Putin’s problem with Biden? A lack of chemistry, expert says

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Good chemistry: President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin shake hands during a joint press conference after their summit on July 16, 2018 in Helsinki, Finland.

Chris McGrath | Getty Images News | Getty Images

With Russian President Vladimir Putin so far failing to send congratulations to Democrat Joe Biden following his projected U.S. presidential election win, experts say there could be one big — and personal — problem between them: a lack of chemistry.

“Something we should keep in mind is that neither Biden nor Putin like each other,” Anton Barbashin, a political analyst and editorial director of Russian affairs journal Riddle, told CNBC Monday.

“There could be no chemistry between them, thus U.S.-Russia relations are bound to become even more confrontational.”

While European leaders congratulated Biden, the winner of the Nov. 3 presidential election according to NBC projections, Russia stayed silent until Monday, when the Kremlin’s spokesman said that Russia would not comment on the election until the official result was released and that Moscow had noted President Donald Trump’s announcement of legal processes related to the vote.

Nonetheless, Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters Monday that Putin had repeatedly said he was ready to work with any U.S. leader, and Russia hoped it could establish dialog with the new U.S. administration, and find a way to normalize relations.

The apparent coolness of Russia’s response to the projected win for Biden is in marked contrast to its enthusiastic greeting of Trump’s 2016 election win.

Russia was accused of meddling in that election, particularly in the hack and dissemination of Hillary Clinton campaign and Democratic party emails in 2016, and had sanctions imposed on it by the U.S. as a result.

Still, sanctions didn’t appear to stop there being a seemingly warm relationship between Trump and Putin, leaders who, in the public view at least, appeared to respect and like each other.

Trump’s praise of his Russian counterpart made waves in 2018 when, following a high-profile summit with Putin in Helsinki, Trump blamed both countries for the “strained relationship” and said he believed Putin’s repudiation of allegations of meddling, despite advice to the contrary from the U.S. intelligence community.

Trump then claimed the day after the summit that he had misspoken when he said he did not see why Russia would have meddled in the election, insisting that he meant to say he did not see any reason why it wouldn’t have been Russia that interfered.

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