Russian political elites revel in Trump’s inauguration
  • Saturday, November 17, 2018
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Russian political elites revel in Trump’s inauguration

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Entertainer Willi Tokarev, center, an 82-year-old Russian emigre to the U.S. appeared during a nightclub party entitled “Trumplissimo America!” in Moscow, Russia on Thursday. Twenty-four hours before Donald Trump is to be sworn in as president of the United States, people gathered at a Moscow nightclub to celebrate his inauguration.

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    The U.S. Embassy building was reflected in a window of a Russian military outerwear shop “Armia Rossii” (Russian Army) displaying a poster of Donald Trump, in downtown Moscow, Russia, today, hours ahead of Donald Trump being sworn in as president of the United States, The poster reads: “10 percent discount to the embassy employees and US citizens on the Inauguration Day.”

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MOSCOW >> Russian officials and lawmakers lauded Donald Trump’s inauguration today, hoping it will herald a period of better ties with the United States, while revelers in Moscow and elsewhere gathered for celebrations as bar and club owners sought to cash in on public excitement.

Trump’s promises to fix ravaged relations with Moscow have elated Russia’s political elite amid spiraling tensions with Washington over the Ukrainian crisis, the war in Syria and allegations of Russian meddling in the U.S. elections.

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said that while Trump’s policy toward Russia is unclear yet, “we are hoping that reason will prevail.”

“We are ready to do our share of the work in order to improve the relationship,” Medvedev said on Facebook.

Trump’s praise for Russian President Vladimir Putin has raised expectations that he could move to normalize ties, even though he hasn’t articulated a clear Russia policy and some of his Cabinet nominees have made hawkish statements on Russia.

Dmitri Trenin, director of the Carnegie Moscow Center, predicted that Moscow will face a pragmatic but very tough partner in Trump.

“Russia’s potential is incomparable to that of the United States,” he said, adding that Moscow will have to apply a lot of skills “to play from the position of weakness and not lose.”

But despite the uncertainty, many Russians looked at Trump’s presidency with high hopes, and some nightclubs and bars called parties to celebrate the inauguration.

At one Moscow nightclub, several dozen people began toasting Trump late Thursday.

Willi Tokarev, 82, a singer who emigrated to the U.S. in the mid-1970s and later became a music legend in Russia, topped the entertainment bill with his song “Trumplissimo America!”

“Trump, Trump – symbol of America. Trump, Trump, he’s really president,” the mustachioed Tokarev sang on a tiny stage with the Russian and American flags hanging behind him.

Across from the U.S. embassy compound in central Moscow, the Russian Army store put up a poster with Trump’s picture, offering inauguration day discounts of 10 percent for Americans.

There is a broad feeling in Russia’s political and business elites that relations with Washington just can’t get any worse.

“Russia hopes that under Trump there will be no ideology, no attempts to lecture about democracy, human rights and rights of smaller nations around its borders … but primarily deal with economic issues in a businesslike way and even tacitly divide spheres of influence,” said Alexei Arbatov, a senior researcher with the Institute of World Economy and International Relations, a government-funded Moscow think-tank.

“Putin and Obama spoke different languages, they didn’t understand one another. There is a hope that Trump and Putin will speak the same language, even though their positions may differ.”

Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov voiced hope that Trump will work together with Putin on solving the Ukrainian crisis and other problems, but warned against expectations of quick progress. “Difficulties will remain,” he said.

Andrei Kuzyaev, a Russian oil tycoon who now heads ER Telecom, a leading broadband provider, said he expects Trump to “switch from political propaganda to action.”

Leonid Slutsky, the head of the foreign affairs committee in the lower house of parliament, said in an opinion piece published today that “constructive approach and pragmatism have practically disappeared from the Russia-U.S. agenda during Obama’s presidency.”

Medvedev, who served as president in 2008-2012 when Putin had to shift into the premier’s seat due to term limits, presided over a period of warmer ties during Obama’s first term. He sharply criticized the outgoing administration for ruining relations with Moscow by attempting to treat Russia like a “banana republic” and relying on “brute force and sheer pressure” in its dealings with Moscow.

“Conclusion: The Obama administration has destroyed relations between the United States and Russia, which are at their lowest point in decades,” Medvedev said.

He denounced the sanctions the U.S. and its allies imposed on Russia over its action in Ukraine, saying that “it doesn’t get any dumber than restricting entry to the United States for the leadership of the Russian parliament, ministers, and businessmen, thus deliberately reducing the possibility of full-fledged contacts and closing the window to cooperation.”

State TV stations carried flattering reports about Trump today, chronicling his business achievements and describing his ritzy lifestyle.

Senior Russian lawmakers spoke with disapproval about anti-Trump protests and criticized CNN for speculating about possible succession if Trump is assassinated in an attack on the inauguration day.

“That atmosphere shows us the flaws of Western democracy, particularly in the United States,” flamboyant ultranationalist leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky said in parliament.

Nataliya Vasilyeva in Moscow and Angela Charlton in Davos, Switzerland contributed to this report.

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    • @allie –
      It’s not just the Russian government who admires Trump, their ordinary citizens do too.
      I have worked with Russian military veteran civilian contractors while serving in our military. They have some good people too just like we do and they really do want peace with America. Those who I’ve met were thrilled to be working with us and respect our military. They are very strong and hard working people who can relate to straight talk without the sugarcoating. My experience working with them was great and it gave me insight to their values. I can understand why their entire country admires our new president and I feel pretty confident that it’s not just all about Putin wanting to take advantage of the US.

      Allie my dear, it’s not the Russians who you should be afraid of. It’s the radical jihadists. I really mean that with 100% sincerity. Don’t be surprised if our military shares the same battlefield with Russians fighting with us against a bloodthirsty enemy. I can totally see that happening in the future. Don’t be afraid of Russia, embrace them instead. Their people are more fun loving and friendlier than most Americans think. Please give our new president a chance to make some things happen that will benefit all Americans. Getting along better with Russia is just one of them.

    • Your equating of Cuba with Russia (economy, military might, population, world engagement, history, industry, politics, rhetoric, aggression, business) is quite humorous. Thanks for the morning chuckle!

  • Of course they are reveling. They have their puppet right where they need him. However when he took his oath he made a solemn promise to protect and uphold the constitution of the United States. The eyes of the majority of Americans are on him now. Any deviation whatsoever he makes from his oath will result in a overwhelming demand for his impeachment and he will be jailed for treason. Stay tuned for his state of the nation tweets.

  • Perestrioka v2.0

    Reagan was able to work well with Russia, Trump will do the same. It takes more than a stupid little plastic reset button and a pair of golf balls, it takes a real pair.

      • Tsk tsk BS…You’re just like the MSM leaving out the most relevant facts, like convincing the USSR to reform their government and tear down the Berlin wall which unified Germany. Let me guess – You’re the biggest fan of the man girl Rachael Maddow from MSNBC?

        Excuse me…But I’m going to take a shot of Stolichnaya and toast to the Russians in honor of their entire country’s support for our new president who has a pair. Haha!

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