The Communist bloc was locked in a Cold War with the Western world for much of the twentieth century. It's no surprise then that Western, and especially American, media tends to portray Communists as the baddies. Sometimes, however, fiction shows Communists in a more positive light - or at least, one more positive than that in which the Nazis will ever be portrayed (despite former Nazis similarly becoming American allies - and citizens! - during the Cold War). Maybe agents or soldiers from East and West have to team up to face a greater threat, collectively raising their Hammers and Sickles to defend their people rather than conquering others. Sometimes a non-Communist will find out that the Commies are Not So Different once they get to know them. And sometimes, Western media will simply show Communists to be genuinely decent people who happen to favour a different social and economic system. Though obviously virtually nonexistent in the Cold War, this was the default portrayal of the Soviet Union during World War II, during which the United States, Britain, and the Soviet Union fought on the same side against Nazi Germany. American propaganda of the time heavily emphasized the "strong leadership" and "great industry" of the Soviet Union, while conveniently ignoring the atrocities committed by the Soviet leaders. As a result, many Americans and Brits who were critical of the Soviet Union—including George Orwell—found it impossible to get their work published because supporting the Soviet Union was seen as necessary for the war effort. Note that this trope applies only to non-Communist media, since it's a given for works actually produced in Socialist countries. Also, when there's a political system involved and not just individual characters, the trope applies only if the system is portrayed positively. It can also apply to Communists who live in a non-Socialist country. Compare Heroic Russian Émigré, when the commies are actually bad, but the Russian White émigrés who escaped them are portrayed as good guys. Contrast Dirty Commies, Red Scare, Commie Nazis, Hollywood History. Interestingly, the Token Enemy Minority can overlap with this trope.
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Anime and Manga
- In a manner similar to the American-written Soviet superheroes below, Black Lagoon's own Balalaika, head of the Russian mob, may count, albeit an Affably Evil version of this: she is an ex-captain in the Soviet Airborne Troops, and almost certainly an ex-Communist Party member (the party itself may be illegal in her time), and is downright chummy and friendly with the Lagoon Company's employees on most occasions.
- Soviet pilot Jung Freud in Gunbuster is a uniformed officer and a patriotic communist (of either the Eurasian or East German variety), though her initial prickliness is owed more to her appointed role as the main character's competitor in romance and combat than anything ideological, and she very quickly becomes one Noriko's dear friend.
- Various characters in Monster who were formerly members of the rank and file in the Eastern bloc, and continue to maintain some loyalty to the old socialist system, are portrayed as well-intentioned and/or reasonable, if still generally flawed in their methods. For instance, General Wolf and his men aid and encourage Tenma in his quest to seek out and kill Johan Liebert (since Wolf was the one who saved Johan and his twin sister from death during his time as an East German border patrol officer and then left Johan in the care of 511 Kinderheim, thereby allowing Johan to continue and expand on his reign of terror), while the leader of the criminal remnants of the Czechoslovakian secret police, Karel Ranke, prefers negotiating with Tenma and Grimmer for access to the contents of a certain tape rather than torturing or killing them in pursuit of this information, and later willingly consents to providing Inspector Lunge with information about the Red Rose Mansion and what occurred there.
- The Rocket Red Brigade from the DC Universe.
- Gu Lao, the Socialist Red Guardsman from DC's Great Ten.
- One late-80s storyline in The Flash involved Wally West working with Fidel Castro to stop alien invaders. Castro then threw him a birthday party.
- Collective Man, a Marvel Comics superhero who is China's equivalent of Captain America.
- Marvel's Soviet Super-Soldiers (a group of Red Army officers with superhuman powers) frequently teamed up with the Avengers and other mostly-American heroes against villains that threatened both the US and USSR. Eventually they turned against their government and were replaced by the Supreme Soviets, though after the USSR fell the two teams merged to form the Winter Guard.
- The Boys has Vas, a former superhero for the Soviet Union who is an ardent communist and deplores what the Russia of the early 2000s has become. He's also the kindest, most genuine, and most affable character in the comic, with the only possible exception being main character Wee Hughie himself. Even Billy Butcher, whose plan is to kill every person with the super compound in their blood, even his closest friends, likes Vas.
- On the Shoulders of Giants has the Soviet Union sticking around well into the 22nd century, with the aid of some Imported Alien Phlebotinum and a an accidentally-created AI who is running their economy more or less single-handed and doing it very well, but the Cold War kind of fizzled out after the horde of genocidal alien death-bots showed up.
- In Pacific: World War II U.S. Navy Shipgirls, there's the Soviet Destroyer Tashkent, who's depicted in a very positive light, as well as becoming the best of friends with Maury.
