Russia Hearts Donald Trump
The Kremlin hates everything about America except for Donald Trump.
The more president Obama and other Democratic politicians criticize Trump for praising Vladimir Putin as a “strong leader,” the more Moscow warms up to the Republican presidential candidate.
Even one of Russia’s most radical nationalist leaders, the inspiration behind the Donbas rebel movement, Alexander Dugin, endorsed the GOP frontrunner: “We want to put trust in Donald Trump,” Dugin said earlier this month. And Vladimir Putin has also made complimentary comments about Trump, calling the Republic leader "the absolute leader of the presidential race.”
Meanwhile, Putin’s propaganda organs have been busy demonizing all things related to Hillary Clinton and President Obama. State-controlled television explains to Russians that their peace, wealth and security are constantly damaged and threatened by the Obama administration’s actions.
Last Monday, Russia 24, the Russian state television channel, reported about the refugee crisis threatening stability in Europe. Tens of thousands of families escaping the horrors of war were now trapped behind the fenced Macedonian border. As if in a well-composed symphony, the narrative heated up, preparing the viewers for the predictable culmination: America was guilty of this human tragedy. The channel aired a Greek official saying the United States was to blame for “unleashing the war” in Syria and so now Greece faced an endless disaster.
A few days later, Alexey Pushkov, the head of the foreign-affairs committee in the State Duma, tweeted: “Thanks to the Arab Spring and the West’s efforts to collapse Libya, successful Tunisia has turned into a zone of terrorism. That is one of Hillary Clinton’s achievements.”
At the same time, Russian parliamentarians were questioning whether Russian opposition officials should ever be shaking hands with the U.S. Ambassador to Moscow. At the Duma on Thursday, United Russia deputies demanded explanations from the leader of the Communist Party, Gennady Zyuganov, about his meeting with the Ambassador John F. Tefft. And Deputy Valeriy Trapeznikov suggested that communists running for parliament elections in September should be checked for financial aid from the America.
“I could understand if he met with professional unions but in parliament independent persons or institutions taking money from Americans and not the pay from the Kremlin’s pocket are immediately denounced as an enemy,” a political observer, Sergei Parkhomenko, told The Daily Beast.
Last week also brought American businesses into the firing line, with United Russia Duma Deputy Yevgeniy Fedorov asking the Investigative Committee to look into activities of American firms McKinsey & Company and DuPont inside Russia—the deputy suspected American businessmen were deliberately weakening security systems at the mines that allegedly resulted as an explosion in late February that killed 37 miners.
The message was clear: nobody should trust those Americans any longer. And already, about 37 percent of Russians believe America and Obama are “evil,” according to VCIOM, the Russia Public Opinion Research Center.
Would the prospect of a President Trump change Moscow’s tune? Not everyone is so sure, even among Putin’s allies.
“America is fighting a war against Russia to overthrow our legitimate president Putin,” one of the most passionate critics of U.S. politics, Russian Public Chamber deputy Sergei Markov, told The Daily Beast, referring to the U.S. backing of the Ukrainian revolution.
“Putin is never going to forgive United States for that, unless Washington, under Trump or not, gets rid of the current Ukrainian leadership,”