WASHINGTON — Republican candidate Donald Trump’s ascension to the White House sent shock waves round the world and set markets tumbling — but was welcomed by Russia’s leaders and business people.
Russia featured heavily in a heated election campaign period, with Trump praising President Vladimir Putin as a firm leader as U.S. officials accused Moscow of leaking hacked Democratic emails in a bid to undermine Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
Putin congratulated Trump on his victory and expressed optimism for a more constructive relationship with its old Cold War enemy.
“Putin expressed a hope for a mutual cooperation in getting U.S.-Russian relations out of a critical condition and in solving vital questions of the international agenda and looking for effective response to global security challenges,” the Kremlin said in a statement.
“(The) Russian president also expressed belief in the fact that building a constructive dialogue between Moscow and Washington, based on principles of equality, mutual respect and real consideration of each other’s stands is in favor of the interests of our countries and the international community.”
Putin welcomed Trump’s victory and wished him success, the statement said.
Russians have followed the U.S. election closely and many praised the real estate mogul’s victory, calling it a positive step for financial markets.
Kirill Dmitriev, head of Russia’s sovereign wealth fund, said he felt financial markets would quickly right themselves.
“We believe that (a) Trump presidency offers more opportunity for global growth and reducing geopolitical confrontations through (a) pragmatic and results oriented approach,” Dmitriev said, a position that likely mirrors the Kremlin’s.
“A less confrontational U.S. foreign policy will unlock major opportunities for joint trade and investment to lead to a more stable and secure world focused on growth and prosperity of its citizens.”
But not all Russians were convinced. Garry Kasparov, the Russian chess grandmaster and fierce Putin critic, tweeted his reaction to Trump’s victory: “Winter Is Here.” Kasparov wrote a critical book about Putin called “Winter Is Coming.”
‘World collapsing,’ France’s U.S. ambassador says
But from other parts of the world, the uncertainty about Trump, who has vowed to be an unpredictable leader, was reflected in anxious statements.
Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, a former Mexican presidential candidate, called on Mexicans to keep calm. Mexico “is a free, independent, sovereign country. It is not a colony, it is not a protectorate, it does not depend on any foreign government,” he said in a video published on his Facebook page Tuesday night.
Trump has vowed to build a wall between the US and Mexico to stem illegal immigration, and has accused the country of sending rapists and drug dealers to the U.S.
He has also proposed a blanket ban on Muslims entering the country.
“After Brexit and this election, everything is now possible. A world is collapsing before our eyes. Dizziness,” France’s ambassador to the U.S., Gerard Araud, said on Twitter.
Former Swedish Prime Minister Carl Bildt also invoked Brexit on Twitter, saying, “looks like this will be the year of the double disaster of the West.”
As the election started, the German newspaper Die Welt reproduced the poster for the film “Apocalypse Now,” but with Trump’s head Photoshopped in above the film’s title.
U.K. Prime Minister, Theresa May, congratulated Trump “following a hard-fought campaign.”
“Britain and the United States have an enduring and special relationship based on the values of freedom, democracy and enterprise. We are, and will remain, strong and close partners on trade, security and defense. I look forward to working with President-elect Donald Trump, building on these ties to ensure the security and prosperity of our nations in the years ahead.”
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said: “I hope the choice of American people will be well in terms of freedoms and liberties as well as the developments of the region. I’d like to personally — and for my nation — interpret this positively and wish him a successful future.”
Markets in a frenzy
The immediate reaction from financial markets was brutal, and U.S. allies convened emergency meetings of their financial and security agencies to assess the impact of the shock victory.
Asian stock markets fell, with Tokyo down almost 6 percent. The Dow futures markets slid almost 800 points, while the Mexican peso fell to a record low against the U.S. dollar.
South Korea called a meeting of its National Security Council as Japan’s top financial officials huddled amid a 1,000-point plunge in the Nikkei stock market. Markets in the U.K. and France also dropped.
U.S. futures also plummeted, as international observers grappled for analogies and images to convey their discomfort, dismay and disgust. Many referred to the shock of watching Britain vote to leave the European Union in a June referendum — the so-called “Brexit.”
In Japan, state broadcaster NHK said that, “If Trump becomes president, Japan along with other countries, are very unsure of what will happen to the economy.”
Far-right parties celebrate
Europe’s far-right party leaders are cheering Trump’s win, including Britain’s Nigel Farage, the outgoing leader of the UK Independence Party, and France’s Marine Le Pen, who sent Trump a congratulatory tweet early Wednesday, adding a pat on the back for the “free” American people.
Le Pen’s father and founder of the National Front, Jean-Marie Le Pen, took to Twitter to say “long live President Trump!” — and claim Trump as part of a worldwide populist wave.
“The American people want Donald Trump to be the people’s president. Today the United States, tomorrow France. Bravo!” Le Pen wrote.
Far-right leaders in Holland, Belgium, Russia, the Czech Republic, Italy and Serbia, among other places, have also voiced support for Trump. The hard-right Greek party, Golden Dawn, went so far as to make a pro-Trump video starring neo-Nazis.