[…] What does this election look like from Moscow’s vantage point? Kremlin television, from English-language RT to the actually watched domestic channels, has had a clear, orange favorite for about a year now. But does that mean Putin himself really wants Trump to win?
“People in [the] West don’t understand,” says Sergei Markov, who runs a pro-Kremlin think tank in Moscow and is the deputy head of the international cooperation committee in the Civic Chamber. “They see that Russian television praises Trump and trashes Clinton. They do this because Trump says nice things about Russia. But the government position is very different from the TV’s because it understands that it’s just words now. And that when the election is over, we will have to deal not with whoever is president but with the American system.”
This is the unanimous view out of Moscow, regardless of analysts’ political proclivities, whether they hate Putin or love him. The desired result in this election has not necessarily been the presidency of Donald Trump. In fact, he seems to them to be rather disposable. The mission is sowing disruption, chaos. And in doing that, Putin will have accomplished something for himself, regardless of who wins next week: a deeply fractured American system, once held up as a shining alternative to Moscow’s style of power, now tarnished beyond recognition.