Russia & the West.
Pt. IX: Some Parallels Between the US 2016 Presidential Election & Russian 1996 One
I’ve stumbled on a decent article summing up the way Hillary and Trump are seen from the Kremlin:
Her temper became legendary in Moscow when she breached diplomatic protocol by storming out of a meeting with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov just moments after exchanging pleasantries. And the perception that she is unstable was exacerbated by reports that Clinton drank heavily while acting as America’s top diplomat — accusations that carry special weight in a country that faults alcoholism for many of Boris Yeltsin’s failures.
Cultural differences in decorum have made the situation worse. In Russia, where it is considered a sign of mental illness to so much as smile at a stranger on the street, leaders are expected to project an image of stern calm. Through that prism, Clinton has shown what looks like disturbing behavior on the campaign trail: barking like a dog, bobbing her head, and making exaggerated faces. (To be clear, my point is not that these are real signs of cognitive decay, but that many perceive them that way in Moscow.)
Moscow prefers Trump not because it sees him as easily manipulated, but because his “America First” agenda coincides with its view of international relations. Russia seeks a return to classical international law, in which states negotiate with one another based on mutually understood self-interests untainted by ideology. To Moscow, only the predictability of realpolitik can provide the coherence and stability necessary for a durable peace.
Some minor ‘cultural differences’ klyukvification (as in smile-as-a-sign-of-mental-illness exaggeration — most likely the Russian proverb ‘laughter without a reason is a sign of a fool’ taken literally) is excusable.
As it was outlined in the Russian blogosphere, the US 2016 presidential election reminds one of the Russian 1996 one when then President Boris Yeltsin was running
from against the leader of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation Gennady Zyuganov.
The deplorable smear campaign against Zyuganov, which neither I nor my parents have ever voted for, positioning him as literally
Stalin Hitler in the Ne Dai Bog (God Forbid) newspaper issued solely for the purposes of this black PR campaign. [By the way, the newspaper was relaunched in 2012 when mass protests against the 2012 election fraud took place]. Moreover, Yeltsin’s campaign slogan Vote and or Lose (Golosui ili proigrayesh) was copied from Bill Clinton’s 1992 slogan Choose or Lose. They’ve even paid a popular Russian rap group Mal’chishnik (i.e. ‘bachelor/stag party’ in Russian) and some other artists to reach out to the younger generation. [It was modelled after the American 2 Live Crew band with ‘pussy riot grabbing‘ lyrics. So Mal’chishnik became the herald of the 1990s sexual revolution in Russia]. Here’s the video in which members of the group (pun intended) used the campaign slogan as a hook er:
In 1996 Zyuganov was tied to the communist atrocities of the past (obviously, Zyuganov was not to blame for the 1930s repressions, famine, etc.) just like Trump is positioned as somehow connected to Russia and Putin if not a Ruskie agent directly. The ‘Russianness’ is meant to present a negative designation in the given context. If it wasn’t enough, it seems like these horrible backward Ruskies seem to like Trump. Wow! Just wow!