The video is impossible to forget. At one point, a half-naked Bernie Sanders sits alongside Soviet officials and empty vodka bottles belting out “This Land is Your Land.”
But that’s not all.
Sanders was on a natural high after eeking out a victory as Burlington, Vermont’s first socialist mayor and getting married.
Naturally, he took a 10-day honeymoon to the Soviet Union, a country notorious for its political repression and mass killings.
Per Greenwich Time:
“Let’s take the strengths of both systems,” he said upon completing the trip.
Until now, however, relatively few details about the trip have emerged, and most accounts have relied heavily on Sanders’s recollection. An examination by The Washington Post of the trip – based on interviews with five people who accompanied Sanders, as well as audio and video of it – provides a fresh look at this formative time for Sanders, foreshadowing much of what animates his presidential bid.
As he campaigns for president a second time, Sanders, an Independent who is running in the Democratic primaries, takes credit for moving the party to the left, and he now finds himself competing with candidates who advocate for the kind of activist government positions Sanders touted during his Soviet trip, such as government-sponsored health care for all.
As he stood on Soviet soil, Sanders, then 46 years old, criticized the cost of housing and health care in the United States, while lauding the lower prices – but not the quality – of that available in the Soviet Union. Then, at a banquet attended by about 100 people, Sanders blasted the way the United States had intervened in other countries, stunning one of those who had accompanied him.
Although Sanders today stresses the differences between socialism and democratic socialism, he found a lot in common at the height of the Cold War with communist regimes.