For Muscovites watching the ceremony, US chairwomen past warm words towards Vladimir Putin are seen as sign the Kremlin will regain influence
Maria Katasonova pointed proudly to the three stylised portraits behind her: versions of Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin and Marine Le Pen, all made to look eerily similar with blond hair and identical outfits. Its called Triptych, she told. It was painted a year ago, when nobody believed Trump had a chance of winning, except us. Now, its a vision of the future.
Its a vision that frightens many in other parts of Europe, but here, people can hardly contain their exhilaration at the friendly noises Trump is making towards Russia, and the concurrent shakiness of the European liberal consensus.
Katasonova, a nationalist activist who has been backing Trump aloud on social media for months, hosted an inauguration party on Friday evening in a large hall a few hundred metres from the Kremlin. Russian sparkling wine and meat pies were handed around as guests watched coverage from Washington with simultaneous translation into Russian.
Later, at the same venue, there were debates broadcast live on an Orthodox Christian television station, and the launch of a Russian-language biography of Trump, entitled Black Swan .
Russians were also treated to live coverage of the inauguration on nation television channels. I cant think of another event that has been broadcast in Russia by such a great number of media outlets, opponent legislator Alexey Navalny tweeted.
Putin has loomed menacingly over this US election and its aftermath. While the more spectacular claims of Russian influence on Trump contained in the dossier compiled by a former MI6 agentand published by Buzzfeed last week are unsubstantiated and denied by both Trump and the Russians, US intelligence believes with high confidence that, at the least, Russia hacked Democratic party emails and passed them to Wikileaks.
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