21:10 GMT09 August 2020
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    The Russian issue has suddenly come under the spotlight of the US presidential campaign. What is behind the candidates' unusual interest in Russia’s affairs?

    While Democratic hopeful Hillary Clinton rushed to point the finger of blame at Russia for the country's alleged involvement in the Democratic Party hacking scandal and singled out Russia as a threat along with Daesh terrorists during her nomination speech, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is signaling that he is ready to extend an olive branch to Moscow.

    Furthermore, Trump's latest remarks hint at the possibility of recognizing Crimea as a part of Russia.

    What is behind Russia coming under the spotlight of the ongoing presidential race in the US?

    In his interview with Russian business news outlet RBK, Fyodor Lukyanov, Editor-in-Chief of Russia in Global Affairs and Research Director at the Valdai International Discussion Club, pointed to the fact that the Russian issue has repeatedly been brought to light in the course of the ongoing presidential campaign in the United States.

    "This is unprecedented that the country [Russia] has become the center of attention [in the US]: Moscow has not been given such attention since the Cold War times. Even [Russia's] military conflict with Georgia back in 2008 had not provoked such a reaction," Lukyanov stressed.

    Both Trump and Clinton are playing the Russia card, each in his/her own way.

    Hillary Clinton's longstanding anti-Russia stance is no news. In contrast, Trump's pro-Russian remarks have repeatedly stolen the show.

    A year ago, amid an anti-Russian media campaign in the US, Donald Trump stated: "I think I'd get along very well with Vladimir Putin. I just think so."

    In December 2015, Trump praised Russian President Vladimir Putin as "a man so highly respected within his own country and beyond."

    "I have always felt that Russia and the United States should be able to work well with each other towards defeating terrorism and restoring world peace, not to mention trade and all of the other benefits derived from mutual respect," Trump said as quoted by Reuters.

    Over the weekend the presidential candidate almost shocked Kiev by saying that "the people of Crimea, from what I've heard, would rather be with Russia than where they were [Ukraine]," during his interview with ABC News.

    According to Yury Rogulev, Director of the Franklin Roosevelt Foundation for United States Studies at Moscow State University, US foreign policy has never become the focus of a US presidential campaign.

    "Foreign policy has come to light partially because of the fact that Democrats tried to divert attention [from the Democratic Party hacking scandal] to Russia's alleged involvement. Purportedly that failed to create better excuses to distract attention from the letters' content," Rogulev told RBK.  

    Both experts agree that Trump's pro-Russian statements allowed him to gain additional political scores and let him grab the headlines.


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