Russians on the Trump Presidency

There were two main takeaways from the Russian reaction to the future Trump presidency. First, as Stanislav Kucher wrote:

“…the victory is not Trump’s, but Americans’. Their values, their constitution, their way of life.”

Many in the opposition saw what happened as a model of a “real democracy” where the outcome of an election is unknown beforehand, and one that they could aspire to in the future.

The second takeaway was that the Kremlin may not actually like what a Trump presidency has in store for them.

Anti-corruption activist, Alexei Navalny, posted a video on YouTube explaining what he thought of the results and what would happen:

First, Navalny says, oil and gas prices will decline under Trump.

Second, Trump has changed his tune on Putin since the bombing of Aleppo, and become more critical.

Third, Trump will spend more money on the military, which will force Russia to keep spending more and more money on theirs. Another arms race.

About the actual outcome, Navalny stated:

“I am indifferent. This is America’s choice. These are their own problems or… successes.”

He is, he says, simply pointing out that despite popular opinion, Putin and Trump are so far from each other on basic policies that they won’t “become best friends and start hugging and kissing right away”.

Street Graffiti in Vilnius, Lithuania [story]
In reality, Navalny continues:

“America is like a huge overloaded oil tanker, which even it wanted to stop right now, it will keep moving in the same direction for quite some time. A lot of effort and time is required to actually make it turn.”

He points out that the 1974 Jackson-Vanik sanctions were not repealed by Congress until 2012, more than 20 years after the end of the Cold War.

Professor Grigory Volosov agreed:

“When you are a presidential candidate, you have to express a lot of categorical judgements, but when you become president, you find yourself in a system of contractual relations that bind your country with other countries. Reviewing these relationships is simply impossible, they can only be adjusted in the direction of which has been said before.”

Political scientist Gleb Pavlovsky stated that the US:

“…will not will not give gifts to Moscow, and it is absolutely ridiculous to expect the Republican Congress to abandon its own resolutions, as required by our “plutonium” law. Of course, it will not. But it is possible to achieve the easing of sanctions. This should be discussed, and not the dreams of running the world.”

Opposition politician Dmitry Gudkov wrote that any changes to Russia’s current situation – economic and political – would be due to “internal shocks” rather than external ones.

“And our government will provide them [the shocks] themselves in the near future — for example, in the next presidential elections [scheduled for early 2018], where the contrast between Democracy and “democracy” will be obvious.”


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