With Trump, Russian government and Russian opposition swap positions on US

A Russian sugar manufacturer celebrating the election of Donald Trump the next president of the United States of America (Image: social media)

A Russian sugar manufacturer celebrating the election of Donald Trump the next president of the United States of America (Image: social media) 

International, More

Russian democrats have denounced Donald Trump’s ban on some Muslims entering the US as a violation of human rights, while the Russian government media have been far more restrained or even supportive of what the new president has done, the clearest reversal in the way the two parts of the Russian political spectrum view the United States.

Aleksey Gorbachev (Image: ng.ru)

Aleksey Gorbachev
(Image: ng.ru)

In a commentary in today’s Nezavisimaya Gazeta, Aleksey Gorbachev, the political observer of that Moscow paper, says that under Barack Obama, the Russian opposition generally supported official Washington’s moves while the Russian government condemned them. Now in the Trump era, the reverse is true.

Konstantin Merzlikin, the deputy head of the PARNAS Party, says that “no one prohibits a migration service from strictly checking the admission to its country of citizens of states with a heightened level of terrorist threat. But when such a measure is introduced … toward those with visas and resident permits, serious questions arise about fundamental rights and freedoms.”

He adds that in his view, “this will produce an increase in anti-Americanism around the world.” Yabloko Party leader Emiliya Slabunova agrees: Trump’s action, she says, “will not only deepen the split in America and in the world community but increase the risk of new terrorist actions.”

Sergey Mitrokhin, another Yabloko leader, says that the wave of protests against Trump’s actions clear show just how much what the US president has done “contradicts American civilization” because the US is “a country of immigrants.” Imposing a religious test “not only points to double standards but raises the risk of terrorist attacks against Americans abroad.

Moreover, according to Mitrokhin, the order “testifies to the lack of analytic thinking in Trump and his entourage.” Any further steps in this same direction would become a chance to rethink the basis of [America’s] existence.”

But Russian state television [the main tool of Putin’s propaganda machine – Ed.], Gorbachev says, “assess the situation differently.” Its broadcasters talk about how Trump is “a builder of a new America” and criticize the opponents of his immigration ban either as those who long for Obama’s time or who want cheap labor for American factories.

According to the Nezavisimaya Gazeta journalist, “experts are certain that Russian media will be sympathetic to Trump just as long as he will keep their hopes alive for the lifting of sanctions.” Up to now, he quotes Aleksey Mukhin, head of the Moscow Center for Political Information, they remain “in a state of euphoria about Trump.”

Mukhin says that he doesn’t share that euphoria because despite Trump’s “pro-Russian rhetoric,” the American president remains “a very complex personality with whom [Moscow] will find it extremely difficult to agree on something.”

Nonetheless, it is striking and disturbing that Russian democrats are condemning what Washington has done while Russian authoritarians are praising or at least not criticizing it, a pattern that represents a departure from the past and that should be a warning signal to those who care about democracy in all countries.


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Edited by: A. N.

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Comments

  1. Avatar Alex George says:

    Has the White House made any statement about the fighting in Ukraine?

    Thousands of shells have been fired, including from tanks and 152mm artillery which are banned under the Minsk accords. About a dozen soldiers and civilians killed on the Ukrainian side, apparently many more killed on the Russian side, hundreds wounded on all sides, and relentless Russian attacks on Ukrainian positions still continuing.

    And apparently, silence from the USA. Does it have an opinion?

    1. Avatar Eolone says:

      At least, Trump is allowing the US to participate in NATO’s Black Sea exercise. It goes on for ten days. This is an example of interrelated issues.

      1. Avatar Alex George says:

        Yes, that’s a fair point, and apparently he and Mattis have assured NATO of their support.

  2. Avatar Eolone says:

    Mitrokhin: a “lack of analytic thinking in Trump and his entourage”.

    It’s become clearer that Trump’s thinking is informed by The Apprentice, dividing the presidential office into opposing factions. There have been reports of infighting. This, from The Hill:

    “The bitter infighting that plagued Donald Trump’s campaign during the Republican presidential primary is starting to spill over into his team’s efforts to establish an administration and political operation, according to more than half a dozen sources familiar with the planning efforts.”

    The height of infighting, if it should occur, would be Jared Kushner against Bannon.

    Trump’s strategy is to divert from his incompetence. He was unprepared to be president, as witnessed by the terrible travel ban document he signed.

    But it is more than his administration. He purposely divides the country into competing groups. We saw him ask for unity, then a short time later, tweet about his “enemies”: “Happy New Year to all, including to my many enemies and those who have fought me and lost so badly they just don’t know what to do. Love!” This was needless and inflammatory. There were very many angry commenters major newspaper sites. We should expect much more of this deliberate attempt at division.

    Internationally, this ploy will not serve him well. There are too many interrelated issues for it to succeed.

    1. Avatar MichaelA says:

      he thinks he can just go around insulting everyone and not pay the price
      stupid man

  3. Avatar zorbatheturk says:

    ruSSians do not have a clue about the United States, or anything to do with the West. They should leave political analysis to others and stick to their core competency of turning vodka into urine. Moscow is the world capital of lies and spies. Dumb spies who do evil.