High-ranking congressional Democrat: The world is split between democracy and Putin-led 'authoritarianism'

Russia soldiersSergei Karpukhin/ReutersRussian servicemen, dressed in historical uniform, take part in a military parade rehearsal in Red Square, with St. Basil’s Cathedral seen in the background, in Moscow November 5, 2012. The

The world is now divided between the forces of democracy and authoritarianism in a manner similar to the ideological fissures of the Cold War, the House Intelligence Committee’s leading Democrat said.

Speaking on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Adam Schiff warned that the world is now ideologically split and that Russia’s Putin is leading an authoritarian surge.

“[W]e are seeing a new bipolar world, I think, where you have democracy versus authoritarianism, and Russia now is really carrying the mantle for authoritarian regimes,” DefenseNews reports Schiff said on “Morning Joe.”

That split exists within individual countries in Europe as well. A series of far-right and far-left parties have made electoral gains throughout Europe, particularly in France, Greece, and Hungary. The parties generally espouse an anti-EU stance, a disdain for immigration, nationalist rhetoric, and a desire for a return to conservative values.

Although there is no direct link between these parties and the Russian government, they tend to have roundly complemented Putin and his governance of Russia. Additionally, France’s far-right National Front party received a €9.2 million loan ($US10.3 billion) from the First Czech Russian Bank in Moscow. Although the bank is not government-controlled, its owner is a government-friendly oligarch.

Russia has also offered to sell Iran its Antey-2500 anti-aircraft missiles, Reuters reports, showing that Russia’s support for autocratic political movements goes beyond Europe. The offer was meant to replace a previous anti-aircraft weapons contract that had to be scrapped under Western pressure in 2010.

Despite repeated denials, Russian troops are also alleged to be taking part in military operations in eastern Ukraine. The US military now estimates that there could be upwards of 12,000 Russian soldiers in the country.

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