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In terms of Islamophobia and anti-LGBT repression, Russia makes the United States look like Paradise. Male life expectancy in Russia is six years less than in Brazil and a decade less than in Mexico; its spending on education as a share of GDP is 80 percent that of Mexico and less than three quarters that of Brazil.11 In terms of the size of the public sector, Russian government spending as a percent of GDP is smaller than that of Japan, Greece, the UK, and Spain (and its military spending is a far greater share of its overall government spending than any of these countries).12 Neither in practice nor in inspiration nor even in rhetoric does current-day Russia reflect left values.

So why then the left enthusiasm for Russia?

For some, no doubt, it’s simply nostalgia. The U.S. Peace Council, a slavish Moscow tool during the Cold War, fondly recalls the Soviet alliance with the Baathist regime in Syria under Hafez al-Assad, and so perhaps it’s a simple move to glorify Russian support today for the successor to the Assad dynasty. (And thus the Peace Council’s awful propaganda trip to Damascus and subsequent participation in Syrian-government sponsored propaganda events.13)

But wistful longing for the glory days of the Soviet Union doesn’t explain most left attachment to Russia. Instead it’s the pernicious doctrine of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” that unfortunately has permeated large sectors of the left.

full: http://newpol.org/content/russia-and-left

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