Be careful of what you wish for; it might come true. This old adage can apply to Kremlin thinking on the approaching presidency of Donald Trump.
Throughout the US presidential election campaign, Russian officials openly favored Trump, repeatedly praising the Republican candidate for sharing Moscow’s dislike of the existing international order. But now that Trump will be inaugurated as the 45th president of the United States in January, his brash and erratic leadership style might well end up posing serious challenges for the Kremlin.
Russia’s leadership, from Vladimir Putin on down, is casting Trump’s surprise victory on November 8 as a political triumph for Moscow.
Russian lawmakers greeted the news of the election result with a standing ovation in the State Duma. Vladimir Zhirinovsky, the gadfly politician who leads one of the four parties represented in the Duma, threw a champagne party to celebrate the occasion, and Gennady Zyuganov, head of Russia’s Communist Party, expressed hope Trump would “make life easier for Russia.”
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Igor Torbakov is Senior Fellow at Uppsala University and at the Swedish Institute of International Affairs in Stockholm, Sweden.