Viewpoint: Russia and Trump – a love story?

Take note – story published 7 years ago

"If Trump recognizes Crimea as ours, lifts sanctions, makes an agreement with us on Syria and frees Assange, I will retire. Because the world will be wonderful." This is how Rossiya Segodnya editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan commented the election of Donald Trump as the President of the United States.

This would sound odd, if you disregarded the fact that Simonyan is heading not a media outlet but a propaganda machine and is not realizing a journalistic mission but rather implementing Vladimir Putin's views about Russia's agenda, including that which concerns foreign policy. 

And her words reflect Putin's vision very precisely. His foreign policy has a single goal - to talk with the US president on equal terms. So that Russia and the US would divide the world, like in the good old days.

This is what Vladimir Putin could in fact be referring to when complaining about a "unipolar" world.

However yesterday's celebration in Russia is now followed by a hangover. Will Trump really be the person with whom Putin can talk like a buddy and agree in private? Trump even bears a visual resemblance to Silvio Berlusconi, one of the greatest "European friends" of the Russian president. But looks aren't everything.

As Stanislav Belkovsky, an experienced Russian political scientist said, Trump is a businessman ready to strike a deal. But the question is whether Vladimir Putin has anything to offer. No matter who sits opposite him at the discussion table, Vladimir Putin will have to concede something - the Donbas conflict, supporting Bashar al Assad or cracking down on his own opposition. If he won't be ready to do that, even Trump's populism is unlikely to help him.

Trump is being called an unpredictable and unstable leader. Vladimir Putin is like that too.

Relations between two unpredictable nuclear-armed leaders are indeed worrisome.

And retirement is nowhere in sight for Rossiya Segodnya editor-in-chief Simonyan, not even by the horizon. Because up until now her job has been easy - to blame the US for everything bad that's happening in Russia. If you believe Dmitry Kiselyov's weekly broadcast, the US - with the help of Brussels bureaucrats - brought Russia its demographic problems, the thankless neighboring countries and fervent opposition. 

The unity of the Russian people has been built for years by way of anti-Americanism.

But what can anti-Americanism do for them now, when their long-admired Donald Trump has been elected president?

Rossiya Segodnya ideologues will have a lot of work - to come up with a story of how Trump will become a bogeyman from being one of the good guys.

There is no doubt that they'll succeed - after all, this summer TV stations, as if by magic, ceased their anti-Turkey hysteria and made Recep Tayyip Erdoğan into a friend and ally once again. And more than a year ago the story of Novorossiya, to which half of news broadcast allotted so much time, quietly disappeared and was substituted with the Syrian story.

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