The following is an overview of Russia's official reactions to Donald Trump's victory in the U.S. Presidential election. While the overall tone of the comments in the previous MEMRI Special Dispatch displayed optimism and hope for a genuine reset of U.S.-Russia relations under a Trump presidency, the following comments generally seek to dampen excessive expectations that U.S.-Russia relations will improve significantly:
Prime Minister Medvedev: 'It Is The Political System That Has Allowed [Trump] To Win'
On November 10, during an official visit to Israel marking 25-years of diplomatic ties between the two countries, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said: "As for the [US] election results, they should be analyzed by political scientists. I can only say that victory by a so-called political outsider is unusual for the US political system. I have read many comments which say that Donald Trump has defeated the system. I don't think this is true; rather, it is the political system that has allowed him to win. As for the future, this political system will likely try to keep the new president in line, which it can certainly do because the US political system is very powerful. Will President Trump be able to withstand this pressure? Will he stick to the priorities he declared during his presidential campaign? Time will tell."
(Government.ru, November 10)
Medvedev during a press conference in Israel. (Source: Government.ru, November 10)
Russia's Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova wrote in her Facebook page: "The NY Times writes that Trump's victory is an unanticipated present for Putin... The Western media, kings of the mainstream, cannot admit even now that they turned out to be chump experts. They cannot admit that their 'glorified' analytics is a bluff. The main reason for their failure is simple - it's the LACK OF OBJECTIVITY [uppercase original]. For many years, they aggressively instilled in all the mantra that 'bad Russia' is the source of all misfortune. Then they discussed it so much that they began to believe it themselves. Under these circumstances, the election results were 'unexpected' for them and their listeners."
(Facebook.com/maria.zakharova.167, November 10)
Maria Zakharova (Source: Instagram.com/mzakharovamid)
Foreign Minister Lavrov: 'I Cannot Say That All Of Our Partners' Previous Leaders Were Predictable In Every Situation'
On the sidelines of the ceremony where foreign ambassadors presented their credentials to President Vladimir Putin, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov took questions from the media on Trump's victory:
Question: "Donald Trump has won the presidential election in the United States. Was this unexpected?"
Sergey Lavrov: "Why? We said that the American people would decide. The American people have made their decision. We waited for them to do this and it has happened."
Question: "Is this a positive result for Russia?"
Sergey Lavrov: "We do not have any preferences. As President Vladimir Putin said, we will work with any new US leader elected by the American people. This attitude remains, it has not changed in any way.'
Question: 'Many people point out Donald Trump's unpredictability and impulsiveness..."
Sergey Lavrov: "I have already said that we are ready to cooperate with any president. I cannot say that all of our partners' previous leaders were predictable in every situation. This is a part of life and politics. We are hearing a lot of words but we will judge by deeds and respond accordingly."
(Mid.ru, November 9)
Pushkov Tweet Storm:
Senator and former chair of the International Affairs Committee of the State Duma, Aleksey Pushkov, (@Alexey_Pushkov) posted on his twitter account: "We should expect neither love nor presents from Trump: he is a patriot and a businessman. But he is not driven by ideology - he is a realist. And a realist understands the language of agreements [or deals]."
(Twitter.com/Alexey_Pushkov, November 10, 2016)
Pushkov also wrote: "Madonna stripped and Katy Perry got undressed in vain to support Clinton. [Robert] De Niro got angry for nothing. America was not excited by it. Curtain time."
(Twitter.com/Alexey_Pushkov, November 9, 2016)
Minister of Economic Development Alexey Ulyukaev: 'I'm Afraid To Frighten Away The Hope'
Commenting on Trump's victory, Minister of Economic Development Alexey Ulyukaev said: "I'm afraid to 'frighten away the hope.' Eight years ago, when Barack Obama got elected, there were great expectations. Back then there was a talk about a policy of reset, and some steps were even taken. Unfortunately, we ended up with a poor result. That's why I believe we must be conservative with the estimates; there are lots of things to understand ahead of us. We would definitely want to restore the high level of confidence and cooperation on strategic matters as well as economic cooperation."