- In Earth's Alien History, the Soviet Union becomes a pretty fair and friendly place as the centuries go by, mostly thanks to the leadership of Superman.
- Despite activating the Doomsday Machine in Dr. Strangelove, the Soviets did this only because the original General Ripper ordered a nuclear attack, and the "trigger" for the machine was automated. Also, both the American and the Soviet president do their best to avoid a nuclear war.
- X-Men: First Class depicts the USSR and USA as Not So Different, since both are being fooled by Big Bad Sebastian Shaw and both believe they're being threatened by the other. Also, even if Azazel, the only (supposedly) Communist mutant is an evil henchman, he's more on Pragmatic Villainy and is definitively better than former Nazi Shaw.
- Mission to Moscow, an American pro-Soviet wartime film, depicts an American diplomat's visit to the USSR in a very positive light.
- The English-language narration track of 1942 Soviet war documentary Moscow Strikes Back insists on classing Stalin's Russia as one of "the free peoples of the world."
- The North Star (later known as Armoured Attack) is an American film from 1943 that depicts heroic Soviet resistance to the Nazis. It was recut during the Cold War to remove the pro-Soviet message.
- Goodbye Lenin takes place during and immediately after the collapse of the communist countries in Europe. Most of the characters seem to be quite okay with the change in leadership and their new freedoms, but the protagonists mother is a loyal member of the communist regime and after suffering a stroke at the beginning of the uprisings, spends the whole transition in a coma. To keep her from having another stroke after waking up, everyone tries to keep the changes secret from her and nobody seems to hold any grudges for her.
- In the James Bond films The Spy Who Loved Me, Moonraker, Octopussy, A View to a Kill, and The Living Daylights, the Communist government of Russia is portrayed as a Worthy Opponent and a temporary ally against a greater threat. In For Your Eyes Only, they were antagonists, but Friendly Enemy antagonists and ultimately never come to blows with Bond. All of these films were made during the era of detente between the Soviets and the West. The novels which the films loosely adapt, however, avert this. Communists were, befitting a series written and set in the 1950s, the primary antagonist.
- The Don Camillo stories (but especially the movies) portrayed the conflict between the local parish priest and the Communist mayor in a small Italian town shortly after the end of World War 2. Despite being so different ideologically, the two men respect each other and both are shown to only want what is best for the town people. Subverted, however, in the movie about their visit to the USSR. Justified by being an Italian series, thus coming from the Western country with the largest and most powerful left wing of the Cold War in which the Communists had gained a great deal of respect by being one of the main forces in the Resistance to both Fascists and, later in the war, the Nazis (and in fact the mayor is a former partisan).
- In The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming, the Soviets are clearly more victims of circumstance than villains.
- Greg from Sneakers was originally a spy from the Soviet Union, portrayed fairly sympathetically. However, since the film was completed only after the end of Cold War, he was changed into a spy operating for the new Russian government.
- A glowing example is Red Heat, a late 80's action-comedy flick (starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, no less) about a badass Soviet police officer sent to America to help capture a notorious Georgian drug baron. The film is mostly forgotten in the US, but is something of a Cult Classic in Russia.
- Russian spy Kropotkin in The President's Analyst (1967)-he's best friends with his American counterpart as they're often working on the same job on opposite sides. He's determined to get the fugitive doctor to Russia by any means, but would prefer to do it as friends, appealing to his sense of reason and self-preservation.
- The Soviet characters who show up in 2001: A Space Odyssey are friendly enough to Heywood Floyd (remember, nobody thought the USSR was going anywhere in 1968). 2010: The Year We Make Contact actually centers on a joint US-Soviet mission (to recover Discovery after the previous weirdness) although in the film version, it's fraught with tension (not so much the Clarke novel, though), reflecting the renewed frosty relations of the countries in the early 1980s.
- Enemy at the Gates has the Russians as Villain Protagonists of a sort, and it's okay to cheer for them because they're battling the even more despicable Nazi Germany, who are invading their homeland. The film even demystifies Russians for Western audiences by having British actors portray them - without the correct accents. It still points out the problems with the Soviet Union, however.
- In Pan's Labyrinth the badass heroes of La Résistance are explicitly communist. Which makes perfect since since the film is set in Francoist Spain.
- The "No God, No State" flyer at their camp implies they are Anarchists instead. They are all "reds" to Vidal though (along with everyone he doesn't like).
- In The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015), Illya Kuryakin probably embodies more traits of the stereotypical Cold War Soviet agent than his counterpart in the original TV series, but he is still portrayed as a good-intentioned, honourable man who will even take the time to be polite to civilians while chasing an enemy agent through East Berlin. And while his superior in the KGB is portrayed as less altruistic and trustworthy than Kuryakin, he is not shown to be any more villainous than his CIA counterpart.
