Russia’s top diplomat called the US “deeply divided” after last week’s controversial presidential election, but said he expected President-elect Joe Biden to make little change to the White House’s Moscow strategy.
Russia is closely tied to the political career of President Donald Trump, as it interfered in the 2016 presidential election to undermine its opponent Hillary Clinton. Allegations of collusion between Trump’s campaign and the Kremlin have emerged during Trump’s term of office, compounded by the president’s apparent personal affinity with President Vladimir Putin.
Biden has described Russia as the greatest international threat to the U.S. and repeatedly admonished Trump to be too soft on Putin. Biden and his foreign policy team want to revive relations with America’s European allies after four years of tense Trump diplomacy, which, observers said, played into Putin’s hands.
According to the state-supported Russian news agency Tass, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Thursday: “As for the Russian track, our political scientists (and I generally agree with them) frankly do not expect any ‘revolutionary changes’ in American policy towards Russia.
Nevertheless, he added: “It is not a very good idea to make any predictions at this time”.
Lavrov added that the United States is “deeply divided,” he noted: “It would be unfortunate if they were to try to reunite America as a nation on such a Russophobic basis… We shall see,” added Lavrov. Russian diplomats regularly claim that Russophobia is the motive for American and Western pressure on Moscow.
The trump card was Putin’s warm-heartedness, but his government did not fully adhere to Russian foreign policy. Trump’s government has imposed new sanctions on Moscow, put pressure on Berlin over the Russian Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline project, refused to expand bilateral arms control agreements with the Kremlin, and resisted Russian influence and allies in Syria.
Despite all his criticism of NATO, Trump has also expanded American support for the alliance and urged allies to do the same. The government also increased American support for the Ukrainian government-which is still at war with Russian-backed separatists in the east of the country-although this became tangled up in Trump’s ouster.
It is likely that the Biden government will move forward on all these fronts, perhaps with the exception of nuclear arms control. His administration will also try to punish Russia for covert operations abroad and to curb Moscow’s efforts to oust American influence in the Middle East and Europe.
Putin has not yet congratulated Biden on his election victory. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told the media this week that Putin would not do so until all legal challenges to his victory were resolved.