Anxiety in US, hope in Russia: How Russian politicians celebrated Trump’s victory AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko

T
he fact that Russians were closely watching US election was not a surprise to anyone. First, it can be concluded from the way the Russian media was broadcasting the event. For example, the channel Russia One which is the main pro-government channel had a full day timer sticker, timing live the remaining hours till the end of the Election Day. This was a feature that they missed even for their own legislative election that took place in September 2016.  

So big was the event that the same channel even broadcasted Trump’s live victory speech in full, translating it word by word. Even more, later that day on the Russian talk show “60 minutes” Vladimir Zhirinovsky leader of the Russian Liberal Democratic Party had the courage to drink a glass champagne on live TV in support of Trump’s victory. He congratulated the American people and Russian people which by his words “indirectly supported Trump” saying that “this is our victory and in the future we will witness a lot of positive moments taking place”. Seeing how Zhirinovsky celebrated with a glass of champagne two of the show’s staff brought out 8 glasses of champagne for the show’s participants to celebrate Trump’s live victory. However, the hosts realized how unprofessional it would look and declined live celebration saying that they will drink the champagne after the show.

The Russian Duma was equally excited. Therefore on the morning of 9th while in the USA it was still late night and Trump’s victory was just confirmed, Russian duma members made a big applause celebrating Trump’s victory. Deputy Vyacheslav Nikonov congratulated duma’s members on the Trumps victory quoting: “Hillary Clinton has admitted defeat in the United States presidential elections, and a second ago Trump began his speech as president-elect of the United States of America with which I congratulate you all”

Later that day most of the influential officials express their opinion on the American Elections.

Regardless of the election results heads of state are accustomed to send an official congratulations. This is why on the morning of Nov 9th, Putin sent and official congratulatory telegram to Donald Trump.

“”Dear Mr. Trump, Please accept my sincere congratulations on your victory in the presidential elections in the United States. I look forward to working with you for the removal of Russian-American relations from the crisis, ….I am convinced that building a constructive dialogue between Moscow and Washington, which is based on principles of equality, mutual respect …in the interests of our peoples and the world community. I wish you good health, prosperity and success in your responsible work as the head of state.

Later on November 14 Putin had a chance to speak directly on the phone with Trump congratulating him on the victory.

Putin’s speaker Dmitry Peskov was more grounded stating that he “appreciate Trump’s position on wanting to have good relationship with all the countries” and that he is interested in making US-Russia relations better. He also noted that is important to have political will and willingness to solve all the US-Russia problems through dialog.

In one of his cabinet meeting Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev also considered to make a point on the American election results stating that “Russia is ready to develop relationship with Trump” appreciating the victory of the “non-system candidate”

Russian minister of economy Alexey Ulyukaev went even further declaring “I can only say that the window of opportunity is opened” and Trump’s election offers a chance to improve Russian relations with Washington and the abolition of the anti-Russian economic sanctions

Foreign minister Sergey Lavrov as in his usual style was more grounded noting that he will “judge Trump’s administration by their actions”. On the next day declaring that Russia is ready to work with the Trump Administration.

Alexei Pushkov who is the head of the Russian Federation Council committee on information policy noted that he predicted Trumps victory 7-8 month ago. He also quoted that he is “happy that his predictions came true”. He pointed that he appreciate Trump’s opinion on collaborating with Russia instead of being enemies. But he pointed his concern that the anti-Russian lobby in Washington will try to find a way to influence Trump.

Gennady Zyuganov who is the head of the Communist Party in Russia stated his opinion that Trump is the one who will reflect on Crimea, support less intervention in Ukraine and hope for a better relation with Russia.

But, probably the biggest Trump fan among the Russian politicians is Vladimir Zhirinovsky. So excited was he on Trump’s victory that on the same day he organized a party inviting all the Journalists and Duma members to celebrate. He even spent 100 thousand rubles ($1500) to buy champagne, chocolates, pies and salads for the guests.

He affirmed that he believed a long time ago that Trump will win the election. He praised Trump as one who “talk independently, without fear and achieved big success in business”. He thinks that once Trump will come into office we will witness a fast decline on anti-Russian rhetoric. In addition that he acknowledged that sanctions against Russia will be eliminated.

Conclusion

Here we can conclude that most of the Kremlin’s elite supported Trump and very less express their enthusiasm on Hillary Clinton’s possible victory. They had 2 reasons for that.

First, Kremlin still believe that Hillary Clinton being as a secretary of state at that time, was behind the 2012 protests on Bolotnaya Square. Seeing it as a personal offence they in no way want to deal with her more.

Secondly, Hillary may follow some of the Obama’s foreign policy aspects which is not in Russia’s interests.

It’s still early to say exactly what Trumps foreign policy will look like in practice, or how his position on Russia will be after a year or two in the office. But, what we can conclude is that Russian’s in supporting Trump creating their own reasons based how they think and hope Trump’s foreign policy agenda will be.

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