Footage of a younger Bernie Sanders in the Soviet Union with his wife Jane in 1988 has resurfaced on the internet, showing a different side of the famous senator.
In the video, Sanders is giving gifts to the mayor of a Soviet town and says, “I have met many fine mayors in the United States, but I want to say that one of the nicest mayors I’ve ever met is the mayor of Yaroslavl.”
He seemed to be very generous with the other people in the video. At another point in the footage, he hands a Russian woman a small American flag and says, “If you’re wondering what’s wrong with capitalism, it’s made in Hong Kong… Sorry about that.”
The video is just a clip of 3 and a half hours of raw footage that was taken during Sanders’ trip to the Soviet Union for his honeymoon, but the full footage has not been released to the public.
In 1988, then-mayor of Burlington (Vt.) Bernie Sanders traveled to the Soviet Union to establish a “sister city” relationship with the city of Yaroslavl. / Photo Credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images
Earlier this year, two minutes of the long-lost videos went viral when a staffer at Chittenden County’s Channel 17 posted a compilation of the station’s archival footage online, according to Politico.
In one of the clips, Sanders appears shirtless singing “This Land Is Your Land.”
Some of the scenes in the footage will surely spark questions about Sanders’ loyalty to communism. At one point, Sanders can be seen sitting with his entourage under a portrait of communist figure Vladimir Lenin.
Shirtless Bernie Sanders in the Soviet Union / Photo Credit: Screenshot
Sanders can also be heard speaking with a Russian man in the video, and telling him that he wants to open a Russian studies program in which American students would be taught to speak Russian.
“I’m not very happy about this, but there are not many people in the state of Vermont who speak Russian. In fact, one of the things that we want to do is to see if we can develop a Russian studies program in our high school,” he said.
William Pomeranz, the deputy director of the Wilson Center’s Kennan Institute, said that the videos make Sanders’ trip look crazier than it actually was. Pomeranz says that Sanders’ trip was merely a United States mayor’s attempt to reach out to a nation that the United States had bad relations with.
“It wasn’t as outlandish as it looks in the pictures. It’s the height of Glasnost and Perestroika, where there are genuine efforts by Americans to reach out to Soviet cities and try to establish these relationships. The Soviet Union always treated foreign guests very, very well. They always wanted to show off the best side of their country and that invariably included a big table with a lot of food,” Pomeranz said.
In a speech later that year, Sanders made comments that suggested he wanted to build bridges with nations like the Soviet Union.
“By encouraging citizen-to-citizen exchanges — of young people, artists and musicians, business people, public officials, and just plain ordinary citizens. we can break down the barriers and stereotypes which exist between the Soviet Union and the United States,” he said.
The full video of Sanders’ trip has not been released, and the company in control of the footage says that they have no plans on releasing it to the public.
Bernie Sanders has made a lot of expensive promises during his previous campaign, and a Wall Street Journal report indicated that these promises may not even be financially possible.
According to the numbers released by WSJ, Sanders’ plans would cost roughly 18 trillion dollars, a figure that is about the size of the entire national debt. This means that if these plans were enacted, it would double the current national debt, a feat that may not even be possible under today’s economic circumstances.
To fund his plans, Sanders has suggested large tax increases that would bring in $6.5 trillion over 10 years, which is still not even close to the total number needed. Over a 10 year period of implementing Sander’s proposals, the government would spend a projected $68 trillion.
The plans included a $15 trillion health program, $1.2 trillion in benefit packages, $1 trillion on roads, bridges, and airports, $750 billion on schools, and billions in other expenses.