Moscow, Nov 10: In careful phrasing befitting the spy he once was, Vladimir Putin has made it clear he expects a great deal from President-elect Donald Trump. And, the billionaire businessman may expect a transactional relationship with Putin.
Although the Kremlin clearly detested Hillary Clinton, Putin's public statements on Trump's victory steered clear of gloating. Other Russians were less fastidious, suggesting that Putin in private could be delighted and perhaps harbouring unreasonable expectations.
Trump's rise to the White House puts two men into seats of global power who are paradoxically both remarkably similar and wildly different.
Trump's praise of the Russian president as a strong leader, his suggestion that the US could abandon its NATO commitments and his vehement complaints about allegedly biased news media all appear to parallel Putin's view of the world.
A top Russian diplomat says Moscow had contacts with Trump's campaign ahead of his election as president. Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov was quoted as telling the Interfax news agency today that "there were contacts" with influential people in Trump's circle.
"I don't say that all of them, but a whole array of them supported contacts with Russian representatives."
The report did not give further details. Trump has repeatedly called for better relations with Russia, frequently musing about a rosy world in which Russia and the US get along.
Putin on Wednesday did the same, hoping that the "degraded" relations between the two powers would improve once Trump takes over. Putin noted, however, that the tension "is not our fault."
The US government believes Putin might have interfered in the election that resulted in Trump's victory.
The intelligence community has concluded that Russia was responsible for hacking into the emails of the Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta and gave them to WikiLeaks, which released them.
Some embarrassed and damaged the Clinton campaign. Russia, it appears, wants Trump to play the overture, and only then decide whether to applaud.
Trump made no specific mention of Russia in his first post-election comments but made clear that he wants good relations with all nations. "We will get along with all other nations willing to get along with us," Trump said.
"I want to tell the world community that while we will always put America's interests first, we will deal fairly with everyone, with everyone â all people and all other nations. We will seek common ground, not hostility; partnership, not conflict."
Putin would be most pleased if the US dropped the sanctions imposed for Russia's annexation of Crimea and its involvement in the continuing war in eastern Ukraine. That could appeal to Trump's sense that he is the master of the deal.