The Kremlin has said that it is too soon to determine the course Russia-US relations will chart, but that Moscow is not disappointed with recent statements from the Trump team because “we never wore rose-tinted glasses, never had any illusions”, Putin’s spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said to journalists today.
The statement adds to mounting evidence that the Kremlin is quickly losing its initial faith in Trump’s administration to usher in a period of detente between the two nations. Since his election in November last year, Russian state media has featured relentless coverage of Trump, whose mentions on the news was reported last month to have even eclipsed that of Vladimir Putin.
But on Thursday, news surfaced that the editorial team at Russia’s largest state-owned television media company, VGTRK, had been ordered by management, who are widely understood to abide by Kremlin instructions, to halt all coverage of Trump, a move that appears to respond to Moscow’s frustration with the White House’s hardening line on Russian aggression in eastern Ukraine and its annexation of Crimea in the days before.
Following Trump’s explosive and incoherent press conference on Thursday, Trump was back in the news this morning, but this time Russian state newspapers made it clear that Trump was incoherent and not to be trusted. The newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda slammed Trump’s inconsistent line with regards to Nato, writing that “you need to be drunk to understand the true position of the US president”.
The Kremlin’s official newspaper Rossiskaya Gazeta warned that “excessive Trumpophilia” and the hope for a “great deal” may end up harming the Kremlin. “Apparently high expectations can lead to disappointment and the mutual hardening of positions, including on matters of sanctions and the US supplies of lethal weapons to Ukraine”.
The Moscow establishment was shaken by the resignation of the US National Security Advisor Michael Flynn earlier this week, who had previously been considered by the Kremlin has a reliably pro-Moscow voice in Washington. It was further rattled when White House spokesman Sean Spicer gave a clearly worded statement that Trump expects the Russian government “to de-escalate violence in the Ukraine and return Crimea”, a position that was compounded when Trump tweeted on Wednesday that “Crimea was TAKEN by Russia during the Obama Administration. Was Obama too soft on Russia?”.
According to von Eggert’s, influential Kremlin figures are quickly starting to renounce the earlier held view that “Trump is ours.”