It’s the night of the U.S. election in an English pub in Moscow. Most have already left, the glasses have been washed, the photos of Vladimir Putin, Donald Trump and Marine Le Pen cleared away. Two young men are still sitting at the bar in the front, squinting up at a television tuned into CNN. He did it. Donald Trump won. Michail Kovalov and Dmitri Gushov’s eyes are red from lack of sleep; in front of them a bottle of sparkling wine stands unopened. Not that they had any doubt about the outcome of the election these past hours, but the news is vindication for the night spent on bar stools. They cheer and reach for their phones. The waiter wipes tables.
Mr. Gushov is wearing a sports jacket and Mr. Kovalov a T-shirt and cap printed with “Trump/Pence.” They call themselves “political technologists.” That’s what political advisers, strategists and every kind of political influencer are now called in Russia.
If they could have voted, then naturally it would have been for Mr. Trump, they say. He stands for peace, says Mr. Kovalov. Ms. Clinton for war. The Democratic candidate is a professional bureaucrat, Mr. Trump a constructive businessman who wants to earn money and has no interest in a conflict with Russia. Ms. Clinton constantly plays according to the rules, Mr. Trump, on the other hand, has the courage to change the rules when they are wrong. For that reason, he says, Donald Trump is the best choice for Russia.