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As someone who once hunkered down in the school hallway for atomic bomb drills, the reversal of conservative attitudes toward Russia is fascinating. What made Communism abhorrent was its attacks on religion and private property. Russia has since reverted to its old role of state-controlled theocracy, with the Church in the pocket of the czar (er, premier). Our Religious Right is perfectly fine with a pro-forma theocracy that, in fact, allows the privileged to do whatever they like while punishing ostracized groups like gays and the poor.

And Russia was always a kleptocracy, even under Communism. The kleptocrats were the nomenklatura, the caste of mid-level apparatchiks who, on paper, weren’t rich, but who had access to every privilege. If you think that organized crime took root so quickly in Russia, growing out of the pure, innocent soil of Communism, well, I have an Olympic swimming pool of borscht to sell you. Now the kleptocrats have emerged into the open, and of course our own kleptocrats are eager to hop into bed with them.

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