- The supporting cast of would-be commie caricatures in Spies Like Us are great examples. Americans Millbarge and Fitz-Hume end up working and playing with the Soviet squad they initially sought to infiltrate and dispatch.
- Wild Wind has Yugoslavian Partisans and a Russian soldier as allies of the American agents.
- The Shape of Water features Dr. Robert Hoffstetler, who acts as The Mole in the United States government facility holding "the Asset". Despite being a spy for the Soviet Union, he defies his orders to eliminate the Asset and helps the protagonist smuggle the creature out of the government lab to save its life.
- In the Phryne Fisher mysteries Bert and Cec are "red raggers" (communists) and members of the Industrial Workers of The World (a very radical, militant union) and are good friends with the heroine and overall very nice guys.
- Isaac Asimov's Fantastic Voyage 2: Destination Brain (despite the name, it's not a sequel to his novelization of Fantastic Voyage — it's more of a remake) presents the image of a world where the Cold War has mellowed out to the point that the colours on maps are muted (the Soviet bloc is pink, the Western Allies are light blue). Despite the story starting off with the Soviets kidnapping the American protagonist, the Soviet characters are still presented in a sympathetic light (in fact, for most of the story they aren't antagonistic at all, it's just that the USSR and the USA are still rivals, so it wouldn't do to just ask a US scientist to help you with something that could bring you a significant technological advantage).
- In Harry Harrison's Invasion: Earth, the US and the USSR work together when the alien craft crash-lands in New York, the latter sending a female linguist (who, despite expectations, does not end up with the male American protagonist) to help translate the alien language. That turns out to be moot, since the aliens have learned English and Russian by listening to transmissions from Earth. During the climax, an American/Soviet team is assembled to strike at the alien base in the Antarctic made up of soldiers born in Denver and Tomsk, two of the cities destroyed by Orbital Bombardment. It's not stated if French soldiers from the also destroyed Metz are included.
- In Carl Sagan's original novel Contact (unlike the film), the Soviet Union is a predictable rival to the United States to build the Machine, but Dr. Arroway's Soviet counterpart, "Vaygay" Lunacharsky, who helps keeps telescopes pointed at Vega is a close friend and often more help than the United States government. Surprisingly, he's established both as a fairly devout intellectual communist and reluctant to publicly criticize the United States.
Live Action TV
- Head of the Class: In one episode the Class is up against a touring Soviet superteam in an academic trivia meet. They get to know each other a little and decide in the end to let the meet end in a draw rather than Sudden Death overtime.
- Illya Kuryakin from The Man from U.N.C.L.E. is a Soviet agent working for the international spy agency UNCLE. At least one episode indicates that he holds an official position in the Soviet military, so he's presumably a loyal Communist.
- A Soviet representative appears in an episode of Dad's Army. There is a discussion about whether the "Reds" can be trusted; Captain Mainwaring argues that they must be alright "otherwise they wouldn't be on our side".
- On the The Munsters episode "Herman the Master Spy", a scuba diving Herman gets caught by a Soviet fishing trawler. They're generally portrayed as pretty nice people, although the stereotype about Russians being drunkards is in full effect.
- Northern Exposure: Cicely gets its annual visit from Nikoli Applanov, a famous Soviet chess player. He likes to come to Cicely to relax and get away from his adoring fans back home. Everybody loves him except Maurice, who hates him because he's a Communist.
- Pavel Chekov of Star Trek. Of course, the Soviet Union would be gone long before the twenty-third century, but no one knew that at the time and, while Chekov only refers to his home country as "Russia", he does make some Soviet-era references, such as referring to St. Petersburg as "Leningrad". If you subscribe to the theory that The Federation is communist, then everyone in the series counts.
- Doctor Who:
- The story "The Curse of Fenric" featured sympathetic Russian soldiers attempting to steal a British codebreaking machine in World War II. The actual plot featured a dark god from the dawn of time manifesting, and part of the story's subtext was the unity of the little people in the face of larger tyrannical and/or destructive forces.
- This applies to most of the crew of the Soviet submarine in "Cold War", but especially Western music fan Professor Grisenko. It's really only Political Officer Stepashin who doesn't fit the trope.
- Call of Duty: Black Ops portrays the former Red Army soldier Viktor Reznov in a fairly sympathetic light.
- Dr. Cossack from Mega Man 4, a Soviet scientist who turns out to have been Good All Along.
- The Heavy from Team Fortress 2. Unless you're the Soldier.
