America’s Fallacious Russia Policy, in One Tweet

As Putin clarified in his interview with Tucker Carlson, Russia is not the USSR.

What’s happening: In a post on X, Senator Kevin Cramer (R-ND) called Vladimir Putin the “new Marx” and claimed that Putin intends to restore the Soviet Union. President Biden made a similar accusation in 2022, shortly after Russia invaded Ukraine.

Why it matters: Washington’s erroneous belief that Russia wants to recreate the USSR directs the focus toward Russia as today’s greatest threat and undervalues a more ominous threat — China. The faulty federal focus results from misunderstanding Putin’s goals which are, in reality, limited to his immediate region.

The difference: The USSR was a communist state bent on world revolution. The Russian Federation is a significantly less powerful state with a fundamentally different goal: control over the “Russian world” — territory it considers historically Russian (fuzzily described as Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine).

This isn’t speculation: Putin has constantly critiqued the Soviets. In his recent interview with Carlson, Putin lamented how Lenin “for some inexplicable reason” created Soviet Ukraine, which Putin claimed was the first time a Ukrainian state existed. He levied similar critiques in a 2021 essay.

  • A long history: Putin’s public criticism of the Soviet Union dates back to 2000, when he said, “Whoever does not miss the Soviet Union has no heart, whoever wants it back has no brain.”

Losing focus: By equating Russia with the USSR, Washington is distracted from tangible 21st century threats, like China. China is substantially more powerful than Russia, with an economy 10 times larger.