Putin's bet on Trump presidency backfires spectacularly

“One of Putin’s greatest goals is to assure Russia is treated as if it was still the Soviet Union, a nuclear power that has to be respected and feared,” said Angela Stent, the director of Eurasian, Russian and East European studies at Georgetown University. “And he thought he might get that from Trump,” said Ms. Stent, who was the national intelligence officer for Russia and Eurasia during the administration of George W. Bush.

But now, she added, the Russians look at the chaos in the White House “and see a level of unpredictability there, which makes them nervous.” The reaction, she said, was to retreat to old habits — and the expulsion of diplomats is, of course, one of the oldest…

Mr. Putin has now concluded that his central objective — getting relief from the American and European sanctions that followed the annexation of Crimea in 2014 — is years away. Once new sanctions are enshrined in law, like the ones Congress passed and Mr. Trump has reluctantly agreed to sign to avoid an override of his veto, they generally stay on the books for years.