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Russia is no refuge.

Ever since the megalomaniac Lenin took his train ride out of hiding and back to Moscow in 1917, Russia has been a malevolant force. An empty shell of a nation, it is the largest in geographical terms and one of the coldest – much of its lands are beyond tthe arctic circle. It has a population scarcely twice that of Poland and delusions of an economic grandeur that never was. Stalin sought to recreate the Tsarist Empire and today the East European states within the European Union measure their freedom from 1991 – the year the last hated soviet soldier left.

Absent any economic development – its sole significant trade is in oil. Run like a mafia fiefdom Russian oligarchs sequester funds overseas and Putin, the ringleader, like Bannon Trump’s strategic advisor, seeks to destabilise Russia’s former vassal states and E.U. member nations by sponsoring, supporting and boosting nationalist populist parties wherever he can. Latvia for example, a beautiful little nation with a population of some 2 million now growing economically at 3% a year, is subjected to regular hazing with fake news and radio interference.

Shockingly, given Russia’s egregious and evil record, many of the despots emerging within Europe – Poland, Hungary, Austria and Turkey – are attracted to its influence. Now Italy, the largest critically indebted nation of the EU, is under the spotlight.

Matteo Salvini already the loudest of the new nationalists, leader of the hard right Italian League is accused of negotiating Russian funding to aid his fascist party in the recent European elections. Salvini, like Trump, has proclaimed “no collusion” and for now, like the US president remains teflon shiny.

Salvini has just appointed a fascist eurosceptic as his Minister for European Affairs. They remain open admirers of Russia and its leader:”He defends his people and his homeland…America First, Russia First and today…Italy First.”

In a world confronting global challenges, nationalism is little more than a drug for the ignorant that adds a new dimensioin of misery after a cheap and short lived high. Russia, Putin and Communism are made up of evil, of great and small lies – they are no refuge for the makers of our future.

Have a good day, James.