This isn't the first time I've heard a politically conservative radio talk show host refer to Putin as a Communist. I had always let it slide; with hindsight, I should have gone to my blog to name the host and call out what is a whopper of a lie, as I'm doing now and will do whenever I hear the lie repeated again.
As everyone in a large swath of the world outside the United States knows, Putin is anti-Communist -- profoundly so.
In fact, many of the anti-Putin street protests staged in Russia are done by Russian Communists who want to reinstate a Communist government in Russia.
In the same segment Rush called Putin a dictator. Putin has a very active Russian political class to deal with. A considerable number in that class have been angry at him for years because they view his many attempts to get along with NATO governments as dangerously weak and an invitation to Western provocations. Every time those Russians perceive what they consider another instance of NATO aggression against Russia, they say, 'I told you so' and point the finger of blame at Putin. This means Putin has had to trod a peril-ridden path through Russian politics.
If Rush Limbaugh wants to consider that kind of behavior a sign of a dictator, that's his opinion. But he is telling an untruth when he calls Putin a Communist. The untruth, broadcast on the most influential radio talk show in America, makes it just that much harder for President Trump and his administration to work with the Kremlin on a host of vital issues. That is a tragedy, not only for Americans and Russians but for the entire world.
The question is whether Rush knows the truth and chose to lie in order to score a cheap political point, or whether someone told him the lie and he believed it.
As to whether Rush was simply misinformed -- what does he have a staff for? I wouldn't expect Rush or his assistants to know that Putin dedicated a monument to Stalin's victims (over the opposition of Russian Stalinists) even though the news was widely reported in Europe in 2017. But one doesn't need to read far into Wikipedia's article on Putin to come across this quote:
In 1999, Putin described communism as "a blind alley, far away from the mainstream of civilization".In brief, even the slightest effort to be informed about Vladimir Putin turns up that he is not a Communist and that he is actually anti-Communist.
The irony is that Rush Limbaugh has been at the forefront of American media figures who decry the 'Russiagate' hoax perpetrated by the Democratic Party, which demonized Donald Trump as a Russian collaborator and on the basis of no evidence.
American supporters of Donald Trump have been justifiably outraged about the lies of Russiagate -- yet this was after many of them repeated lies about Vladimir Putin and Russians in general that had been circulating in the U.S. for decades. So the best I can say to those Americans, including Rush Limbaugh, is what goes around comes around.