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Russian Orthodox official sees Trump victory as sign of hope

November 18, 2016

The chief ecumenical officer of the Russian Orthodox Church sees the presidential election of Donald Trump as a hopeful sign, which could produce an alliance between the US and Russia that would stabilize the Middle East.

Metropolitan Hilarian, who heads the external-relations department of the Patriarchate of Moscow, observed in an Interfax interview that Trump has been critical of American policy in the Middle East. The Russian prelate strongly agreed with that criticism:

American policy in the Middle East, starting from the overthrow of Saddam Hussein and to the recent events in Syria, was, in my view, shortsighted and wrong. Overthrowing the regimes that existed in the Middle Eastern countries one after another, allegedly in the name of democracy, America did not lead the region to democracy or prosperity. On the contrary, it provoked chaos, mass exodus of civilians, genocide of ethnic and religious minorities. Terrorists from the so-called Islamic State would not be so successful in Syria and Iraq if they did not get international support.

Metropolitan Hilarion said that he would not “fall into euphoria” until the Trump administration acted on its campaign promises. But he said that there is a new possibility of cooperation between Washington and Moscow.

The Russian cleric denied that his country had interfered in the US elections. He said, however, that Russians followed the American campaign “with great interest,” and were convinced that in electing Trump the American people had indicated a strong desire for change.

 
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