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The Donald Trump-Vladimir Putin connection, whatever it turns out to be, reminds me of another Russian Vladimir.

putin trump wikileaks

Putin's Poodle—Berry Craig

Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov--he’s better known by his revolutionary handle, Nikolai Lenin.

On April 3, 1917, Lenin famously arrived by train at the Finland Station in Petrograd (now St. Petersburg again) to take charge of the revolutionary Bolsheviks.

Lenin and the Bolsheviks—communists—seized power in November, 1917—October by the old Russian calendar. They laid the foundation for the Soviet Union.

So what’s this got to do with Trump and Putin?

Evidence from U.S. intelligence agencies is growing stronger that those Russian cyberattacks against the Democrats—evidently approved by Putin—may have helped Trump win the presidency. A Washington Post editorial accused Russia, “a hostile power,” of “a brazen and unprecedented attempt … to covertly sway the outcome of a U.S. presidential election through the theft and release of material damaging to Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.”

In 1917, Russia was a “hostile power” fighting on the Allied side against Germany in World War I. Kaiser Wilhelm II’s government brazenly and unprecedentedly got Lenin home from exile in Switzerland so he could start a revolution and pull Russia out of the war.

Lenin was the Kaiser’s means to an end.

Putin obviously wants to strengthen Russia at America’s expense. He evidently sees Trump as a handy helper.

History really doesn’t repeat itself. “What repeats itself is human foolishness, greed, and simple stupidity,” said Dr. Kenneth Wolf, an author and professor of history at Murray, Ky., State University.

Lenin, the tough, calculating revolutionary, likewise accepted help from reactionary capitalist Germany as a means to his end: a communist revolution.

Lenin and the Kaiser were skilled practitioners of power politics. While Putin is diabolical, Trump looks more like a dupe. Trump has been dubbed “the Siberian candidate.”

Trump, who has spent months fawning over Putin, had done nothing to ally suspicions from Democrats, and even a few Republicans, that Putin indeed helped him win on November 8.

Anyway, it may never be known if the Trump campaign was in cahoots with Russia or WikiLeaks. Or, to paraphrase that old Beatles song, he might have just gotten by with a little help from his friends.

Yet there’s no denying that Putin and WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange, a fugitive from justice, despise Hillary Clinton. They clearly wanted Trump to be president.

Trump, who has spent months fawning over Putin, had done nothing to ally suspicions from Democrats, and even a few Republicans, that Putin indeed helped him win on November 8.

Trump is still doubting Russian involvement in the election. The president-elect thinks it’s time “to move on to bigger and better things.” The Post editorial argues, it’s “not time to move on.”

Old guard Republican cold warriors must be spinning in their graves over Trump and Putin, the ex-KGB guy. The red-baiters loved to accuse the Democrats of being “soft on communism.” They lambasted liberals as “com-symps,” “pinkos” and “fellow travelers.”

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Ronald Reagan famously slammed the Soviet Union as “the evil empire.”

I wonder what The Gipper would make of fellow Republicans who so hate Democrats that they’re willing to play footsie with Putin, or at least give him the benefit of the doubt?

“… Admiration for Putinism isn’t unusual in Mr. Trump’s party,” Paul Krugman wrote in The New York Times last July. “Well before the Trump candidacy, Putin envy on the right was already widespread.”

The pundit wondered, “… what would the news media be saying if major figures in the Democratic Party routinely praised leftist dictators? But what we’re now seeing from Mr. Trump and his associates goes beyond emulation, and is starting to look like subservience.”

Indeed. “Putin’s poodle” is another Trump moniker.

Like Trump, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is less than gung-ho for a deep dive into Putin’s part, whatever it was, in the presidential election.

The Machiavellian McConnell is dean of the might-makes-right, winning-is-all-that counts school of politics. He’s the guy who, in 2010, famously said, “Our top political priority over the next two years should be to deny President Obama a second term.”

Politics always counts more than patriotism with McConnell. Alec MacGillis aptly titled his McConnell biography The Cynic.

McConnell was cool to Trump in the primaries but happily hopped on the Trump bandwagon when he won. He has since made the Trump pep squad.

Wolf, a Democrat who voted for Clinton, pointed out that other Republicans agree with Democrats who are all-in for an all-out investigation of what Putin might have been up to in the election. He named Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.

He said they’re not “Trump sycophants like Romney and others in his new administration” and thus “could be crucial to any attempt to slow Trump down.”

Of course, besides the Kaiser and Lenin and Putin and Trump, there are other examples of how politics makes strange bedfellows. In 1939, Nazi German dictator Adolf Hitler and Soviet Communist dictator Joseph Stalin agreed not to fight each other in World War II. They did it to buy time to annihilate each other.

In any event, if there was collusion between Putin’s covert computer-hackers and the Trump campaign, the Russian tyrant will wield unprecedented power over an American president. Putin would hold the Trump card: Do as I say on NATO, the Middle East—whatever—or I’ll WikiLeak all over you.

If Trump dared cross Putin, and Putin punished Trump by ratting him out, even McConnell would jump off the Trump ship, if for no other reason than to save his own hide.

Krugman says Trump’s motives toward Putin “shouldn’t matter. We should be horrified at the spectacle of a major-party candidate casually suggesting that he might abandon American allies — just as we should be horrified when that same candidate suggests that he might welsh on American financial obligations. But there’s something very strange and disturbing going on here, and it should not be ignored.”

Wolf is with Krugman. “It doesn't matter whether Putin helped Trump; the fact that he tried is clearly the issue. That’s where Democrats and Republicans might get together.”

Trump and McConnell fervently hope this, too, will pass—like King Leer’s lewd and misogynist comments about women caught on tape in 2005.

Berry Craig

If it is proved that Team Trump was collaborating with Putin and Assange to torpedo Clinton, Watergate will seem like a trip to traffic court for double-parking.

Berry Craig