Not since the Cold War has Russia played such a central role in American elections. Everybody over there is buzzing about it, too.
One of Donald Trump’s biggest fans is also one of Russia’s biggest stars: Entertainer Philip Kirkorov.
“I’m just a singer,” he immodestly told Charlie D’Agata, before adding, “OK, number one singer in the country!”
Kirkorov’s wide-eyed enthusiasm for the Republican candidate goes back 22 years, when Kirkorov performed at Trump’s Taj Mahal Casino in Atlantic City.
Trump dubbed him “the Michael Jackson of Russia,” and the bro-mance has been going strong ever since.
“I hope that when the Donald becomes the president, our relationship will be much, much closer, and all American people finally understand -- understood? Understand? -- that Russia is a great country, Russian people is a great people.”
That mutual admiration goes both ways.
Trump has said that he would cut back U.S. involvement in NATO, and has heaped praise on Russian President Vladimir Putin, calling him a “strong leader.”
- Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin express mutual admiration
(“CBS Evening News,” 12/18/15)
- Trump’s comments on Putin spark outrage (“CBS Evening
Putin has made clear HIS preference for a “President Trump” White House.
But there are far more sinister accusations of collusion.
Russia stands accused of hacking the Democratic Party’s email server. And the Clinton campaign has started running new ads that call into question Trump’s financial ties in Russia -- and how they could impact decisions on national security:
Former Russian parliament member Dmitry Gudkov says Trump’s admiration of Putin is, at the very least, misguided.
“Putin is not strong,” Gudkov told D’Agata. “Because he’s afraid of debates; he’s afraid of fair elections; he’s afraid of being removed and losing control.
“I think it’s not the position of a strong leader.”
And, he says, Putin has an easy way of silencing any serious opposition: “I’m banned to participate in TV discussion,” Gudkov said. “Yes, I’m banned from going to the television.”
Just think about that during tonight’s TV debate.