Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Partly Cloudy Day 75° Partly Cloudy
News >  Nation/World

Russian political elites revel in Trump’s inauguration

People watch the presidential inauguration ceremony for Donald Trump in a network and party location in Moscow, Russia, Friday, Jan. 20, 2017. (Ivan Sekretarev / Associated Press)
People watch the presidential inauguration ceremony for Donald Trump in a network and party location in Moscow, Russia, Friday, Jan. 20, 2017. (Ivan Sekretarev / Associated Press)
By Vladimir Isachenkov and Nataliya Vasilyeva Associated Press

MOSCOW – Champagne corks popped in Moscow as Russians celebrated the start of Donald Trump’s presidency, confident of better relations ahead between the two countries.

“It’s weird, but it’s great, and for the first time ever Russians are applauding the victory of a U.S. presidential candidate, it’s a sign of the times,” political analyst Stanislav Byshok said.

Trump’s promises to fix ravaged relations with Moscow have elated Russia’s political elite following spiraling tensions with Washington over the Ukrainian crisis, the war in Syria and allegations of Russian meddling in the U.S. elections.

“We are ready to do our share of the work in order to improve the relationship,” Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said on Facebook.

A hundred Trump sympathizers, nationalist activists and spin doctors gathered at a hipster party location several hundred meters away from the Kremlin to celebrate.

An hour before Trump took the stage in Washington, the sound of opening champagne bottles echoed in the vaulted hall of the former telegraph building. The party was co-sponsored by the conservative Tsargrad TV channel which is led by ultra-right ideologue Alexander Dugin.

“Yes, it’s a holiday,” said a beaming Dmitry Rode, a communications executive, with a glass of champagne in his hand.

“We all hope that relations between our countries and more importantly between our peoples will help to develop our economies. We’re neighbors, we’re just 50 kilometers (30 miles) away from each other.”

Some party-goers wore Guy Fawkes masks, associated with hackers, in a sly reference to charges that Russia interfered in the U.S. election.

“I’m happy for all Russian hackers,” said 27-year old Filip Nikolsky, who wore a sweatshirt sporting the “You’ve Been Hacked” signature below.

He said he doesn’t know if the allegations are true, but “if it’s true, why shouldn’t we be happy?”

At one Moscow nightclub, several dozen people began toasting Trump late Thursday.

Willi Tokarev, 82, a singer who emigrated to the U.S. in the mid-1970s and later became a music legend in Russia, topped the entertainment bill with his song “Trumplissimo America!”

Trump’s praise for Russian President Vladimir Putin has raised expectations that he could move to normalize ties, though Trump hasn’t articulated a clear policy and some of his Cabinet nominees have made hawkish statements on Russia.

Leonid Slutsky, the head of the foreign affairs committee in the lower house of parliament, expressed hope that Trump will move to establish constructive ties with Moscow, but cautioned that there is no “magic button” to instantly achieve that. “We expect a slow but steady revival of our relations,” he said.

Dmitri Trenin, director of the Carnegie Moscow Center, predicted that Moscow will face a pragmatic but very tough partner in Trump.

“Russia’s potential is incomparable to that of the United States,” he said, adding that Moscow will have to apply a lot of skills “to play from the position of weakness and not lose.”

Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov voiced hope that Trump will work with Putin on solving the Ukrainian crisis and other problems, but warned against expectations of quick progress. “Difficulties will remain,” he said.

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Active Person

Subscribe now to get breaking news alerts in your email inbox

Get breaking news delivered to your inbox as it happens.