Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny arrested Kirill Kudryavtsev/Getty Images

Trump’s Bigger Russia Problem

Donald Trump’s stated desire to improve US relations with Russia is understandable; indeed, it is a goal shared by the last several US administrations. But betraying core American values for the sake of short-term gains is not worth the bargain.

WASHINGTON, DC – Shortly before taking office, US President Donald Trump took to Twitter to outline his vision for his country’s relationship with Russia. “Having a good relationship with Russia is a good thing, not a bad thing,” he declared in one tweet. “When I am President,” he proclaimed in another, Russia and the US “will, perhaps, work together to solve some of the many great and pressing problems and issues of the WORLD!”

Of course, Trump is not wrong to try to improve relations with Russia. (The last several US presidents all sought the same goal.) But he must recognize that achieving that objective is not worth selling Russia’s pro-democratic activists down the river.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has effectively eliminated popular dissent in Russia. In 2012, soon after Putin’s return to the presidency, the Duma enacted the so-called foreign agent law, which focused on silencing organizations that receive funding from abroad and engage in anything that can be labeled “political activity.”

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