The Russian government also continued to harbor reservations that what Mr. Trump says and what he does are not always the same thing — and are subject to reversal at the drop of a tweet. So senior Russian officials reacted cautiously to the withdrawal announcements, starting with Syria.
“We need to figure out how, when, to where and in which manner the Americans are leaving,” Dmitri S. Peskov, Mr. Putin’s spokesman, told reporters on Friday. “At this point, this is not clear.”
Mr. Putin, at a news conference on Thursday, again praised Mr. Trump, suggesting that the change to a Democratic majority in the House would further undermine the American president’s attempts to improve relations with Russia.
Despite such praise, however, the Trump administration has taken positions — on issues like withdrawing from arms-control treaties and especially on Ukraine — that the Kremlin dislikes. Washington has not acquiesced to Russia’s efforts to exert control over Ukraine, with Moscow’s attempts to maintain influence throughout the former Soviet Union one of its main foreign policy goals.
Moscow conveniently accuses Washington of being the source of its tensions with Kiev, including the naval clash in the Kerch Strait late last month and the moves by the Orthodox Church in Ukraine to establish its independence from Moscow.
Over all, there is also concern that Mr. Trump is a little too erratic. For now, his decisions are tilting in Mr. Putin’s favor, but there is also concern that they also could move in the other direction with equal speed.
“Too unstable a world is something that Putin does not really want,” said Ms. Khrushcheva, pointing out that Russia did not have the same financial or other resources as the United States to address problems all over the globe. “If there is way too much chaos, Russia would have to act in too many directions.”