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Russia Reacts to Bush's Re-election Victory


Russian reaction to President Bush's re-election was generally positive, partly because Russian President Vladimir Putin openly supported Mr. Bush during the election campaign. And, in general, Russians have tended to favor Republicans over Democrats.

President Putin publicly praised President Bush, even before the final outcome of the U.S. election was known.

At a news conference in Moscow, the Russian leader said a Bush victory showed that the American people are "not intimidated" and made the right decision, especially in the effort to defeat international terrorism.

Terrorism is one issue that has drawn the United States and Russia closer together in recent years. Several weeks ago Mr. Putin openly suggested that a victory for Senator John Kerry would be a setback in that fight.

Many people in Russia say the high-profile relationship between Mr. Bush and Mr. Putin has contributed to generally positive relations between the two former Cold War adversaries.

Boris Makarenko is an analyst for a private institute in Moscow.

"We can talk about having watched the two leaders meet continuously over the past four years, and there's a kind of personal chemistry between the two of them," said Boris Makarenko.

Mr. Makarenko says that, historically, Russia has preferred Republicans to Democrats, who he says are more likely to raise so-called "value" issues, such as human rights.

Nonetheless, there are issues that have strained relations. Russia strongly opposed the American-led war against Iraq and Moscow has looked on warily, as the North Atlantic military alliance expanded into Easter Europe.

Mr. Putin, himself, has said that inevitably there will be issues on which the two countries disagree.

Russian opinion polls indicate that most people were indifferent to the U.S. election.

A man named Sergei summed up the mood. He says the Bush re-election is neither bad nor good for Russia. He says, at least President Bush's policies are predictable,

The general feeling among Russians seems to be that - despite disagreements over various issues - the Bush re-election is likely to mean continuity in relations with Russia, in the coming years.