MOSCOW — In an upscale loft space in downtown Moscow’s Central Telegraph building, Russian politicians, political analysts, hangers-on and activists were toasting Donald Trump’s inauguration on Friday evening, applauding as he took the oath of office to become the 45th president of the United States.
“It’s going to be a lot of action, drive, excitement,” said Dmitry Nosov, a sturdily built former member of parliament, who wore a gray-checked blazer with a bear pin. “Not dull like it has been.”
There was champagne. A live translator narrated Trump’s speech. It felt as though half of Moscow’s foreign press corps was there.
All of this was brought together by Maria Katasanova, a right-wing political activist who has become one of Russia’s most vocal Trump supporters. During an election night party, she unveiled her new “triptych” — an oil painting of Trump, Putin and the French right-wing politician Marine Le Pen, all people that she admires for “going against the system.”
Some Russian businesses have been using Trump’s image to drum up customers, and Katasanova is no exception. Images of the paintings went viral, and now she’s selling reproductions, she said in an interview Friday evening. When asked by a journalist how much the painting on display costs, she said: “Let’s discuss that after the event.”
It's hard to say whether the Russian establishment is happier that Trump won or that Clinton lost. But some are still sounding notes of restraint.
“The idea that Trump is our guy is not the reality,” said Alexey Kondratyev, a member of Russia’s upper house of parliament. “And the sunny prognoses by some that he's going to go in the direction of Russia in cases where it goes against American interests is just an illusion.”