In Bureaucracy, History, Military, Politics, Social commentary on February 7, 2023 at 12:18 am

What does it take to become a celebrity in Vladimir Putin’s Russia?    

If you’re Right-wing Lauren Boebert (R-CO), all it took was to refuse to stand and applaud Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky when he spoke to Congress on December 21, 2022.

Since February 24, 2022, Zelensky has led Ukraine against a brutal, unprovoked invasion by Russia. 

Boebert’s refusal to salute Zelensky got her hailed as “brave” on Russian state TV. 

Also up for kudos from the Kremlin: Alleged anti-Communists Fox News commentator Tucker Carlson and Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) for insulting the man who has been compared with Winston Churchill in resisting aggression.

Referring to the famous sweatshirt worn by Zelensky while addressing Congress, the Right-wing Carlson told his viewers: “As far as we know, no one’s ever addressed the United States Congress in a sweatshirt before, but they love him much more than they love you.”

Volodymyr Zelensky (51941720577) (cropped).jpg

Volodymyr Zelensky

President Of Ukraine from Україна, PDM-owner, via Wikimedia Commons

After Carlson said that Zelenskyy’s attire made him look like “the manager of a strip club,” Kremlin state TV mocked the Ukrainian president as “a man in cargo pants.”

Russian TV host and Kremlin propagandist Dmitry Kiselyov said: “Congress members Gaetz and Boebert didn’t clap. They demonstratively remained seated and didn’t jump up. You can feel the fatigue in Washington over the boundless aid to Ukraine.”

After Zelensky’s speech, Gaetz wrote on Twitter: The Ukrainian leader should be “commended for putting his country first.” But American politicians “who indulge his requests are unwilling to do the same for ours.”

There was a time—from the end of World War II in 1945 to the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991—when any Democrat who was praised by Russian authorities was instantly labeled a “Commie,” “Comsymp” or “fellow-traveler” by Republicans.

No more.

Russians—led by Putin—now openly identify with the causes favored by the radical Right. And the Right has enthusiastically responded with gratitude.

On October 9, 2022, Putin expressed anti-gay/lesbian views after he annexed four Eastern Ukrainian regions as Russian territory.

“Do we want to have, here, in our country, in Russia, parent number one, number two, number three instead of mom and dad? Have they gone mad out there? Do we really want perversions that lead to degradation and extinction to be imposed on children in our schools from the primary grades?

“To be drummed into them that there are various supposed genders besides women and men, and to be offered a sex change operation? Do we want all this for our country and our children? For us, all this is unacceptable, we have a different future, our own future?”

Vladimir Putin 17-11-2021 (cropped).jpg

Vladimir Putin 

Kremlin.ru, CC BY 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0&gt;, via Wikimedia Commons

Ron DeSantis—the Florida Governor who has declared war on the state’s gays and lesbians—could not have said it better.

During the Trump administration, Republicans attacked gay marriage as a threat to families, religion, and social order. Republicans have tried to ban any discussion of gays and lesbians from schools and have falsely accused them of preying on heterosexuals like vampires.

Such rhetoric has paid off for Russia. In February, 2022, Steve Bannon, former advisor to Trump, said Americans should support “anti-woke” Putin because of Putin’s long history of anti-gay/lesbian politics

Bannon said that Russian people “still know which bathroom to use,” know that there are only two genders, they don’t fly Pride flags and “they don’t have boys swimming in girls’ college swim meets.”

“There is an attraction to Putin’s hardline authoritarian stance and his aggressive foreign policy,” said  Devin Burghart, president of the Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights.

“Others are attracted to the brand of traditionalist Christianity Putin has expressed. Some like Putin’s attacks on the Russian LGBTQ community.”

The topmost Republican to praise Putin has been Donald Trump—before and after he reached the Presidency.  Despite insulting literally hundreds of people verbally and on Twitter, Trump has never given the slightest criticism of Putin.

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Donald Trump

On the eve of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine—on February 24, 2022—Trump told a gathering at his estate in Mar-a-Lago, Florida: “Putin is smart. He’s taken over a country for two dollars’ worth of sanctions. I’d say that’s pretty smart.”

Another Right-winger to praise Russia and damn Ukraine has been Fox News host Tucker Carlson: 

“Hating Putin has become the central purpose of America’s foreign policy …Very soon, that hatred of Vladimir Putin could bring the United States into a conflict in Eastern Europe,.

“Before that happens, it might be worth asking yourself, since it is getting pretty serious: What is this really about? Why do I hate Putin so much? Has Putin ever called me a racist? Has he threatened to get me fired for disagreeing with him?”

Part of Carlson’s segment was rebroadcast on Russian state television. 

Putin has also received strong support from American evangelicals. During the 1990s, they began noticing Russia’s renewed embrace of Christianity in the aftermath of the Cold War.

“Russian leadership post-communism was embracing this idea of Russia as a Christian nation,” said Sarah Posner, author of UNHOLY: Why White Evangelicals Worship at the Altar of Donald Trump.

Autocrats like Putin, she said, “are seen as model leaders now that America has become too liberal.” 

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