A Russian Opinion With an Anti-Russian Aftertaste

Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard


Yury Selivanov


The American media prefers to publish the works of those Moscow experts whose conclusions only confirm their own views.

The leading American newspaper “The New York Times” published the article of Director of the Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies (CAST) Ruslan Pukhov “Russia Isn’t Actually That Happy About Trump’s Victory”, dedicated to the view from Russia on the possible consequences of Donald Trump’s victory in the US presidential elections for Russian-American relations, including in the future.

The article, which pretends to be representative of an “independent Russian expert’s point of view”, on the future of Russian-American relations contains a number of arguable claims, which together draw, in my view, a distorted picture of not only the  foreign policy position of Donald Trump, but also the Russian notions concerning it.

First of all, the obviously exaggerated categorical and peremptory tone of some of the author’s estimates catches the eye. Thus, for example, he writes: “the U.S. political elite remains more often than not globalist, interventionist, and {imperialist}”.

To imagine it in such a way means, in my opinion, to seriously contrast with reality. Because the concept of the “American elite” is quite broad and it includes not only supporters of Hillary Clinton. Otherwise Trump wouldn’t have much to form his new administration with, while he doesn’t have any problems with this. The American elite is a part of American society, which during this period of historical development is far from monolithic, including on foreign policy issues. Otherwise, Trump as President would simply not exist:

“Donald J. Trump’s shocking triumph in the American presidential election will have some unusual foreign-policy repercussions. During the campaign, Democrats frequently tried to damage Mr. Trump’s standing by claiming that President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia was working for and supporting the Republican nominee. Now many may believe that America’s huge political upset could even be described as a victory for the Kremlin.”

The myth about the “unexpectedness” of Trump’s victory, about its almost accidental nature, today American propaganda actively exaggerates, the same one that recently went out of its skin to convince voters of the inevitability of Clinton’s victory, and accordingly – the futility of voting for Trump. It is especially sad that the author of this infantile little tale pretends to show in the largest American newspaper the opinion of the entire Russian expert community.

In reality, the victory of any candidate for the US Presidency who managed to get into the final round of elections is natural by definition. Simply because it is testament to his great popularity and, therefore, the high chances of ultimate success.

The author, describing Trump as a strong and charismatic leader, paradoxically argues… with his own thesis of his “unexpected victory”:

“Unlike much of the American and international news media, Russian analysts and commentators have never underestimated Mr. Trump. Even though he was sometimes compared to Vladimir Zhironovsky, a flamboyant and outspoken Russian populist, Mr. Trump was more often viewed as a strong and charismatic right-of-center leader. Some Russian commentators even reckon he may more resemble Ronald Reagan — a successful president pursuing a tough unilateral line on foreign and domestic policy.”

Let’s agree – this thesis of an “unexpected victory” sounds a bit strange in the case of a candidate with the makings of a “second Reagan”.

Furthermore, the author, for some reason, decided to throw a curveball, depriving the Russian President of his support for Trump:

“In fact, the idea peddled by American news media that Mr. Putin supports Mr. Trump is far removed from reality. Proponents of this idea have blithely ignored the assessments in mainstream Russian news media and by Russian analysts, which have never been particularly enthusiastic about Mr. Trump.”

We can completely be in agreement with the fact that in the so-called “Russian mainstream media”, i.e., to put it simply, in liberal Pro-Western Moscow publications, the “noticeable enthusiasm for Trump never existed especially”. And in this media how could it appear if all this media during all of the elections was tooting the same tune with their American business partners, who with all their forces were “boosting” Clinton and “soaking” the same Trump. And that’s why the price of these “estimates” is known – a penny a dozen on market day. In America, about this today it is said that the local press, and at the same time sociology, has completely revealed itself as a corrupt subservient to traditional elites. So the referrals to such tarnished “authoritativeness” is unlikely to ever be appropriate.

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Concerning the allegedly unlawfully-inflated topic of Putin’s support for Trump, we can say that the repeated public expression of mutual sympathy translated into Russian language is indeed an expression of such support. Moreover, Putin, in his vision of the American situation, was in the end much more discerning than Mr Pukhov, which was  a complete surprise for President Trump.

His interpretation of the so-called “Russian concern” about the victory of this candidate looks no less strange:

“There is a lot of concern in Russia about what will happen to American foreign policy once Mr. Trump is inaugurated. The main problem with Mr. Trump is that no one — including the president-elect himself — seems to know what he will do as president, especially in the area of foreign policy. His statements on foreign relations so far have been confusing and, at times, contradictory.”

