Skip to main content

The Globe and Mail

Donald Trump won the U.S. election. So did Vladimir Putin

What do voters in Moldova, Bulgaria and the United States have in common? They all elected presidents this month who are sympathetic to Russia and its dictatorial leader, Vladimir Putin.

Tiny Moldova has Igor Dodon, who has promised to pursue closer ties with Moscow and turn away from the European Union – a position that stands in polar opposition to that of the country's current, and very corrupt, government.

In Bulgaria, Rumen Radev, an outsider voted in by people who are also tired of corruption and who believe closer economic ties with Russia can turn their prospects around, is calling for an end to EU sanctions on Moscow.

Story continues below advertisement

Analysis: Trump-Putin phone call hints at new era

Related: Russia will gain from a Trump presidency. Other countries? Not so much.

Before the election: Follow the money to see why Putin wants a Trump victory

And in the U.S., president-elect Donald Trump has a clear preference for Mr. Putin's policies and desires over those of the EU and the NATO alliance. He has also signalled that he is willing to accept Russia's unlawful annexation of Crimea, is indifferent to Russia's military adventurism in Eastern Ukraine, and that he may lift American sanctions related to those incursions.

On the Syrian front, Mr. Trump has again allied himself with Mr. Putin, an avid supporter of the Assad regime, contradicting U.S. policy. Mr. Putin has returned the love. He was the first leader to congratulate Mr. Trump after his election win, and late last week the president-elect was made an honorary Cossack.

The situation is grim. A U.S. president who allows a country to invade and annex a neighbour without sanction is a grave threat to world stability. Mr. Trump's indifference to national sovereignty plays directly into the hands of Mr. Putin, a master manipulator who learned in the KGB how to destabilize regimes (his fingerprints are all over the release of damaging e-mails stolen by Russian hackers from the Democratic Party's computers).

His actions in Ukraine and Syria, including the menacing deployment of navy forces off the coast of Syria, have been calculated attempts to see how far he can push the West.

Story continues below advertisement

To date, there has been no pushback, other than strong condemnation, which is meaningless to Mr. Putin. And now there is an inexperienced and uninformed populist in the White House who is open to lifting U.S. sanctions and abandoning America's allies in Europe. Mr. Putin may well feel that he won the election.

Report an error Licensing Options
Comments

The Globe invites you to share your views. Please stay on topic and be respectful to everyone. For more information on our commenting policies and how our community-based moderation works, please read our Community Guidelines and our Terms and Conditions.

We’ve made some technical updates to our commenting software. If you are experiencing any issues posting comments, simply log out and log back in.

Discussion loading… ✨

Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

Thank you!

You are now subscribed to the newsletter at

You can unsubscribe from this newsletter or Globe promotions at any time by clicking the link at the bottom of the newsletter, or by emailing us at privacy@globeandmail.com.