Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump matryoshka dolls for sale in Moscow, Russia (Image: vedomosti.ru)
Russian politicians did not count on Trump’s victory; however, by interfering in the American elections, they tried to do maximum harm to Hillary Clinton. This opinion was expressed by the Russian publisher, journalist and radio host, as well as the expert of the Kennon Institute in Washington, Sergei Parkhomenko, at a meeting with representatives of the Russian-speaking diaspora of the State of California.
“They were preparing for Clinton’s victory, but at the same time they recognized that for them it would be a terrible prospect. For example, the dismissal of Sergei Ivanov from the post of the head of the presidential administration was caused precisely by the fact that he had failed to establish relations with the future Clinton administration. Proceeding from this, the goal of the Kremlin intervention was to maximize chaos in the election process and create all sorts of scandals designed to undermine Clinton’s legitimacy. Thus, the Kremlin hoped that even in the event of her victory the new administration in the White House would be preoccupied with responding to various charges and investigations.
As a consequence, in an attempt to deal with the resulting chaos, the US would be occupied with its internal problems, and would not try to stop Putin from expanding his influence in Europe. And he really did achieve this effect, but not in the way he expected it. Russia did not count on being able to influence the outcome of the election, but today there are many people in the Kremlin who are sincerely proud that they brought Trump to power in America,” the publicist explained.
According to Sergei Parkhomenko, Putin’s main target was still Europe, and not the US, as Russian officials are visibly suffering from the sanctions imposed on them. As part of this effort, the Kremlin placed great hopes on the possible victory of Le Pen in France, while at the same time trying to create a maximum number of obstacles for Hillary Clinton, who openly threatened his imperial plans.
“Julian Assange worked for Russia, for me it was quite obvious. Perhaps, in return, Moscow promised him to somehow help with the way out of the difficult situation that he was in now, being forced to permanently stay at the Ecuadorian embassy. As a result, Trump noticed that the Kremlin was trying to thwart his opponent, and he liked it. In my opinion, it was then that all the informal connections between Trump’s team and Russia, which are coming to light today, started to take place,” said Sergei Parkhomenko.
At the same time, the publicist singled out the second goal of Russian intervention, intended strictly for “internal use”: to prove to the Russian population that there is no freedom and democracy in the world.
“Some primitive tribes have a so-called ‘Cargo Cult’: they build a wooden plane and then expect a real one to show up with a magic load. Russia has its own version of the ‘Cargo Cult’ – they not only create a ‘wooden plane,’ but also try to prove that no other planes exist, and that they are made of wood all over the world. In essence, what they’re saying is that democracy, honest elections, independent courts and free press don’t exist anywhere in the world,” the journalist added.
In these aspects, according to Sergei Parkhomenko, Trump’s views completely coincide with Moscow.
“When American judges began blocking Trump’s first decrees, his administration literally began to breathe in unison with the Kremlin, indignant that a ‘so-called judge’ dared to encroach on the presidential power. Of course, Putin and Trump have a kinship of souls,” he notes.
Sergei Parkhomenko does not doubt that there are enough “ladies of easy virtue” in Moscow who are working with Russian intelligence; their use reflects the typical Russian style of “work” with regard to foreigners, and knowing of Trump’s weakness when it comes to women, it is likely that Moscow has enough compromising material on him.
“The whole question is, will this work? I know that Trump made several attempts to build business in Russia, came to Moscow, gave bribes, but he did not succeed. However, in Russia there are many dubious oligarchs with a lot of free money of semi-criminal origin. Trump was on the verge of bankruptcy six times, and each time managed to avoid it, which shows that someone lent him the money. Most likely, these people were the same dubious Russian businessmen, because for them this deal also bore a direct benefit: the opportunity to ‘launder’ criminal money and be considered, for example, not an owner of a clothing market in Moscow, but a solid investor in the New York firm. Currently, people involved in investigating Trump’s relations with Moscow are actively looking for this Russian money and are likely to find them, because financial tranches had to leave some traces. However, it is still not known how these findings will be perceived by American politicians,” Parkhomenko explained.
At the same time, the publicist believes that whatever the relationship between Trump and Russia, the new head of the White House will not be able to lift sanctions or separate the issues of the Crimea and the Donbas.
“Perhaps we should expect point-like concessions or indulgences, for example, the exclusion of specific individuals from the sanctions list, but the complete lifting of sanctions is simply inconceivable,” he said.