On Sunday, 99 cities across the Russian Federation joined together in mass peaceful protests against Putin and corruption in the Russian government, only to be met with riot police who manhandled and arrested the protesters. Riot police arrested as many protesters as possible and threw journalists in jail to prevent coverage of the brutal government crackdown on peaceful protesters. Hundreds were arrested on baseless grounds, simply for dissenting against Putin’s regime.
The Trump Administration responded by waiting 12 hours after the initial reports came out of Russia about the police crackdown and then issuing a weak statement late Sunday evening:
“The Russian people, like people everywhere, deserve a government that supports an open marketplace of ideas, transparent and accountable governance, equal treatment under the law, and the ability to exercise their rights without fear of retribution,”
Besides issuing a weak and late condemnation, Trump has not hinted at any actual changes in foreign policy towards Russia as a response to their recent government repression. Trump in general seems to have a general fondness to how Putin runs Russia- with an iron fist. He’s on record praising Putin as ‘a strong leader’. Shortly after his election, he repeated his point to Bill O’Reilly and praised Putin even while acknowledging the fact Putin is a murderer:
“There are a lot of killers,” he said, when O’Reilly pressed him on Putin’s record. “We’ve got a lot of killers. What, you think our country is so innocent?”
Trump also never issued a statement on the murder of Putin political rival Denis Voronkov, a directed hit by the Russian government to kill the Putin dissenter.
As the Russian government continues to arrest and kill dissenters, can Americans expect Trump to issue actual consequences towards Russia? Or is the long held American tradition of helping spread democracy across the world dead with the new administration?
With the response from Trump we saw on Sunday towards the arrest of hundreds of democratic protesters, I’m not sure we can.