Russians Toast to President Trump
Donald Trump’s face on the flat-screen TV appeared as close as if the newly elected 45th President of the United States were personally present in the dim pub.
Some visitors finishing their early morning alcoholic drinks even spoke with the new America’s president, as to an old friend. While Trump was addressing his supporters in New York City, here at Union Jack Pub in Moscow, a few Russian men celebrated the beginning of a new life without Hilary Clinton. Trump talked of his team’s great job and his Russian fans echoed: “Great job yourself!”
The men looked exhausted after drinking all night, but they still found energy to sing the football chant: “Ole, Ole, Ole, Russia go forward!”
A bit wobbly, one of the fans, a tall young man in a “Trump Pence” t-shirt, called everybody to pose for a group picture under the TV screen: “Make sure that this beautiful man [gestures at Trump] fits in the shot!” he asked the photographer. The picture was meant to help preserve the vivid memory of that morning with all its details—the pub, the drunken friends, and many Trump faces around.
The jubilant men said that they worked for the Russian government, that Trump’s victory was Russia’s, and their own window of opportunity. Why? “Because he is ours, our guy!” one of Trump’s fans, who smelled strongly of whiskey, told The Daily Beast. That was not the only Trump party in Moscow—celebrations continued all day. The Moscow establishment was drinking to a long awaited disaster for the American establishment.
Many Russian Obama haters, who for months had been screaming and writing about America’s supposedly non-existent democracy, now praised the fact that freedom and democracy actually did exist in United States. “Oh, everybody is so joyful because for us this is a beginning of a thaw, of a political spring with Washington, the sea is peaceful now, we can now sail into the open sea and agree on all bases,” Vadim Dengin, a Duma parliament member told The Daily Beast during his LDPR party at the parliament on Wednesday afternoon.
On the eve before the U.S. election, the Kremlin was planning to live for four years with Hilary Clinton in Washington. And although Moscow has no guarantees that Trump’s pre-electoral agendas and promises will stay true, his surprise victory was a strong reason for many Russians to get happily drunk. Some officials hoped that Trump would cancel the economic sanctions against Russia, help them make their country’s wealth great, and their own, too. Others hoped that with the end of the Cold War tensions, they once again would travel freely to the West. Essentially, Russian officials drank to freedom.
Some predicted that pro-Trump Russians would soon find disillusionment. “Today they drink champagne to America’s weakness, the final failure of its system and tomorrow they will sober up and realize that Trump is not a boy to scold but a tough businessman who wants Moscow to pay a high price for the end of economic sanctions, with Crimea or with the end of the war in Donbas,” Stanislav Belkovsky, a political observer for Rain TV, told The Daily Beast.
For most of Barack Obama’s presidency, the Kremlin blamed Washington for all Russia’s problems. What if America becomes the Kremlin’s friend now—who would be there to blame? Nobody in Moscow seemed to think of that, yet.
On Wednesday morning, the State Duma began with an emotional speech by Russia’s own Trump and LDPR leader, Vladimir Zhirinovsky. He once said that he felt Trump’s soul, read Trump’s mind, as if the two were twin brothers. Zhirinovsky reminded the Russian parliament that he was the one who predicted the victory for the U.S. Republican Party candidate. Zhirinovsky praised the victory of American people over the U.S. establishment and the Duma exploded in ovations.
Editor-in-chief of the Kremlin’s Russia Today, Margarita Simonyan lost a bet on the eleciton, made to the tune of two cases of beer. Simonyan blogged: “I officially call back my yesterday’s post ‘Democracy R.I.P.’ and replace it with ‘Establishment R.I.P.’” Simonyan also promised her followers that in case Trump recognized that Crimea was Russian, cancelled anti-Russian economic sanctions, made a Syria deal with the Kremlin and released the Moscow-supported editor of WikiLeaks, she would retire, “as the world would be ideal,” Simonyan wrote on Twitter.
Still, a lot of water has to flow under the bridge before Trump moves into the White House in January. “For us the first positive sign would be Trump’s meeting with our president Vladimir Putin, we hope they can come to a compromise,” MP Dengin told The Daily Beast.
But Russia’s foreign ministry boss Sergei Lavrov sounded skeptical about his country’s future with Trump. “I have heard many words,” the minister said on Wednesday. “We’ll judge by actions and respond to actions with actions.” Meanwhile, the Russian aircraft carrier The Admiral Kuznetsov, stuffed with missiles, was preparing for action: Russia’s military was preparing its forces for an attack on eastern Aleppo.