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Russia has recently announced they're expelling 755 American diplomats as a response to Obama's equivalent move last year:

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Sunday that the United States will have to cut its diplomatic staff in Russia by 755 by Sept. 1 in response to expanded U.S. sanctions.

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Before he left office, President Obama ordered the seizure of two Russian diplomatic compounds and expelled 35 diplomats in response to the election interference, which Russia has denied. Putin did not retaliate at the time in hopes that Trump would roll back the sanctions.

But what could possibly make Putin believe that Trump is supposed to be more friendly towards Russia? Republicans in general have had a worse attitude towards the Russians over the past decades and it was actually Hillary Clinton who has started the famous "peregruzka" program back in 2009 in an attempt to improve relations with Russia.

closed as off-topic by SoylentGray, user4012, bytebuster, user9389, Sjoerd Jul 31 '17 at 20:00

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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it assumes a reasoning of a friendlier attitude expection that may be incorrect. – SoylentGray Jul 31 '17 at 17:01
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    Russia may have expected or hoped for the Turmp admin to roll back the actions of the Obama Admin. But there is not evidence that this was because they expected a friendlier relationship, or that the lack of that relationship being the reason for their tit for tat reaction. Russia may have waited to act until it saw what Clinton would do in the same circumstance. This question is a StrawMan in its current form. – SoylentGray Jul 31 '17 at 17:08
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    Why do you assume Russia expected a friendlier administration from Trump? Typical Russian/Soviet tradecraft is to destabilize rivals. The orthodox interpretation of their motives for their activities this election is along those lines. Forbes had an interesting piece on that recently. – HopelessN00b Jul 31 '17 at 19:40
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    @HopelessN00b - constant praise for Putin from Trump, and rather generous assessments of his character by other conservative and GOP politicians whenever there was a dispute with Obama would tend to make people think there might be a more friendly attitude. cnn.com/interactive/2017/03/politics/… – PoloHoleSet Aug 1 '17 at 14:21
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  1. Donald Trump has not historically been a consistent Republican. As recently as 2011, he was registered as unaffiliated with a party. So using Republican beliefs as a proxy for his beliefs is not reliable.

  2. Trump has explicitly said that he admires Putin and thinks that the United States should do more to work with Russia. He has been saying that since at least the 1980s and as recently as this month (written in July of 2017).

  3. While Hillary Clinton was in charge of implementing the thawing that Barack Obama wanted with Russia in 2009, her announced policy had shifted by 2016.

  4. Hillary Clinton ran on a policy of a no-fly zone for Syria and had previously used a no-fly zone in Libya to leverage regime change. Syria's Bashar al-Assad is a Russian ally.

  5. The Clinton campaign spent some time demonizing the Russians after some emails were released from the Democratic National Committee in July of 2016.

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    Your last point doesn't seem valid. It's not really demonizing if it's true; I don't doubt that the Clinton campaign may have also demonized Russia, but your link isn't an example of that. The timing is also off - it doesn't make sense to explain Russian interference (in favor of Trump) with a reaction to already ongoing Russian interference by Clinton. – tim Jul 31 '17 at 18:07
  • @tim The question says nothing about Russian interference. And your last sentence makes no sense. What interference by Clinton? Clinton demonizing Russia (true or not--realize that this is the first release, not the later release attributed to the Russians) is proof that she didn't support them, which is what the question asks: What reasons did Russia have to think that Trump would be friendlier than Clinton? I gave examples of both Trump's friendliness and Clinton's unfriendliness. – Brythan Jul 31 '17 at 18:17
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    Sorry, the sentence structure was not very well thought out. "by Clinton" refers to "a reaction". And while the question isn't about interference, Russias interference shows Russias preference for Trump. The DNC leaks have been linked to Russia, so the preference was already there at that point in time (obviously; such a large-scale interference isn't planned overnight). The reaction by the Clinton campaign to this preference can therefore not be named as reason for the preference. – tim Jul 31 '17 at 18:39
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    Still +1 though, your other points are still valid, and I don't doubt Trump's friendliness or Clinton's unfriendliness, only the usefulness of your last example for it. – tim Jul 31 '17 at 18:41
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Donald Trump said during the campaign that we should have better relations with Russia, and indicated on numerous occasions that he wanted to work with Russia to fight ISIS and in other areas. He has a history of doing business in Russia with the Miss Universe pageant and real estate deals. He also had a public infatuation with Putin, frequently praising him as a "strong leader", stating that Putin was a much better leader than Obama.

Contrast that with Hillary Clinton. As you noted, she tried the "Russian reset", and in return Putin annexed Crimea and at a minimum supported Ukrainian separatists. Clinton had learned her lesson and campaigned on a tough stance on Russia.

Perhaps Putin expected some reciprocity from Trump after aiding him in the election. Or perhaps he believed that Trump could be easily manipulated with flattery.

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    This answer could be improved by quoting a pro-Russian statement Trump made during his election campaign. – Philipp Jul 31 '17 at 16:45

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