It has been widely reported that, upon the announcement of Donald Trump's victory in the American presidential election, the Russian Duma erupted into applause. These reports are sometimes alarmist in tone, and some commentators have used them to bolster accusations of shady ties between Trump and Russia.

Setting aside for the moment the wider question of the Russian government's alleged ties to Trump, is the Duma's reaction to his election historically unusual?

Is there any record of how the Duma reacted to the initial victory announcement in past American presidential elections, and if so, were these reactions significantly different from the most recent one? For example, is the Duma known to have cheered or applauded upon hearing news of the (re-)elections of Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, or Barack Obama?

  • 2
    I would avoid using the phrase "It has been widely reported" . Usually, this means "I've got nothing to back this up but don't want anyone else to know". It does not appear to be so in this case, but still. I would replace it with "The Independent".
    – Michael J.
    Commented Nov 15, 2016 at 13:18
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    No, it really has been all over the English-language news. For example, there are articles in Politico, The Washington Post, The Daily Star, Forbes, …
    – Psychonaut
    Commented Nov 15, 2016 at 13:27
  • For clarification: you don't doubt that the applause took place. You only wonder if this behavior has any precedent. Is that correct?
    – Szymon
    Commented Nov 15, 2016 at 14:04
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    Yes, given that it's been reported by multiple, apparently reliable newspapers, I assume that the applause really did happen. I am asking whether this applause is unusual – that is, were similar announcements in the past also met with applause?
    – Psychonaut
    Commented Nov 15, 2016 at 14:16

3 Answers 3


No, it's not "unusual" - for a simple reason that there's basically no sample space to check what "usual" is.

Current election is rather un-precedented vis-a-vis Russian/American relations, in that the winning candidate is popular with Russian electorate, and the losing one is deeply unpopular.

  • In 1992 when Clinton was elected, there was no Duma and no Russia for that matter, so Clinton's election is not a valid data point.

  • In 2000, Duma was far more preoccupied with Yeltzin's succession and other internal matters. Also, George W. Bush wasn't viewed as any great friend, being how his his father attacked Russia's ally Iraq (an extra dampening factor was Duma's composition, #1 party were Communists with 25% votes, respectively - and Zyuganov got 30% of Presidential vote in 2000. Definitely not natural friends of "more capitalist" Bush).

  • Not really useful as he was just re-elected, but they disliked Bush in 2004 even more because of Iraq war.

  • In 2008, Russians disliked Obama (both on policy, and especially because Russians can't stand that he's African American, except they use a different word for him you won't much like, due to Russians on average being extremely racist. Go read Russian's comments on forums or YouTube - if they weren't in Russian you'd think it's Stormfront)

#So, let's look at 2015. Why is it different?

  • In 2016, they hate Hillary Clinton in 3 of her facets (Bill's wife, Obama's heir, and Obama's SecState).

    • Obama is hated by 76% of Russians, vs. liked by 2%, according to Levada poll in 2015.
  • On the other hand, Trump is relatively much more popular among Russian populace (not just in Duma), with far better approval ratings than Clinton.

    According to YouGov poll, Trump has 20% margin over Clinton in popularity in Russia, with 31% wishing him to win vs. 10% for Clinton (3:1). 31% isn't all that much but Hillary is really really really unpopular over there.

    #So, Duma was celebrating because Hillary lost, not so much because Trump won.

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    I think this is a very poor answer. I wasn't asking for anyone's detailed personal history and opinions of Russian attitudes towards American leaders; I only want to know how the legislature reacted to news of past elections, and whether/how these reactions differed. (Also, Russians are racist because of their YouTube comments? Please. YouTube comments in any language are notoriously vapid, racist, sexist, homophobic, etc. This has by now been the subject of countless online discussions, newspaper and magazine articles, and scholarly studies.)
    – Psychonaut
    Commented Dec 5, 2016 at 11:35
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    @Psychonaut - terribly sorry you didn't get the answer you were hoping for before asking. The fact that you objected to 5% of the answer that's my opinion (based on extensive knowledge of Russia) instead of 95% that's facts and figures is telling.
    – user4012
    Commented Dec 6, 2016 at 0:52
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    @user4012 - No, I am objecting to the entirety of your answer, as it doesn't address the question. There is no space to give a detailed, point-by-point criticism of it, so I highlighted only the most egregious fault in your reasoning. (I should further note that you had already posted that part of your answer as a comment to my question, and that comment was removed after being flagged as inflammatory. This makes it seem as though your later answer is just a coatrack for your poorly supported accusations of racism.)
    – Psychonaut
    Commented Dec 6, 2016 at 10:22

The Russian Federation (Russia) is the legal continuator of the USSR, so for the purpose of this question we can consider them the same.

I think it's safe to say that going back to the October the Duma has never applauded the election of a US president.

I've actually never heard of any country's parliament to applaud the election of a US president.


Yes, it was unusual. But this does not mean they like Trump much but rather they hated Clinton.


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