Russian state media—a reliable barometer of the mood at the Kremlin—remains fixated on election-related events in America. Affectionately referring to Donald Trump as “our Donald,” “Trumpusha” and “Comrade Trump,” Russian lawmakers, experts and pundits repeatedly have expressed their concerns about the future of Moscow’s all-time favorite U.S. president.
Co-host of Russian state TV news talk show 60 Minutes Olga Skabeeva brought up the possibility that President Trump would end up seeking asylum in Russia to escape any prosecutions in the United States following the conclusion of his sole presidential term. Skabeeva emphasized that this was by no means a joking matter: “It’s all very serious,” she said, as she pondered out loud about the nature of criminal charges Trump might soon be facing.
Experts in the studio enthusiastically discussed the likelihood of Trump being charged with a bevy of offenses from tax evasion to fraud and sexual assault. They concurred that Trump’s presidential pardon would not help him in state cases, unlike the recently advanced constitutional amendment in Russia that secured lifetime immunity from criminal prosecution for the country’s former presidents. Russian President Vladimir Putin can relate to Trump on a very personal level—not only where it comes to a ruthless pursuit of power, but also with respect to the intense fear of accountability if that power was to ever slip away. While Putin’s grip on Russia is feverishly safeguarded, Trump’s fate is far from certain.