Putin and Trump like each other, that’s understood, nor they did nothing to hide it. Now the email stolen from the DNC servers by Russian hackers lead the Trump-Moscow axis to a new and unexplored level. But is really Putin pulling the wires of the race to the White House?
There’s more than just a clue. And the what until recently could be political fiction, today it seems terribly real. Let’s take a few steps back. As I wrote some five months ago on this column, Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump like each other and it has never been a secret. TheRussian president’s endorsement of theRepublican candidate arrived in the loudest possible way, during the year-end speech. But in the meantime, the Kremlin Sherpas were already working hard to promote him in the race to the White House.
But there’s something more. With someone like Trump as president of the United States, Putin’s Russia would have everything to gain. After all, the same Trump confirmed it. “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”. Nothing to do with the freezing cold of Obama’s era that, in all probability, would be continued by Hillary Clinton once at the White House.
But then, going to look at the details more closely, other interesting things emerge. Trump’s unofficial adviser to Foreign Affairs (as well as vice president-elect) is Michael Flynn, a retired general and former military intelligence chief from 2012 to 2014. Flynn makes long collaboration with Russia his mantra, is often guest of the Russian state channel in English RT and, after having resigned from the secret services a year before the end of his term without explanation, was pictured in Moscow at the same table with Putin at a banquet celebrating 10 years of RT.
It is not enough. Because Trump official adviser on Foreign Affairs, Carter Page, was an adviser for Gazprom, (the state energy giant that feeds the Kremlin’s coffers), in which by his own admission owns shares.
It is still not enough. Because Trump’s campaign manager – a figure that deals with fundraising strategies – is Paul Manafort, who boasts in its client portfolio Viktor Yanukovich, the former Ukrainian president overthrown by the Maidan, whom he helped win the 2010 presidential election.
Still too little to say Trump is “the Kremlin’s candidate”? Maybe yes. But then the hacking affair, that all the most reliable cyber security sources link to Russian intelligence, exploded. The situation is weird: some say that behind the two hacking teams, dubbed by the DNC security “Fancy Bear” and “Cozy Bear”, there could be the two main branches of Putin’s intelligence, the federal FSB and military GRU. At least for a period of espionage, it seems, both the groups were spying the Democrats computers without even knowing of each other.
We can say without exaggeration that Putin is rooting for Trump. But is it true that is also trying to influence the result of the US election? Maybe it goes too far. But this does not mean that Putin, after all, is not playing the joker in the match between Trump and Hillary Clinton. His name has become a constant in the speeches of the candidates and his presence hovers so evident on the campaign. But, given the deep-rooted American electorate distrust of the Russian bear, it’s all but sure this would go in favor for Trump.
Do Putin’s hackers know it?