US President-elect Donald Trump has praised Vladimir Putin for not expelling American diplomats, despite a similar move by Washington in response to alleged election interference. Mr Trump tweeted: “Great move on delay – I always knew he was very smart!”

Washington demanded 35 Russian diplomats leave the country by Sunday afternoon. Mr Putin ruled out an immediate tit-for-tat response. He said Russia would not “stoop” to the level of “irresponsible diplomacy” but would work to restore ties with the US under President-elect Donald Trump. Washington also put sanctions on two Russian intelligence agencies, the GRU and the FSB, four GRU officers and three companies that Obama said “provided material support to the GRU’s cyber operations.”

The row follows allegations that Russia directed hacks against the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, releasing embarrassing information through Wikileaks and other outlets to help Mr Trump win the election. These are only allegations as no concrete proof is established yet.

The closest relationship of a US President to Russia’s leader was Franklin Roosevelt to Stalin from 1932–1945 with enormous benefit for the Soviets like getting to keep Eastern and much of Central Europe, helping Mao take over China, etc.

The Lincoln Administration had a friendly relationship with Russia and Secretary of State Seward leveraged that into buying Alaska and the Russians abandoning their colony and claims in Northern California. Eisenhower worked on a relationship with Nikita Kruschev after Stalin’s death just as Nixon worked with Leonid Brezhnev on both new treaties and getting Pepsi Cola bottling operations set up in Moscow. Reagan cozied up to Mikhail Gorbachev after helping bring the Soviet empire to its knees.

Certainly the Putin Trump relationship is forming up well despite Obama administration charges levelled against Russians, and in future the mutual admiration between Trump and Putin will have geopolitical implications all over the world.

Abhishek Nisal, Correspondent (Politics)

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