December 10, 2019 Special Dispatch No. 8402

Russian Journalist Petr Akopov: Russians Are Disappointed With Donald Trump But That Can Change

December 10, 2019
Russia | Special Dispatch No. 8402

In an article, titled "Donald Trump Greatly Disappointed The Russians", Russian journalist Petr Akopov observes that Russia's attitude towards US President Donald Trump has deteriorated dramatically during his term of office. Akopov cites that this is evidenced by the data of public opinion polls.

According to Akopov, the downward trend can be reversed if Trump manages to put an end to the impeachment procedures and frees himself to attend the May 9, 2020 Victory Parade in Moscow marking the 75th anniversary of Nazi Germany's fall.

However, Akopov stressed that in any case, Trump deserves credit for opening the Pandora's box of the American political system and defying the political elite. "In fact, Trump is trying to change the principles of American domestic policy in order to change the foreign policy of the United States. And this is really beneficial to Russia." Akopov wrote.

The Russian public's assessment of Russian-American bilateral has not changed much in recent years and 85 percent of Russian respondents consider them tense, cool or even hostile.

Below is Akopov's article, published in the Russian media outlet Vzglyad:[1]


Trump's Chief Merit Is That He Has Unlocked The Pandora's Box Of The American Political System

"An open confrontation between Russia and the United States has been going on for more than six years - in the summer of 2013, Moscow refused to extradite Snowden to the United States, and in the fall the parties began an active struggle over Ukraine. And, if at first the aggravation of relations between the two countries had no strong impact on public opinion, already after the Crimea [takeover], in spring 2014, when the United States tried to put Russia in its place via sanctions, all polls [began to] indicate a poor state of relations between the two countries.

"The current Russian Public Opinion Research Center Poll show that negative ratings amount to 85 percent in total. 52% [of the respondents] view Russian-American relations as tense, 20% - as cold and 13% - as hostile. Almost nothing changes here - three years ago, before the U.S. presidential election, 88 percent gave negative ratings. Then, however, there was a short period of change in the public sentiment.

"In the summer of 2017, the percentage of negative ratings fell to 69, and the number of those who gave positive answers grew fourfold - from six to 25 percent. This was a period of hopes for improvement, naturally associated with the assumption of office by Donald Trump, who promised Americans 'to get along with Putin.' However, by the end of 2017, everything was back to square one, and in the summer of 2018, 84 percent again gave a negative rating. These are the consequences of disappointment of those who expected an improvement in relations and saw that Trump could not do anything.

"And although Trump's failure towards Russia is primarily due to the fact that he was almost proclaimed a 'Russian agent,' our public opinion was disappointed with the US president.

"If in March 2017, two months after Trump took office, 38 percent viewed him favorably, now 11 percent are all that is left. During the same time, the number of those who viewed him negatively has increased from 7 percent to 32 percent. At the same time, the absolute majority (53 percent) chose the response option 'I don't care.'

"This suggests that the Russians are tired of 'expecting the weather to improve under Trump', although everyone understands that the US president is really being prevented from not even negotiating, but simply conversing with Putin. Almost no one attaches hopes for an improvement in bilateral relations to the American president. And this explains Trump's low rating – our people don't care about his personal and political qualities, the US president is evaluated almost exclusively by the quality of Russian-American relations.

"The bad [the state of] relationships shows that Trump turned out to be 'not so hot', since he could not do anything to improve them.

"The internal American reasons for Trump's helplessness do not, in the eyes of Russian citizens, provide justification for the master of the White House. After all, few people want to understand how American governmental authority works, how the jurisdictions are distributed - and even more so, very few people are interested in what kind of struggle is currently underway between Trump and the 'deep state'. In Russia, everyone is tired of making fun of Trump's enemies' manic obsession with 'Russian connections.' However, our fatigue does not reduce the importance of the 'Russian factor' in the pressure [which is put] on the US President.

"This is the situation: Trump has been living and still lives under the constant suspicion of 'Russian ties.' And if, in the spring of this year, after the publication of prosecutor Mueller's report, that did not discover any evidence of these connections, it seemed that now the White House would be able to take up working Russia without regard for suspicions, then following the start of impeachment procedures about the 'Ukrainian case', all Russian [affairs] became fatally toxic.

"If Trump manages to sort out the impeachment [procedures] by the end of next spring, that is, not allow Democrats to prolong the hopeless from the start hearings in the House of Representatives and achieve a more or less rapid vote for impeachment in the House, so that the case's consideration will go before the Senate, where the impeachment will fail, then the attitude to him by our citizens will change. Why? Because Trump will be able to fulfill his wish to come to Moscow on the occasion of the May 9, 2020Victory Parade.

"There is no doubt that after that, the polls will record an increase in positive ratings from 11 to 25, or even 30 percent. People here are distrustful but forgiving. Well, real changes in bilateral relations will be possible after Trump's re-election in November 2020. In this case, we can expect a new increase in his ratings in Russia.

"By the way, the current disappointment with Trump is not so much connected with his behavior, but rather with the very phenomenon of enchantment. Some of our citizens - far from a majority - initially believed too easily in Trump's promises to mend fences with Russia. And then, when this did not happen, they quickly became disenchanted with the new American president. But this is not Trump's problem, but of those who sympathize with him purely due to hopes for an improvement of bilateral relations. Meanwhile, Trump's chief merit (and, incidentally, for Russia as well) is that he has unlocked the Pandora's box of the American political system and the present political class, which do not serve the interests of the United States as a nation state. In fact, Trump is trying to change the principles of American domestic policy in order to change the foreign policy of the United States as well.

"And this is really beneficial to Russia."




[1], November 19, 2019.

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