was so-so, and the rush hour commute was a nightmare, so Sanders’ classification of the stations as “effective” is puzzling. People stuffed into trains like sardines.
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