Valery Solovei’s take on Trump and Russia, and why Western experts and media doesn’t account for it
Valery Solovei is a Professor and Chair of Public Relations at Moscow State Institute of International Relations and has the notable “reputation of a person who knows a little more than ordinary mortals about what happens beyond the Kremlin wall.”1 Early in January Solovei was interviewed by Irina Tumakova, excerpts of which have been translated by MEMRI.2 One of the topics covered in the interview was Solovei’s take on Trump and Russia (emphasis mine):
Question: “How can Trump’s election affect Russia? Watching the news, one gets the impression that his victory in the U.S. is Russia’s new national holiday, as if a new ‘good supervisor’ was appointed instead of evil Obama.”
Solovei: “Such is the Russocentric character of our propaganda; it shows that the entire world revolves around Russia. Everybody thinks only about how to do it harm, all that’s going on should be seen from our point of view. Of course, it is not so. But there is a chance to come to an agreement and weaken the sanctions. There’s a chance – it does not mean everything is settled, but it is possible. With Hillary Clinton it would hardly be possible. But with Trump you can talk, which is good for Russia. Or, more precisely, for its authorities.”
Question: “Why for the authorities?”
Solovei: “Because, firstly, it would relax the grip of the economic vise. Secondly, it would remove the American pressure on the elite – which is what it is really afraid of. By the way, our elite was lucky with Obama. He was a rather weak president in the sphere of foreign policy. Any strong American president, like Ronald Reagan, or even Trump, could apply very strong pressure on our elite – much more powerful than the pressure it is experiencing now. And within a very short time.”
Question: “Maybe, this is what Trump will do? Contrary to all the rejoicing in the Russian press, the team he has formed could not be described as great lovers of Russia.”
Solovei: “That is true. But that depends on whether we can come to an agreement. Americans don’t care about Russia; they are busy with their own problems. And if they decide that we are their problem, they will apply pressure. In the meantime, we are trying to pretend that we are not a problem for them.”
Question: “It is clear what we want from America. But Trump is a businessman. What can we offer in return, in what can we interest him?”
Solovei: “We can’t offer much, but we do have something. We can offer to untie the Syrian knot, we can participate in it together. We can offer to put pressure on North Korea, although here we are not as strong as, say, China.”
Question: “And that’s it?”
Solovei: “I think so, yes.”
In Solovei’s view Trump is preferable to Hillary, not because he is a Russian agent or infatuated with Putin, but because he is merely open to the possibility of rapprochement with Russia, whereas with Hillary this would be unlikely, presumably due to her ideology (i.e. globalism). So Russian thinkers and analysts like Solovei do not believe Trump will necessarily improve Russian-US relations, only that with Trump, regardless of its probability, the possibility of such an improvement exists.
Owing to Obama’s weakness in foreign policy, Solovei also believes that in some ways Trump could be potentially more difficult for Russia to deal with than his predecessor. If Trump concludes that rapprochement with Russia does not benefit the US then he will not pursue such a goal. Furthermore, if Russia acts in a manner significantly detrimental to US interests then, based on his temperament, Trump will not hesitate to take effective punitive action against Russia. Obversely, although more ideologically opposed to Russia, because of Obama’s weakness and ineptitude, whatever actions he would employ against Russia would be less effective and less punishing.
It is true that the average Russian is quite glad that Trump was elected President instead of Hillary. It also appears that Putin and his officials are hopeful that relations with the US under President Trump may be fruitful. But Putin is no dummy, and neither are Russian scholars and analysts such as Solovei. Fundamentally they are realists, and while cautiously hoping for the best, they are under no illusions that Russian-US relations will magically improve under Trump, and they are well aware that they could in fact worsen, potentially greatly.
With this in mind, it is rather comical listening to America’s mainstream media propound the narrative that Trump’s openness to improving relations with Russia is dangerous and traitorous and seemingly the product of him being in cahoots with Putin. I wonder if any of the ‘experts’ who want us to believe such things have ever actually read what Russian scholars and analysts themselves think of Trump?
If they did so, they would learn that Solovei, who I might add appears to be well connected to the Kremlin, and others3 do not necessarily have a completely positive view of Trump. They are too pragmatic and nuanced for such simplistic black and white analysis. I suspect so is Putin as well. So why don’t the experts realize this? Are they really that ignorant of Russia’s intellectual and political landscape?
Maybe they are ignorant of such things, and if this is the case then such people are not qualified to warrant the title of expert. But I believe there is a more fundamental problem than mere ignorance. We must understand that these experts and journalists are not what they claim to be.
They care not for putting forth an accurate and objective assessment of Trump based on reasoned and learned analysis and honest investigation. No, they are dogmatic in the extreme, having already made up their minds that Trump must be stopped at all cost, regardless of whether what he does is right or wrong. They are not really experts and journalists, but are more akin to psychological warfare operatives. They may have degrees in journalism, or international affairs or Russian studies, but they are nothing more than globalist propaganda shills.
Lets remember that these are the same people who during the 2012 Presidential Debates laughed at Mitt Romney for stating that Russia is “without question, our number one geopolitical foe.”4 Yet now they want us to believe that Russia has potentially ‘hacked’ the US elections and is possibly influencing Trump. In 2012 saying Russia was a threat was grounds for derision, but in 2017 Russia ‘appears’ to be the greatest menace facing every democratic nation of the West.
These are also the same people who prattle on about world peace and order, yet they are aghast that Trump may not escalate tensions between the US and Russia. Instead they want to promote a course of action which in the worst case scenario could lead to a devastating nuclear war. They supposedly care so much for the migrants and refugees of the world but are horrified when Trump wants to form an alliance with Russia to defeat ISIL, one of the groups directly responsible for causing many in the Middle East to flee their homes and take refuge elsewhere.
They clamor that General Michael Flynn is possibly susceptible to Russian blackmail for simply having a phone conversation with a Russian ambassador while acting as the President Elect’s National Security Adviser. Yet did they protest over Hillary Clinton and her email scandal? Remember if we are to believe them it was the Russians that hacked the DNC and John Podesta, which means, if true, that the Russians had the inside dirt on Hillary. Is it not reasonable to speculate that this information could have been used to blackmail Hillary? And if the Russians are such omnipotent hackers then they probably hacked Hillary’s poorly secured personal email server as well, which means they have even more damning information to blackmail Hillary with. But they ignored, even defended, Hillary’s conduct, but eviscerated Flynn for his phone conversation.
I could go on, but I hope you get my point, which is the resistance against Trump is not based on principles–these people could care less about American national security, about migrants and Muslims, about free speech or human rights, etc.–all they care about is maintaining themselves in power and in furthering their grand geopolitical designs.
Whatever Trump might or might not be, it is clear he is nationalistic and by extension anti-globalist. When he declared that “Americanism not globalism will be our credo” he uttered a terrible blasphemy, one which is anathema to the globalists. For this reason the globalists want to destroy him politically, and if necessary physically, and to accomplished the former they have unleashed their servile minions, the experts and the media people, among others, to spew forth a veritable stream of anti-Trump propaganda, foremost of which is the claim that the President is compromised by the Russians.
So in all likelihood it is not that the experts are necessarily ignorant about the ideas of Solovei and other Russian analysts, just that they could care less about such ideas. Ultimately the reality of the Russian academic and political view and perception towards Trump is merely an inconvenient obstacle in the way of their false narrative.
 See my post Do the Russians really want Trump to be US President?