- In the Fallout series, the Russians are the good communists with a nice relationship with the United States, and one of the player presets in the first game is a descendant of a Soviet diplomat which were given a place in Vault 13.
- After the end, there are the descendants of the Chinese(the resident bad commies) submarine crews beached in San Francisco called the Shi after their vessel "Shi-huang-ti", their mission is to protect their town & it's inhabitants and research useful technology like antidote for highly addictive drug "Jet" & radiation-scrubbing plants.
- Another friendly Chi Com, the ghoulified submarine captain Zao, is a quest-giver from Fallout 4.
- Comrade Vasquez, the Communist representative in Tropico 4, is the most reasonable representative. He comes to you primarily to address issues regarding housing, food, and health care, though he has his weird moments (like asking you to demolish any banks in the country because he thinks they're symbols of capitalist aggression).
- His close relative Evita in 5 continues this tradition. She represents the Revolutionaries in the Colonial era, the Communists in the World Wars and Cold War eras, and finally the Environmentalists in the Modern Times era. She's probably the most socially responsible advisor.
- The Duty faction in S.T.A.L.K.E.R is preserving/recreating a strong Soviet influence in their troops and strongholds. While not exactly pleasant people, they are among the most disciplined and orderly groups of the Zone and their main base is probably the safest place in the whole area.
- The Qunari in Dragon Age: Origins are a Buddhist-Communist empire in which obedience and duty are the most important aspects of all life and society. Their world-view is completely black and white, and they have no mercy for either criminals or those who oppose them, but many low-ranking people in the conquered territories are actively welcoming them and joining them voluntarily. Those born into the Qunari (or at least those who were picked to be assigned to the military) could hardly be called friendly in any way, but as long as you are getting straight to the point with them and don't show either indecision or boasting, they will treat you with respect and quite readily cooperate for the common good.
- The weapon manufacturer Vladof from Borderlands 2. In the original, they produced firearms with a high rate of fire to offset their low accuracy, but they now manufacture them that way to let civilian rebels outshoot Mega Corp. thugs with more complicated but harder-hitting weapons. Fittingly, their assault rifles looks a lot like AK rifles. They're also a Workers Collective, according to their sales pitch.
- Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker: One of your main allies is a Sandinista freedom fighter, and the Sandinistas themselves are portrayed fairly sympathetically, even if they do cop to drug smuggling to fund their cause.
- In Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, B.J Blazkowicz travels around the US looking for allies to kickstart a second American Revolution against the country's Nazi occupiers. One of these allies is Horton Boone, a cynical Badass Preacher leading a clique of anarchists and Marxists out of New Orleans.
- Unshaved Mouse: Comrade Crow started as this, but he then became a Dirty Communist
- Behold the Soviet◊ Party!
- The UASR in the Alternate History thread Reds plays with this. The people are completely devoted to social, economic, and racial equality. But their early history was marked by political persecution, most of it against a fascist junta that tried to stifle American democracy. They also won World War II. Which in this timeline was even bloodier. Do the math.
- In The Falcon Cannot Hear, the Provisional Government (or "Blue") faction of the Second American Civil War is a strong alliance between normal liberals and Trotskyist communists unwelcome in the Stalinist American Soviet Republic. Also, the East Coast forces of the ASR get along remarkably well with the Blues (especially in New York City, which effectively runs under the two governments simultaneously). Eventually, they split from the ASR and form the anti-fascist Popular Front with the Blues.
- In one episode of Plumbing the Death Star, Zammit suggests the monsters of Monsters, Inc. would excellently take over for Santa because they could steal whatever presents they needed and give them to the children who need it most; Adam realizes this is basically redistribution of wealth and exclaims that he "knew this was a socialist podcast from the beginning."
"Support my socialist Christmas, Adam."
- The Oktober Guard, the Soviet counterpart to G.I. Joe, were never portrayed as villains, even when their missions put them directly against each other. In the cartoon, they even joined forces a number of times against Cobra. Both teams saw each other as rivals at the very worst.
- Similarly, the Soviets in The Transformers, like most Earth governments, are allied to the Autobots. They are often portrayed doing stereotypically Russian things (see Glorious Mother Russia), but are always depicted in a positive light.
- East-West tensions are a major plot point in the Five-Episode Pilot for Challenge Of The Go Bots. The Communist character, Anya Turgonova, is one of the good guys, but there's a lot of initial distrust between her and the American good guys. After they team up against Cy-Kill, she remains a friend for the rest of the series.
- Linka at the beginning of Captain Planet and the Planeteers, before The Great Politics Mess-Up.
- The "Gremlins from the Kremlin" in Russian Rhapsody.