Staunton, January 24 – Almost all discussions about the relationship between Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump have focused on what the new US president may do for Russia and why, but Irina Pavlova argues that misses the point because the Kremlin is far more interested I what Trump will do to America than what he will do for Russia.
In a blog post yesterday, the US-based Russian historian notes that Trump is reported to be extremely popular in the Putin regime but extremely unpopular among those who oppose Putin, a pattern many explain by pointing to similarities in the personality of the two leaders (ivpavlova.blogspot.com/2017/01/blog-post_23.html#more).
According to Pavlova, such conclusions are based on “superficialities.” In fact, she says, “Kremlin propagandists hope that Trump will become an American Gorbachev who will lead the US into a crisis and in the end destroy this country.” She points to Karen Shakhnazarov’s comments on Vladimir Solovyev’s “Sunday Evening” talk show of two days ago.
But even more open in the expression of such Moscow hopes is commentator Maksim Shevchenko who has declared on Ekho Moskvy that Trump “is a symbol of a deep and insuperable social, political and economic divide in America in particular and the Larger West as a whole” that can only lead to violence (echo.msk.ru/programs/personalno/1911996-echo/).
His shouting of “long live Trump” is thus not a manifestation of any affection for the US and its new president but rather “an exalted expression of the very same anti-Americanism” the Putin regime has long expressed and cultivated. Shevchenko adds that he will support anyone in the US who promotes “confrontation” with Trump because that will weaken the US.
Some obvious if unintended support for Pavlova’s conclusion has just been offered by Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and returned head of the Russian party of power, United Russia. He makes it clear that Moscow isn’t looking at what Trump will do for Russia but rather what Trump will do to the US.
At the United Russia congress, the Russian premier said the following about Trump’s rise to power and about that of other leaders in the West who some in Moscow expect to end sanctions and work more closely with the Russian government (business-gazeta.ru/article/335109).
“In general,” Medvedev said, “it is time to turn away from illusions that in relation to our country will be removed any sanctions. It is obvious tha tall that has happened is for the long haul. There is no reason to place one’s hopes on elections abroad or on the coming to power of new foreign leaders.”
The prime minister’s remarks on this point, Kazan’s “Business-Gazeta” notes today, “were supported by the stormy applause of congress delegates” who have taken the point that they should not be placing any of their hopes on US President Donald Trump.