Political analyst Tatyana Stanovaya writes on the website of the Carnegie Moscow Center about what the Russian "elite" expects from the US presidential elections.
Despite the fact that it seems as if Moscow would prefer Trump's victory over Biden. in fact, there is no unity in the ruling circles of Russia on this issue. It is worth remembering that Trump's victory in 2016 was greeted with great enthusiasm in the Kremlin, so even Simonyan called for a ride on Moscow streets with American flags. However, in reality, no "big deal" promised by Trump to Moscow happened, despite the fact that the new president's rhetoric was very different from the previous one, he did not criticize or teach Russia, and was even going to "get along with Putin". Moreover, Trump broke the united western front, quarreling with his European NATO allies, reducing the level of American participation in international conflicts and calling the main enemy of the United States not Russia, but China.
Russia liked the way the new president was breaking old American approaches, making American policy contradictory and self-contained, but by 2018 it became clear that an agreement with America would not work, since even a hint of any agreement would turn into a new round of anti-Russian rhetoric inside the United States and the weakening of Trump's position. Despite this, faith in Trump still lingers in the Kremlin, as Biden seems so much worse to deal with.
But the reality turned out to be such that Trump's power has already cost us dearly: not only have the sanctions not been lifted, Nord Stream 2 is under threat, and Trump's war against the Chinese threat has led to the cancellation of almost all arms control agreements. Well, Biden's growing chances of winning make us consider this perspective as well. It is no secret that the Kremlin is behaving very carefully, trying not to worsen already bad relations with American Democrats.
The alignment, according to Stanova, in the Russian government is approximately the same. There are those for whom Trump is still ours. Basically, these are propagandists who are responsible for internal and external information policy, but in general, these remain fewer and fewer.
But more and more of those who support Trump because his rule weakens America, and therefore plays into the hands of Russia. It seems very useful to the supporters of this approach that Trump does not interfere in the internal affairs of Russia, nor in conflicts in the post-Soviet space, nor even in Syria. This point of view is shared by the Russian security officials, who like that no one interferes with their plans.
There are, however, those who consider Trump's rule more problematic than beneficial for Russia. Mainly, these are diplomats and foreign policy experts who do not make decisions themselves, but believe that the growth of unpredictability and a decline in the professionalism of American politics threaten not only America itself, but the rest of the world, including Russia. For such people, it is preferable to win Biden, who will have more opportunities to implement agreements with Russia, including on armaments.
There are also those - guardians and security officials - who are sure that the worse the relations between the Kremlin and the White House, the easier it is to promote a repressive policy within the country, protecting "national interests" and "political stability" from external enemies, and from America in the first place, since it is she who is the source of constant threat, regardless of who is at the head of the country.
Unlike the 2016 elections, the Kremlin has already become convinced that Trump is not able to turn intentions into concrete decisions, and therefore the victory of the Democrats will give hope that the topic of "Russian interference" in American affairs will become less relevant, and therefore will reduce America's toxicity of dialogue with Russia.
Since Putin is actively promoting his new initiative - the discussion of the most important world issues at the meetings of the permanent members of the UN Security Council, it is clear that it would be harder to do this with Trump. But if he does get re-elected, the Kremlin will continue to exploit the vulnerability of American politics and capitalize on the West's disunity. And yet, Biden's predictability makes his election not the worst scenario, the expert concludes.