To call this level of reasoning politological I don’t even dare. Not to mention that the author, probably unwittingly, brings the reader to the idea of the completely obvious and precise “alternative”, which Hillary Clinton represented. And which in the mass public conscience was cast in the really unambiguous formula “Clinton is the third world war!”. If for our author such nuclear “clarity” is more preferable than Trump’s muddle, in this case I will allow myself to express surprise on this occasion. In Russia, according to my observations, there are not so many suicidal people, so, even if it is relative, the willingness of Trump to negotiate rather than to fight could cause here some kind of special “concern”.

The author’s reasoning about the prospects of relations between the US and Russia looks rather like the experience of writing the text in the style of fantasy, which, unlike science fiction, does not need logic or at least some connection with reality. All the more strange is that they are presented as some universal “Russian point of view”:

“In the meantime, as Russia tries to figure out what to expect from Trump’s presidency, from the Russian point of view there is no reason to believe that Trump, what ever he will say, will offer any major concessions or come to any agreements with Moscow. The most important thing is that Moscow has now simply nothing to offer Washington — in the world there is nothing that the United States would not be able to obtain without the assistance of Moscow. So no reason for major concessions and agreements between Russia and the United States are seen. Putin has nothing to pay for such a deal. Even if Trump subjectively configured a sort of “improved relations” with Russia — he will find out when he moves into the Oval office that this “improvement” will not give any profits for America . Either it will explained to him by his advisers, yes, most likely he will understand it himself using his sense of an outstanding businessman. Therefore, to achieve some kind of global Russian-American agreement (which, in ideal representations of Putin’s Kremlin, must look like is not something like a new version of “Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact”, or as Yalta-45, albeit on a smaller scale, encompassing only the territory of the former Soviet Union) now and in the foreseeable future there are no serious prerequisites. Accordingly, the administration of Trump will have no sense to make any advances to Moscow — whether it be the softening its position on Ukraine or the lifting of sanctions.”

It seems that precisely this part of this opus, the most lengthy and wordy, contains what the author “took up the pen” for – practical advice to Washington. The essence of which is not to make any concessions to Russia just because she supposedly doesn’t deserve it, because nothing depends on her in this world, according to Mr Pukhov.

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The desperate boldness that the aforementioned writer shows with his complete disregard for the reality of the modern world is shocking, where the United States and the West in general cannot not cope without Russia on a number of key issues in global politics, ranging from global energy balance to the war in Syria. And if the US is so omnipotent to the point that they do not need Moscow, then why have they still not overthrown Syrian President Assad, while they sought to do this from the beginning? And that’s not to mention such “weights” on the bases of the global scales as processes of global anti-Western (BRICS, SCO) and post-Soviet, Eurasian (Eurasian Economic Community) integration, in which Russia plays a very important role and who are objective and will gain strength regardless of the wishes of the West and even in spite of them.

After all of the above it is not surprising that the author of this “Russian view”, in the end, strays, in unison with the same American propaganda, by announcing Russia as the source of all the current world problems:

“Of course, if Trump in the White House will retain his spontaneous instinctive moderate isolationism, it can slightly reduce the intensity of a possible diplomatic confrontation with Russia on secondary issues. However, this cannot affect in any way the basic problems of Russian-American relations resulting from the fundamental desire of Moscow to come back to the world arena as a great power, and if she wants to integrate into the US-led “pro-Western” world order, it can only happen as such a great power with de facto dominance within the borders of the former USSR (minus the Baltic countries).”

There we have it! American global expansion is put to the side! It’s simply not here. As, apparently, there are also no 1,500 American military bases surrounding Russia from all sides, as well as NATO’s brigades marching more and more closer to the Russian border. And the fault for all of this belongs to the “fundamental commitment” of Moscow to becoming a world power. Well, that is the kind of ending one would expect. Because the foundations of any liberal thinking in the long run contains stamps of Western propaganda clichés, assimilated at the genetic level. Which can easily lead people who look reasonable on the surface towards delirium. And this is evidenced by the last – “dessert” quote from this creation:

“…confrontation with China seems almost inevitable, because the United States can’t build normal relations with another superpower and don’t have either experience of such relations or even perceptions about it.”

Thus, the history of the world, according to the version of Mr Pukhov, began exactly 25 years ago. And that’s why there was no bipolar world, the head of which stood the two superpowers – the USSR and the US, which, respectively, had a very rich experience of bilateral relations. But since our author in those prehistoric times was still crawling under tables, of course, it is not necessary for him to know about it.

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