(Ria.ru, November 9)
Chairman Of The State Duma Committee For International Affairs Slutsky: 'The Status Of Russo-American Relations Remains An Issue Of Serious Concern'
The Chair of the State Duma's International Affairs Committee, Leonid Slutsky, said: "Today new hope has dawned for Russia and the entire world. There is hope for certain positive developments in Russian -American relations - if we go by Trump's pre-election rhetoric and primary on the fact that the line of the previous administration headed toward building a unipolar world based on blood[shed] will be phased out. The upcoming weeks will show the extent that Trump stands for world stability, multi-polar world order and constructive cooperation with Russia or he did he disguise his true position from the voters.
(Ria.ru, November 9)
In another interview Slutsky said: "The status of Russo-American relations remains an issue of serious concern. We still await a reaction, although we don't have a particular hope that the US Senate and House of Representatives States will convene together with some representatives of the four committees for foreign affairs to discuss the situation."
(Kommersant.ru November 11)
First Deputy Chairman of the Duma Committee for International Affairs Novikov: 'It Is Still Too Early To Hope For Any Grand Changes In The White House'
Vyacheslav Novikov, first Deputy Chairman of the state Duma Committee for International Affairs, also said that it is unrealistic to expect swift changes after Trump's victory. "Trump's victory is a signal that problems in the U.S.A. have accumulated...Hillary Clinton personifies the continuation of the current course, and this result therefore shows an attempt to change something. However, the second part of the problem lies in the fact that Trump will be president of his own country. He will have to work with the ruling elite, and it is still too early to hope for any radical changes in the White House's policy. The rise of a new figure is a good opportunity for the U.S. to escape those pitfalls which appeared in the preceding period, and get out with dignity and with good face. Trump may adjust a series of foreign policy lines; and this will not appear to be a painful defeat but may on the contrary [be seen as] a reinforcement of America's position on the world stage."
(Kommersant.ru November 11)
Pro-Kremlin Think Tank Director General Kortunov: 'Is Putin Ready To Give Trump An 'Advance' For Future Friendly Russian-American Relations?'
Andrey Kortunov, Director General of the pro-Kremlin Russian International Affairs Council (RIAC), wrote in the pro-Kremlin think tank Valdai Club website: "As to the Russian-American relations, for the first time in a long time there is some light at the end of the tunnel, even very distant and faint one. If Hillary Clinton won, to begin a dialogue with the new administration would be much more difficult, considering everything that she said about Russia and Vladimir Putin during the election campaign. Psychologically and politically Trump is rather ready to turn the page and start a new chapter in relations with Moscow.
But a lot will depend on the Russian side. The most intriguing question, in my opinion, is as follows. Is Vladimir Putin ready to give Donald Trump an 'advance' for future friendly Russian-American relations? Is the Russian leader ready to offer his new American counterpart something that goes beyond what the Russian side has offered Barack Obama - whether on the Syrian settlement, on strategic arms, or on some other important issue? Or will Moscow simply expect further new initiatives from Washington to begin a serious conversation?"
(Valdaiclub.com, November 9)
Head of the Civil Society Development Fund Kostin: 'Let's Wait For The Formation Of The Trump Administration'
Renowned political strategist and the head of the Civil Society Development Fund, Konstantin Kostin, commented: "Let's await the formation of the Trump administration. It is hard for me to understand the enthusiasm of Russian MPs, who greeted the news of Trump's election with applause. Trump is the US President, and he will act in his own country's interests first and foremost..." Kostin then added: "US-Russian relations have always been better and more predictable during the times of Republican presidents... Trump, as an adherent of realpolitik, will certainly be against budgetary expenditures to fulfill a [US] mission of global hegemon, exporter of democracy and color revolutions... Trump is the most unusual and anti-system candidate in modern US history. The support that Trump has received means that most Americans are a lot more interested in their own income, taxes, rational implementation of the budget and safety than in the rights of sexual minorities, migrants and support for 'color revolutions'."
(Pravdareport.com, November 9)