What do the U.S. presidential candidates think about Russia?

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks at her caucus night rally at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, Monday, Feb. 1, 2016.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks at her caucus night rally at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, Monday, Feb. 1, 2016.

On Feb. 1 the first important stage of the selection of presidential candidates from the Republican and Democratic parties – the Iowa Caucus – was held in Iowa. The subject of relations with Moscow is a key geopolitical trump for participants in the U.S. election race, with even those who are not too savvy in international politics making their position clear. RBTH has tried to make a portrait of each major candidate based on their statements on Russia.

Hillary Clinton, Democrat

Hillary Clinton speaks at her caucus night rally at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, Feb. 1, 2016. Source: AP

According to IPSOS, Clinton is the undisputed leader of the race: 42 percent of respondents would vote for her.

"I remain convinced that we need a concerted effort to really up the costs on Russia and in particular on Putin. I am in the category of people who wanted us to do more in response to the annexation of Crimea and the continuing destabilization of Ukraine."

"We all wish Putin would choose to modernize his country and move toward the West instead of sinking himself into historical roots of tsar-like behavior, and intimidation along national borders and projecting Russian power in places like Syria and elsewhere."

"I think Russia's objectives are to stymie and to confront and undermine American power whenever and wherever they can. I don't think there's much to be surprised about them." 

Sen. Bernie Sanders, Democrat

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., poses for photos during a caucus night rally on Feb. 1, 2016, in Des Moines, Iowa. Source: AP

According to IPSOS, Sanders is in second place – 31 percent of voters support him.

“Bernie Sanders supports a strong, consistent stance with Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin,” says his official campaign site. “Bernie supports enforcing economic sanctions and international pressure as an alternative to any direct military confrontation when dealing with Russia. …The United States must collaborate to create a unified stance with our international allies in order to effectively address Russian aggression.”

Donald Trump, Republican

Donald Trump speaks at his caucus night rally, Feb. 1, 2016, in West Des Moines, Iowa. Source: AP

According to IPSOS, Trump is in third place – he is supported by 29 percent of respondents.

Regarding Putin intervening militarily in Syria, Trump said he supports it if Russia wants to bomb Islamic State (ISIS). "As far as him attacking [ISIS], I'm all for it. If he wants to be bombing the hell out of [ISIS], which he's starting to do, if he wants to be bombing [ISIS], let him bomb them.”

"I've always felt fine about Putin. I think that he's a strong leader. … I think he's up in the 80s … and I don't know who does the polls, maybe he does the polls, but I think they're done by American companies, actually."

Ted Cruz, Republican

Ted Cruz speaks after winning at his Iowa caucus night rally in Des Moines, Iowa, Feb.1, 2016. Source: Reuters

According toIPSOS, 12 percent of the electorate would vote for him.

"It is dangerous to dictators like Putin when Americans remember their exceptionalism. The unique combination of power and principle that has made the United States the greatest force for good on the planet has historically posed a grave threat to repressive bullies."

"We can redouble our efforts to develop the defensive weapons that neutralized the offensive Soviet threat — particularly missile defense. … We should not only move quickly to install the canceled interceptor sites Putin opposed in Poland and the Czech Republic, but also to develop the next generation of systems that will only increase his discomfiture."

“No one in their right mind would believe Putin’s assertion that he’s there to help go after the terrorists. Obama did but it’s only because he’s hopelessly naive.”

Ben Carson, Republican

Ben Carson speaks to supporters at his campaign's caucus night rally, Feb. 1, 2016, in West Des Moines, Iowa. Source: AP

Only 8 percent of U.S. voters support him, according to IPSOS.

"I would tell [Putin] that we are a peaceful nation. But we are not a marshmallow, and we will not allow the extension of his influence in places where we have an interest."

“Putin has very great aspirations, not just in Syria, but globally. And we need to put a strong front against him everywhere. I mean, you know, throughout the Baltic basin.”

“I think we ought to put in our missile-defense system. I think we ought to give Ukraine offensive weapons, and I think we ought to fight them on an economic basis, because Putin is a one-horse country — oil and energy.”

Jeb Bush, Republican

Jeb Bush speaks at a campaign event at the Greasewood Flats Ranch in Carroll, Iowa, Jan. 29, 2016. Source: Reuters

The son of the 41st President George H. W. Bush and brother of 43rd President George W. Bush remains in sixth place, with just 7 percent of IPSOS respondents supporting him.

“You would like me to call him [Putin – RBTH] a weak leader. He’s a strong leader. I’m not going to be politically correct. He’s very popular within Russia.”

“Putin is organized to challenge the United States across the world now. He views his success by pushing us back. We’re losing influence around the world, and Putin is gaining influence. He’s not an ally. He’s a dictator. He’s a bully.

Marco Rubio, Republican

Marco Rubio before speaking at the Rubio caucus watch party at the Downtown Marriott Hotel in Des Moines, Iowa Feb. 1, 2016. Source: Reuters

14 percent of IPSOS respondents would vote for him.

“As soon as I take office, I will move quickly to increase pressure on Moscow. Under my administration, there will be no pleadings for meetings with Vladimir Putin. He will be treated for what he is – a gangster and a thug.”

Opinion: The U.S. electoral match-up the Kremlin elite would like to see>>>

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