The official tone from the Kremlin on Monday, the day after the pro-Europe Emmanuel Macron was elected France’s president, was that Russia can work with anybody. But the snow falling on Moscow was perhaps more reflective of the damp chill in the Kremlin’s relations with Europe after yet another fruitless attempt to influence an election abroad. For the last three years, since Europe slapped sanctions on Russia over the Ukraine crisis, the Kremlin has sought to undermine and weaken the Western, trans-Atlantic alliance arrayed against it. Elections in particular have been viewed as a prime moment to try to exploit Western weakness — and openness — to help bring to power leaders more sympathetic to Russia.
France was the latest potential prize. Moscow backed one losing candidate after another, including an unusual, high-profile endorsement of the pro-Russia, far-right leader Marine Le Pen, whom French voters rejected soundly on Sunday.
On Monday the Kremlin tried to put the best possible outlook on the election of her opponent. President Vladimir V. Putin sent Mr. Macron a congratulatory message, expressing the desire to “overcome mutual distrust” and wishing him “good health, well-being and success.”
Never mind that before the vote Russian-state run media profiled Mr. Macron as probably gay, in thrall to Jewish bankers and among the enthusiastic “demons of globalization.”