How Similar are Putin and Trump?

J. Carlisle Larsen

Detroit Today host Stephen Henderson speaks with Wayne State University expert on Russian history, Aaron Retish. They discuss Russia’s involvement in the Syrian civil war, and whether Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump share anything in common. 

A member of the Russian punk band Pussy Riot told Huffington Post:

When informed that her country’s president, Vladimir Putin, had called Trump “brilliant,” she told The Huffington Post, “When Putin came to his first term or second term, nobody [in Russia] actually thought that this is serious. Everybody was joking about it. And nobody could imagine that after five, six years, we would have a war in Ukraine, annexation of Crimea, and these problems in Syria,” in which Russia has become involved.

Everybody [is] joking about Donald Trump now, but it’s a very short way from joke to sad reality when you have a really crazy president speaking about breaking every moral and logic norm. So I hope that he will not be president. That’s very simple.”

I think Putin was taken seriously by the Russians… [but] a lot of his actions are kind of funny,” says Retish. ”Yes, Trump and Putin have this bro-mance… for Putin’s sake this is the best of all the evils… Trump is either ignorant of Putin or he’s going with what he says about all the other leaders, that he can work with them.”

Retish says Trump is misguided if he believes he would have a good or communicative relationship with Putin.

This was something George Bush thought as well… that proved to be false” he says. “Putin has his own agenda and if it works well with the United States that’s fine… I don’t see Russia and the United States have the same geopolitical goals.”

Image credit: J. Carlisle Larsen

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