It seems as though Russian President Vladimir Putin is enamored of Donald Trump, the billionaire businessman who’s currently the frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination. “He is a very flamboyant man, very talented, no doubt about that,” Putin said. at a year-end press conference in Moscow. “He is the absolute leader of the presidential race, as we see it today.”
One of the main reasons Putin is so happy with Trump’s frontrunner-status?
He says that he wants to move to another level of relations, to a deeper level of relations with Russia. How can we not welcome that? Of course we welcome it.
When asked about Trump’s aggressive and sometimes insulting rhetoric, Putin made clear this is of no concern to him:
It’s not our business to assess his work in this respect.
The latter isn’t strange considering that Putin has quite a reputation himself for using inflammatory rhetoric. For instance, only recently the Russian president said that “Allah decided to punish the governing clique in Turkey by depriving them of sense and reason.” Earlier this year he said that U.S. President Barack Obama “is not grounded in the real world,” adding that the Obama administration has “mush for brains.”
Meanwhile, Donald Trump has responded to Putin’s praise:
It is always a great honor to be so nicely complimented by a man so highly respected within his own country and beyond.
Although Trump’s supporters are unlikely to be influenced by this response, it’s rather strange that Trump sings the praises of a man who has proved himself to be an enemy of the West and democracy in general. After all, Putin has invaded Crimea and Georgia, and is rapidly increasing Russia’s power and influence in the Middle East. He also has a long record of cracking down on the freedom of the press and the opposition in general.
It says a lot about Trump that he’s happy with what amounts to an endorsement of such a leader and that he then responds in kind by praising Putin’s praises in turn.