Sat | Sep 23, 2017

Champagne toasts in Moscow

Published:Saturday | January 21, 2017 | 1:00 AM
Visitors arrive for a party at a nightclub in Moscow, Russia.

MOSCOW (AP):

Champagne corks popped yesterday in Moscow as Russians celebrated the start of Donald Trump's presidency, confident of better relations ahead between the two countries.

"It's weird, but it's great, and for the first time ever Russians are applauding the victory of a US presidential candidate. It's a sign of the times," political analyst Stanislav Byshok said.

Trump's promises to fix ravaged relations with Moscow have elated Russia's political elite following spiralling tensions with Washington over the Ukrainian crisis, the war in Syria and allegations of Russian meddling in the US election.

"We are ready to do our share of the work in order to improve the relationship," Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said on Facebook.

About 100 Trump sympathisers, nationalists and spin doctors gathered at a hipster party just a few hundred metres away from the Kremlin to celebrate yesterday, with a triptych of Trump, Russian President Vladimir Putin, and French nationalist politician Marine Le Pen in the centre of the hall.

 

'It's a holiday'

 

An hour before Trump took the stage in Washington, the sound of opening champagne bottles echoed in the vaulted hall.

"Yes, it's a holiday," said a beaming Dmitry Rode, a communications executive, with a glass of champagne in his hand. "We all hope that relations between our countries and, more importantly, between our peoples will help to develop our economies. We're neighbours, we're just 50 kilometres (30 miles) away from each other."

Some partygoers wore Guy Fawkes masks, associated with hackers, in a sly reference to charges that Russia interfered in the US election.