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Putin and Trump at the G20 summit in 2019. Photo: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

Vladimir Putin's spokesman says the Kremlin will wait for an "official announcement" before commenting on the U.S. election — or congratulating President-elect Biden.

Why it matters: Most major world leaders congratulated Biden after the race was called on Saturday, just as Putin quickly congratulated Trump in 2016. But Dmitry Peskov, the spokesman, said this was a different situation due to the "legal procedures that have been announced by the current president."

  • "We therefore think it appropriate to wait for an official announcement,” Peskov said.
  • Russian media has seized on Trump's claims that the adoption is rigged to paint a general picture of democratic chaos, per the NYT.
  • Trump's legal efforts could be a drawn out process, and are likely doomed to fail.

The big picture: Russia interfered in the 2016 election to boost Trump's chances, and U.S. intelligence found evidence of similar interference this time around. Biden has promised a more adversarial relationship with Russia and with Putin himself.

  • Ahead of the election, Putin appeared to hedge his bets. He didn't ultimately agree to Trump's terms for extending the New START nuclear treaty — which would have given Trump a major pre-election win — preferring Biden's approach on that issue.
  • “We will work with any future president of the United States — the one whom the American people give their vote of confidence,” Putin said last month.

What to watch: Biden and Putin are likely to clash over the next four years, but they'll have to start by making a deal.

  • New START is set to expire two weeks after Biden takes office. It can be extended by mutual agreement of the two presidents.

Go deeper: World leaders congratulate Biden

Go deeper

Jan 27, 2021 - World

At Davos, Putin points to U.S. to warn Big Tech is driving social divisions

Photo: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin told the virtual “Davos Agenda” conference on Wednesday that recent events in the U.S. had underscored the danger of “public discontent” combined with “modern technology.”

The big picture: Putin, a late addition to the speakers' list, is facing protests at home over the arrest of opposition figure Alexey Navalny. Several experts and activists criticized the World Economic Forum for inviting him, with chess champion and Kremlin critic Garry Kasparov tweeting that Putin’s appearance showed he was “desperate to reassure his cronies he's still acceptable in the West despite his brutal crackdown.”

The week the Trump show ended

Data: NewsWhip; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Donald Trump was eclipsed in media attention last week by President Biden for the first time since Trump took office, according to viewership data on the internet, on social media and on cable news.

Why it matters: After Trump crowded out nearly every other news figure and topic for five years, momentum of the new administration took hold last week and the former president retreated, partly by choice and partly by being forced off the big platforms.

Scoop: U.S. begins denying Afghan immigrants

Afghan refugees on a bus bound for temporary housing after arriving in Greece. Photo: Byron Smith/Getty Images

The Biden administration has begun issuing denials to Afghans seeking to emigrate to the United States through the humanitarian parole process, after a system that typically processes 2,000 applications annually has been flooded with more than 30,000.

Why it matters: Afghans face steeper odds and longer processes for escaping to the U.S., despite the earlier sweeping efforts by the Biden administration to assist its allies. Immigration lawyers and advocacy groups say the government has set untenable barriers to a safe haven in the U.S.