As the long duel between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump comes to an end, the world nervously waits to learn the name of the new US president. One country in particular has been watching the presidential race very closely – Russia.
In recent months, the elections have been one of the most discussed topics in the country, with most of the state’s politicians, celebrities and media outlets not hiding their support for one specific candidate. With headlines like “Trump’s Victory in the interests of US and Russia” [Vzglyad newspaper] it is clear who the Russian media is rooting for.
Trump is a favourite candidate among the people too, with the pre-election survey by Russian independent polling organization Levada Center revealing that almost 40% of Russians hope that he will win. In comparison, only 9% of respondents support Clinton. A massive 91% of Russians said that they are following the presidential race.
“Everyone is talking about it. People are asking each other all the time ‘Who would you vote for?’ You can’t turn on TV or go online without seeing something about the US elections,” said Elena Kudrina, 28, Senior Manager at a media communications agency.
Elena is just one of millions of Russians who are not hiding their support for Trump, hoping that he can bring a thaw in relations between the two nations.
“I hope he wins. I am just so tired of the terrible relations between our countries. Maybe we can fix things if he becomes president,” she continued.
Russia has suffered from economic sanctions imposed by Washington DC, and its allies in 2014. The measures were introduced after the Russian annexation of Crimea and Russia’s involvement in the Ukrainian crisis. Since then, the US and Russia’s relation has worsened, some calling it the Second Cold War.
Moscow-based housewife Maria Maximova, 51, said: “I am just not sure that anything will change in any case. But at least Trump seems more reasonable in his statements on Russia. At least that’s how our media keeps presenting things.”
Of course, not all Russian public personas and news organisations have voiced their preference for Trump. Some independent news organisations and smaller outlets have been taking both candidates with a grain of salt, criticizing the coverage of US Presidential race in the country.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has shown a cautious affection toward Trump. The Russian leader and the US presidential candidate have complimented each other numerous times, with Putin voicing his support for the Republican candidate. Although Trump remains a dark horse for Moscow, he is still seen as a better option than Clinton, who is likely to continue Barack Obama’s sanctions regime.