State Sen. Tom Whatley (R-Auburn) has unique insight into the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

From 2005 to 2007, Whatley served in the U.S. Army at the Office of the Defense Attaché at the U.S. Embassy in Bucharest, Romania.

During an interview with Mobile radio FM Talk 106.5's "The Jeff Poor Show," the Lee County Republican lawmaker said there were reminders of the authoritarian regime that controlled Romania prior to the fall of the Soviet Empire.

"It was evident, only 15 years removed from the totalitarian dictatorship of [Nicolae] Ceaușescu, you could still see the effects of communism, socialism and repression," Whatley said. "But you could also see the joy and life that the people had in coming to work every day, making their own decisions about where they work, making their decisions about what [they] ate, making their own decision about where they live."

Whatley recounted a discussion with one of his Romanian counterparts about the control the government had over the individual and warned it was a direction Democrats in Washington, D.C. were taking the country.

"You see that with the Democratic Party now in Washington, not necessarily here in Alabama, but in Washington," Whatley said. "You see that. That's what's going on with [Joe] Biden and Kamala Harris and socialist tendencies, wanting to make us a socialist nation, and I'm going to fight against that every day I can."

Whatley said his post in Romania was within 400 miles of where the fighting in Ukraine was currently underway. He also said he did not see a desire to return to communism, which was what he said Russian President Vladimir Putin offered. 

"I don't see the willingness to go back," Whatley said. "I saw the people in Romania ... and the Ukraine while I was there, and Hungary, while I was there, [kept] moving forward, [kept] moving forward with capitalist tendencies and doing things for themselves. I think the biggest thing is they got to make their decisions every day when they woke up without fear of the government coming back on them with some type of repressive action against them or their family. That is what Vladimir Putin brings, and that is what Joe Biden is letting him do."

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