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Trump Is Putin’s Least-Bad Option

Trump’s presidency hasn’t been as good for the Kremlin as it hoped. But Biden’s liberal internationalism wouldn’t be good news for Russia either.

It’s tempting to think that the best outcome for Russia on Nov. 3 would in fact be a contested vote followed by a lengthy court battle. U.S. intelligence officials have suggested Trump’s allusions to rigged polls play into Russia’s hands by undermining belief in democratic systems. It’s likely Putin would revel in a challenge of that scale to the world’s most revered democracy, reinforcing his own claims that liberalism is obsolete. But it’s hard to see an interregnum lasting, or any benefit lingering long for Moscow.

So which is the least-poor option in the end? Sanctions aside, it may still be better to have more of the same. As political analyst Tatiana Stanovaya of R.Politik argues, Russia sees Trump as a casino gamble — so it’s worth continuing to play in order to win big eventually. Even if that takes time.

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