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9 December, 2016 00:00 00 AM
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Putin, and Muscovites, hope Trump will be a friend to Russia

Jill Dougherty
Putin, and Muscovites, hope Trump will be a friend to Russia

Nine days before the US presidential election, Russian TV anchor Dmitry Kiselev ranted about America’s “democracy:” Millions of “dead souls” voting! Voters bused around a city, casting ballots eight to ten times! Biggest scandal in history!

This week, Kiselev barely mentioned the US, although he did take a few digs at the “West” for its “boorishness” and “arrogance.”
Donald Trump’s victory stunned Russia’s state-controlled media. They had overwhelmingly supported Trump but, for months, insisted the American system was so “fixed,” so corrupt, that an outsider simply had no chance of being elected.
When the impossible happened, the Russian propaganda machine temporarily froze, then pivoted, admitting that maybe, just maybe, this time the “people” had beaten the system. With Trump on his way to the White House, the tone in Moscow is now cautiously hopeful that Trump will follow through on his positive words about Russian President Vladimir Putin, and might even become an ally. 
Channeling Trump’s earlier “Wouldn’t it be nice if we got along with Russia?” comments, Putin this week insisted, reassuringly, “We don’t look for enemies and have never done so. We need friends.” 
And he’s made it official: Donald Trump is, in his view, “smart.””Since he was successful in business, this proves he is a smart person,” Putin said in an interview last week with Russia’s NTV. “As a smart person, he’s able to come to grips quickly with another level of responsibility and we expect him to act with this stance in mind.”
Many of Putin’s fellow Russians seem to be taking their cue from him, and from the media that exhaustively cover his remarks.
Ekaterina and Stanislav, both young IT specialists, were wheeling their baby Victoria—bundled up against the cold—down Kamergersky street in downtown Moscow.
“I really do think there’s hope that relations will get better,” Ekaterina told me. “There’s no reason to be enemies. Absolutely none! It’s better to be friendly, respect each other, because we’re all human beings. And if this tension disappears, that would be fantastic - for everyone!”
Stanislav said he’s seeing less unease about the US in the news. “Because there’s hope, that’s why there’s less tension. Everyone is expecting that something good will happen.” 
A new poll by the Levada Center suggests more than half of Russians think relations with the US will improve under a Trump presidency. Another Levada Center poll, published in the financial newspaper RBK, says the number of Russians who want better relations with the West is at its highest -- 71% -- since March 2000, the start of the Putin presidency, when 76% expressed that opinion. 
That’s a big change from a year and a half ago; a July 2015 poll found only 50% of Russians wanted closer ties. Moscow, at that point, was struggling against economic sanctions imposed by the US and Europe in response to its annexation of Crimea.
One explanation for the improvement, according to Levada Center assistant director Alexey Grazhdankin, is the Russian media’s positive depiction of Donald Trump.     —CNN

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Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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