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    Trump and Crimea: Campaign Rhetoric, Haste or Real Promise?

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    Russian and foreign political analysts are trying to analyze what the remarks of US Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump on recognizing Crimea as part of Russia actually mean. And while some think it was just election rhetoric, or a hasty attempt to get rid of journalists, others are taking his words more seriously.

    "We'll be looking at that. Yeah, we'll be looking," US Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump promised on Wednesday at a press conference in Florida, when asked whether he would recognize Crimea as Russia’s territory and if he would consider lifting anti-Russian sanctions.

    The US state Department considers the promise pre-election rhetoric and was not ready to comment on the statement.

    “We will not comment on the rhetoric of the election campaign,” Julia Mason, a State Department representative, told RIA Novosti.

    However former US ambassadors to Russia and Ukraine Michael McFaul and Steven Pifer respectively were quick to suggest that Trump’s words about Crimea were a returned sign of sympathy to Russia from its preferred candidate.

    “Trump will consider lifting sanctions against Russia and recognizing illegal annexation of Crimea. No wonder he is Kremlin's favored candidate,” tweeted Steven Pifer, a researcher at the Brookings institution and former US Ambassador to Ukraine (1998-2000).

    ​His words were echoed by Michael McFaul, the US Ambassador to Russia in 2012-2014:

    “Why Putin loves Trump: Trump to look at recognizing Crimea as Russian territory, lifting sanctions,” he tweeted.

    ​Anders Aslund, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council in Washington and an expert in the Russian economy also took the politician’s words seriously, urging the Republicans to reconsider the support of their candidate.

    ​However, New York Times journalist Jonathan Martin suggested that they were just words said in a hurry to get away from some journalists, which the politician used just to make a getaway.

    However Chairman of Russia’s Federation Council Committee on international Affairs Konstantin Kosachev believes that the politician has voiced the request of the American society for rapprochement with Russia.

    He added that “Trump has repeatedly proved that he, like no other in the US, feels the exact public demand for a change of course and the mood of a significant part of the electorate, tired of the Clintons and the Bushes.”

    “So the mere fact that he believes it is possible or necessary over and over again to speak on the topic of rapprochement with Russia, this time with regards to Crimea, speaks for itself: certain public sentiment about Russia is becoming more common and can bring more winning points politically,” he added.

    Meanwhile the Crimean authorities have invited the US Republican presidential nominee to visit the Peninsula to see for himself the everyday life of ordinary Crimeans.

    “Nobody has cancelled a proverb that “a picture is worth one thousand words. There are many distortions about Crimea voiced in the West. We welcome all the friends who come to have a rest and to see for themselves that we reside in peace and prosperity,” Crimea's First Deputy Prime Minister Mikhail Sheremet told RIA Novosti.

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    Tags:
    Crimea's recognition, anti-Russian sanctions, Donald Trump, Crimea, United States, Russia
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