In 1986, Ronald Reagan announced that 55 Soviet diplomats had to leave the United States, citing espionage as the reason. The move came shortly after the Reagan administration expelled 25 Soviet diplomats, who were assigned to the USSR mission to the United Nations.
On Thursday, the Obama administration ordered the expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats, the closure of two Russian diplomatic compounds and new sanctions against six Russian individuals and five entities, including the Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) and the Federal Security Service (FSB), over Moscow's alleged interference in the 2016 presidential election in the US.
Vladimir Putin further said that US diplomats will not be expelled from Russia, stating that he will wait until President-elect Donald Trump takes office to improve relations between the two countries. Putin also wished Obama a happy New Year and invited children of US diplomats to the New Year and Christmas children's parties at the Kremlin.
Dr. Papadopoulos warned against "naivety and ignorance" of those who think that "Trump is a savior."
The political analyst pointed out that the Republican Party, US Congress, Pentagon and CIA have long promoted a tough stance on Moscow. It is highly unlikely that Trump will be able to improve relations with Russia, even if he genuinely wants to, the expert added.
Dr. Papadopoulos was also concerned with Trump's "antagonistic approach" to China and Iran, whom he described as "hugely important allies" of Russia. "I can't emphasize enough just how important an ally China is to Russia. By targeting China, Trump will threaten Russia," the analyst said.