After reading Joseph Dewey’s July 26 letter I’ve become impressed with my longevity. I never thought I’d live long enough to see an Idaho Republican toady for a Russian dictator. In extolling Mr. Putin’s attributes, Mr. Dewey notes his “85 percent or higher” approval rating and opines that “A Stalinist type tyrant could never achieve this.” I would suggest that high approval ratings come easily when you murder your political opponents. Mr. Dewey’s letter begs another question: How is the Russian Federation different from the old Soviet Union? A few ways: Some of the Soviet “republics” have split from the parent empire, which is good. The Russian Mafia has become a power in international organized crime, which is bad. Mr. Putin’s former employer, the KGB, is now the FSB, which is a BFD. My wife and I just returned from eastern and central Europe, which were under the Soviet boot from 1945 to 1989. We visited sites where the Czech and Hungarian revolutions were put down and talked to locals about the Russians. I suggest that Mr. Dewey do the same. Our president’s common cause with kleptocracy and authoritarianism is no reason to abandon the U.S. policy of Russian containment.
Todd Graeff, Boise