An article contributed to Intellinews.com today, November 9th, by Chris Weafer, Senior Partner at Macro-Advisory Ltd in Moscow
What does a Trump Presidency mean for Russia?
Finally, the most divisive and disruptive election in modern US history is over. Donald Trump will occupy the White House for at least the next four years, starting in late January. The question that many in Russia and those who have, or are considering investing in Russia, are asking is what does a Trump president actually mean for Russia risk? The perception widely held before the election is that Trump would have a friendlier disposition towards Russia and President Putin personally and that he “could do business with him”. The extension of that being that Trump would be good for Russia and for investors in Russia. But, is that assumption overly naïve, i.e. the default assumption in a bitterly contested election, or can both countries now enter a new friendlier phase?
There is no doubt that Russia, in particular the perception of Russia in the western media, has suffered considerable collateral damage during the latter part of the US presidential election. The Kremlin was all but accused by US security agencies of hacking into the Democrats email system and that translated as an indisputable fact in the media. President Putin was vilified as deliberately interfering in the election process. The reality is that no matter what Trump may personally want, it will not be easy to simply suppress all that bad feeling and pretend it never happened. The relationship between Washington and Moscow is today as bad as it has ever been since the end of the Soviet Union. Many people believe that the two sides are close to entering a new Cold War while others now accept that to be already the case.
So let’s assume that President Trump will, at least initially, be more open to rebuilding a better relationship with President Putin. What can he actually do to make that happen?