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Bernie's mystery Soviet tapes revealed

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BURLINGTON, Vt. — It’s 1988 and newlywed Bernie Sanders is in the Soviet Union with his wife, Jane, handing out gifts to the mayor of a midsized city they’ve befriended. The mood is festive as the two bestow the items: A Beatles album, a red “Bernie for Burlington” button, “delicious Vermont candy” and a tape of tunes Sanders recorded himself with fellow artists from Vermont, among other goodies.

“I have met many fine mayors in the United States,” Sanders says, “but I want to say that one of the nicest mayors I've ever met is the mayor of Yaroslavl.”

At another point, a member of Sanders’ delegation hands a Russian woman a small American flag.

“If you’re wondering what’s wrong with capitalism, it’s made in Hong Kong," he jokes. "Sorry about that.”

The scene is part of 3½ hours of raw, never publicly seen footage of the trip Sanders took to the Soviet Union that year — his “honeymoon.” POLITICO viewed the tapes this week, along with a forgotten hourlong episode of a TV show created by Sanders that featured the same trip, at the offices of a Vermont government access channel.

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. The clip featured a shirtless Sanders and other Americans singing “This Land Is Your Land” to their hosts after relaxing in a sauna. A few minutes later, Sanders doled out the gifts to his Russian friends with a towel wrapped around his waist.

https://www.politico.com/story/2019/05/17/bernie-sanders-mystery-soviet-video-revealed-1330347