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The Daily Vertical: More Than Moscow Bargained For? (Transcript)

The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily reflect the views of RFE/RL.

Vladimir Putin may have been quick to congratulate Donald Trump on his victory in the U.S. presidential election, but I'm not so sure they're popping champagne corks in the Kremlin right now.

And I'm pretty sure members of the Russian foreign policy establishment aren't unanimously rubbing their hands in glee.

Because for much of the U.S. election campaign, the working assumption of many Kremlin watchers was that Vladimir Putin's regime wanted Donald Trump to win the U.S. presidency.

WATCH: Today's Daily Vertical

I've never been entirely convinced of this -- and I'm not now.

What I always believed the Kremlin was doing with moves like the DNC hack and other interventions in the U.S. election was trolling American democracy and trying to cause voters to lose faith in the process.

The Kremlin and the Russian foreign policy establishment may not like Hillary Clinton, but unlike Trump, they saw her as predictable.

Putin and company expected her election, but they wanted her presidency to be hobbled from the start.

They wanted a messy and contested election result that would allow them to say American democracy is not as clean as it claims to be.

What they got instead was a clean, clear, unambiguous, and uncontested result.

And what they got was an unpredictable U.S. president who may just turn out to be more than Moscow bargained for.

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