“Bernie Sanders was lucky to be able to get to the Soviet Union in 1988 before the entire system collapsed.”
Sen. Bernie Sanders often encourages Americans to look to Sweden as a model for how a government should treat its people.
However, on Monday, a former Swedish prime minister went out of his way to mistreat Sanders on Twitter. In response to a viral video of the Vermont independent gushing about the Soviet Union in 1988, Carl Bildt all but called Sanders naive.
“Bernie Sanders was lucky to be able to get to the Soviet Union in 1988 and praise all its stunning socialist achievements before the entire system and empire collapsed under the weight of its own spectacular failures,” the accomplished diplomat said.
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For context, Bildt is a vehemently anti-Soviet politician in a country that sees Russia as an imminent military threat. He is also a believer in free markets who in 1991 became the first conservative leader of his country in six decades, serving until 1994.
It was a follow-up by the conservative Twitter account to a tweet of a 1984 clip that shows Sanders, then the mayor of Burlington, Vermont, praising the Soviet-backed governments of Cuba and Nicaragua. Sanders also recounts how he had recently visited the Nicaraguan government, made up of socialist revolutionaries, and advised them on how to “manipulate” Americans through the media.
Similarly, in the Soviet-themed video, Sanders discusses a recent trip to Moscow, saying he is impressed with their public transportation, which he calls “very very effective,” and their youth programs, which he says “go far beyond what we do in this country.”
The democratic socialist also goes on at length about an “absolutely beautiful” theater he visited in Russia, marveling that it had a “puppeteer area” and tickets only cost the equivalent of $1.50.
Just a few years later, the Soviet Union collapsed under the weight of its stagnant political and economic systems.
While Sanders no longer openly endorses authoritarian communist regimes, he does like to hold up Sweden and its Scandinavian neighbors as examples of a big welfare state supposedly done right.
“I think we should look to countries like Denmark, like Sweden, and Norway, and learn from what they have accomplished for their working people,” Sanders said during a 2016 presidential debate against Hillary Clinton.
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