One of the main reasons the Left is so upset regarding Russia and Putin (and sadly, even among many on the so-called Right) is due to Putin's "homophobic" ways.
As you say, no overall endorsement of Putin intended, but the man has taken a firm stand against acceptance, promotion and normalization of homosexuality. This is what so irritates so many in America, both on the Left and Right. Putin made it illegal for homosexuals to adopt children or to publically promote homosexuality (including denying them having pro-homosexual parades), stands against homosexual marriage and against foreigners working to promote homosexuality in Russia.
Odd enough, we now face a world where the Russian president is taking a stand for some traditional, Christian morals and considers himself and Russia to be defenders of Christendom (warped through the lens of Russian Orthodox Christianity) while America has a likely Muslim president who claims to be Christian while denying the basic tenants of Christianity and Christian morality, and has spent his time in office working to eradicate anything biblically Christian; including promotion of abortion and homosexuality both at home and abroad.
Sad to say, but this isn't only occurring in the political realm. So many American churches have or are abandoning biblical Christianity in favor of a more politically correct secular form of Christianity. This while churches in Africa and other foreign lands which were founded by American missionaries and churches, are standing on the Word and calling out those American churches that are falling away.
If we live long enough it may be interesting to see what nation takes over the mantle of being a Christian nation sending forth missionaries around the world, including to America. Great Britain held that position until early in the 20th century when America became the dominate Christian nation sending forth missionaries.
While God never changes, people and nations do.