Mikhail Baryshnikov, the famed Russian ballet dancer and actor who defected from the former Soviet Union in 1974, warned in a video released Wednesday that Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump could bring Soviet-style authoritarianism to the United States.
“Take it from one who knows: Hundreds of thousands of people like me have fled countries led by dangerous, totalitarian opportunists ― like Donald Trump,” Baryshnikov says in the video, produced by an organization called Art Not War.
The video is part of a campaign called Humanity for Hillary, in which artists have collaborated to endorse Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and advocate against Trump.
Baryshnikov’s involvement in the campaign draws attention to Trump’s divisive and inciteful rhetoric, as well as his ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has discriminated against LGBT individuals and censored reporters and artists critical of him. Some have been murdered.
“I left a country that built walls to come to a place without them,” Baryshnikov says in the video. “But today, as a citizen of the United States, for the first time, I am hearing rhetoric that reminds me of the Soviet Union of my youth, where it was a crime, and continues to be a crime, to be different.”
Watch the video above.
Editor’s note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims — 1.6 billion members of an entire religion — from entering the U.S.