Like much of the American public, the Russian public is no doubt weary of the prior couple years of non-stop 'Russiagate' headlines and wild accusations out of Western press, which all are now pretty much in complete agreement came to absolutely nothing. This is also why the whole issue has been conspicuously dropped by the Biden campaign and as a talking point among the Democrats, though in some corners there's been meek attempts to revive it, especially related to claims of "expected" Kremlin interference in the impending presidential election.
Apparently seeing in this an opportunity for some epic trolling, Russian President Vladimir Putin in an interview with Rossiya 1 TV days ago said it was actually the Democratic Party and the Communist Party which have most in common.
Putin was speaking in terms of historic Soviet communism in the recent interview (Wednesday) detailed in Newsweek. "The Democratic Party is traditionally closer to the so-called liberal values, closer to social democratic ideas," Putin began. "And it was from the social democratic environment that the Communist Party evolved."
"After all, I was a member of the Soviet Communist Party for nearly 20 years" Putin added. "I was a rank-and-file member, but it can be said that I believed in the party's ideas. I still like many of these left-wing values. Equality and fraternity. What is bad about them? In fact, they are akin to Christian values."
"Yes, they are difficult to implement, but they are very attractive, nevertheless. In other words, this can be seen as an ideological basis for developing contacts with the Democratic representative."
The Russian president also invoked that historically Russian communists in the Soviet era would have been fully on board the Black Lives Matter movement and other civil rights related causes. "So, this is something that can be seen, to a degree, as common values, if not a unifying agent for us," the Russian president said. "People of my generation remember a time when huge portraits of Angela Davis, a member of the U.S. Communist Party and an ardent fighter for the rights of African Americans, were on view around the Soviet Union."
So there it is: Putin is saying his own personal ideological past could be a basis of "shared values" with a Biden presidency, again, it what appears to be a sophisticated bit of trolling that he knows Biden won't welcome one bit. Or let's call it a 'Russian endorsement Putin style'. The Associated Press and others described it as Putin "hedging his bets", however.
Another interesting part of the interview is where the Russian TV presenter asked Putin the following question:
“The entire world is watching the final stage of the US presidential race. Much has happened there, including things we could never imagine happening before but the one constant in recent years is that your name is mentioned all the time,” Zarubin said. “Moreover, during the latest debates, which have provoked a public outcry, presidential candidate Biden called candidate Trump ‘Putin’s puppy.'”
“Since they keep talking about you, I would like to ask a question which you probably will not want to answer,” the interviewer continued. “Nevertheless, here it is: Whose position in this race, Trump’s or Biden’s, appeals to you more?”
And here's Putin's response:
“Everything that is happening in the United States is the result of the country’s internal political processes and problems,” Putin said. “By the way, when anyone tries to humiliate or insult the incumbent head of state, in this case in the context you have mentioned, this actually enhances our prestige, because they are talking about our incredible influence and power. In a way, it could be said that they are playing into our hands, as the saying goes.”
But on a more serious note Putin pointed out that contrary to the notion some level of sympathy between the Trump administration and the Kremlin, much less the charge of "collusion", it remains that US-Russia relations have reached a low-point in recent history under Trump. The record bears this out.
Putin underscored that “the greatest number of various kinds of restrictions and sanctions were introduced [against Russia] during the Trump presidency.”
“Decisions on imposing new sanctions or expanding previous ones were made 46 times. The incumbent’s administration withdrew from the INF treaty. That was a very drastic step. After 2002, when the Bush administration withdrew from the ABM treaty, that was the second major step. And I believe it is a big danger to international stability and security,” Putin explained.
“Now the US has announced the beginning of the procedure for withdrawing from the Open Skies Treaty. We have good reason to be concerned about that, too. A number of our joint projects, modest, but viable, have not been implemented – the business council project, expert council, and so on,” he concluded.
But then on Biden specifically Putin said that despite “rather sharp anti-Russian rhetoric” from the Democratic nominee, it remains "Candidate Biden has said openly that he was ready to extend the New START or to sign a new strategic offensive reductions treaty."
"This is already a very significant element of our potential future cooperation," Putin added of a potential Biden presidency.