Back in December, Russian President Vladimir Putin called Donald Trump "the absolute leader of the presidential race." During his campaign, Trump encouraged Russia to hack Clinton's emails and praised Putin as a better leader than President Obama. Even before that, Trump dreamed about "big hero" Putin being his "new best friend." So it might not be surprising to learn that Putin has already congratulated Trump and looks forward to working with the president-elect.
The Associated Press reports that Putin sent a telegram congratulating Trump on his presidential election victory. The Daily Beast reports that Putin was the first world leader to congratulate Trump, and that Russia's parliament erupted in applause when they learned of Trump's success.
"I want to congratulate the American people on the end of this election cycle and congratulate Mr. Donald Trump on his victory in the election," Putin said hours after the election ended.
According to the Kremlin, Putin expressed "his hope to work together for removing Russian-American relations from their crisis state." Putin said he's confident that a constructive dialogue can be built between Moscow and Washington. The dialogue, Putin said, should be based on equality, mutual respect, and acknowledging each other's positions.
Similarly, Trump said in his victory speech: "We will get along with all other nations willing to get along with us. We will be. We will have great relationships. We expect to have great, great relationships."
A better relationship between the two countries, Putin said, "would benefit both the Russian and American peoples and would have a positive impact on the general climate in international affairs, given the particular responsibility that Russia and the US share for maintaining global stability and security."
Putin, who Joe Biden has called a "dictator," has a history of repressing human rights, and the former KGB agent has been linked to the death of at least one dissident. President-elect Donald Trump has joked about Clinton being assassinated and has encouraged his supporters' chants of "lock her up!"
Many trolls in Russia have supported Trump (as Samantha Bee has highlighted), and white supremacists across Europe have praised Trump along with Putin and French political leader Marine Le Pen:
Trump has been criticized for his relationship with Russia. In recent years, Russia has controversially annexed Crimea and invaded Ukraine, which led to international condemnation and sanctions, according to USA Today. The conflict in Syria has further strained Russian-American relations. Washington has wanted Syrian President Bashar Assad to step aside, but Putin has provided the tyrant with military support—including airstrikes that have targeted American-backed rebels in Syria.
Here's Donald Trump defending his love of Putin back in September:
If Donald Trump really does think so highly of a dictator, the next four years could be very scary.