Russians increasingly indifferent to Trump, US turmoil

MOSCOW | While their country has become a daily source of headlines and political intrigue in the United States, most Russians are watching the drama over President Donald Trump’s relationship with Moscow with resignation, even indifference.

Russian media, state-owned and private, chronicle Trump’s troubles matter-of-factly. Regular citizens generally care little about them. Many share the view that what’s unfolded in Washington has dimmed prospects for the mended Russia-U.S. ties his candidacy represented here and thus have lost interest.

“I live in Russia, and that’s why I’m not so much interested in what’s going on in the United States,” musician Artem Burnat said. “Yes, the president is a controversial and unpredictable person. But this is their country and their president.”

Opinion surveys have indicated that initial expectations of a thaw have given way to apathy, and perceptions of Trump have become more negative. Although many Russians attribute his travails to Democrats’ anger over losing the election, they don’t see the billionaire businessman as someone to stand up for.

“The vote was split nearly in half, and he didn’t even have the majority of votes,” manager Andrei Tereshkovich, 56, said on the streets of Moscow. “There is a strong desire to change things, people are upset, and the situation is unstable. Trump lacks resources to put an end to that.”

The Justice Department’s decision to appoint a special counsel to investigate possible collusion between Russia and the Republican campaign also was widely seen in Russia as part of relentless efforts by Trump’s foes to weaken and sideline him. The reports this week that the president shared highly sensitive classified information with Russia’s foreign minister and ambassador to the United States were viewed as more of the same.

“Anyone with his kind of persona would draw attacks,” poultry farmer Oleg Matveyenko said, referring to Trump’s combative…

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