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Trump Inauguration: What the World Is Saying About New President

As Donald Trump is inaugurated as 45th president of the United States, NBC News takes a glance at what people around the planet — from world leaders to ordinary citizens — are saying about America's new leader.

Russia

An employee polishes traditional Russian wooden nesting dolls, Matryoshka dolls, depicting US President-elect Donald Trump (L) and Russian President Vladimir Putin at a gift shop in central Moscow.
Alexander Nemenov | AFP | Getty Images
An employee polishes traditional Russian wooden nesting dolls, Matryoshka dolls, depicting US President-elect Donald Trump (L) and Russian President Vladimir Putin at a gift shop in central Moscow.

Around 4,800 miles from Washington, D.C., a Donald Trump inauguration party was in full swing.

On the eve of Trump being sworn into office, around 180 partygoers at a jazz club in downtown Moscow were being entertained by a group named The Trump Band and well-known Russian-American singer Willi Tokarev, who has just released an album named "Trumplissimo America."

Tokarev, who is 82, praised the incoming leader as an "unbelievable superman, the symbol of America.

"It's no secret the Russians are welcoming Trump's victory," Igor Khaletsky, the owner of the Arbat 13 club, told NBC News. "But all this is in advance, based on his electoral promises."

Russian President Vladimir Putin has exchanged pleasantries with Trump and signaled he may seek a rapprochement with the United States under its new administration. Trump has also suggested he may lift biting economic sanctions slapped on Russia for its annexation of Crimea.

"It looks like a Christmas gift from the American people with very beautiful packaging, but we don't know what is inside," former Russian lawmaker Sergei Markov said.

Like Markov, many of the well-dressed crowd at the retro-themed nightclub were similarly enthusiastic about the incoming U.S. president.

"I do support Trump, I hope he will make relations better," said Alexey Smirnov, a tattooed 49-year-old musician, although he admitted that he was mainly there for the music.

Others are worried, however. One opposition leader, Vladimir Ryzhkov, said he feared that "Donald Trump will close his eyes on democracy and human rights and freedom of the press and political prisoners in Russia."

Even at the Kremlin, Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, told the BBC that they would not be watching the inauguration, instead celebrating the Orthodox Christmas holiday, Epiphany, in which people skinny-dip in the frigid outdoor winter.

Russia was just one of many nations reacting to Trump's imminent inauguration Friday, and anticipating what his administration will mean for their part of the world.

Israel

Trump's promise to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem has pleased Israeli right-wingers but dismayed Palestinian leaders.

After a fractious relationship with President Barack Obama, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has welcomed Trump's incoming administration. In December, both men condemned the Obama administration's abstention from a United Nations resolution labeling Israeli settlements in the West Bank illegal.

"After eight difficult years, a true friend is entering the White House," Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat said Wednesday ahead of Trump's inaugural. "Together, we will remind Washington that Israel remains its greatest friend and closest ally."

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"I'm happy for him, it can show us that everyone can become a president, and maybe its nice to see a businessman as a president," Bat Sheva Hass, 35, said.

Despite these overtures from Russia and Israel, the president-elect has recorded historic unpopularity in other parts of the world.

Just 9 percent of people living in the European Union have confidence in Trump's foreign policy game, according to a Pew study in June. That figure is just 8 percent in Japan, 14 percent in India and 22 percent in China.

The West Bank

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has criticized Trump's vows to move the U.S. embassy in Israel, saying Saturday that "it will not help peace and we hope it does not happen."

It's a sentiment echoed by many Palestinians on the day of Trump's inauguration. The Palestinians see East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.

Raful Saade, 26, called the move "dangerous," warning that the decision could lead to more bloodshed.

"At the end of the day we want peace, peace is obtainable if the two sides want it, and by moving the embassy it won't be happening any time soon," said 17-year-old Sona Hazbun. "It'll be stopping the peace process."

China

Trump spent much of his presidential campaign attacking Beijing's allegedly unfair trade practices, and even threatening to launch what experts said amounted to a trade war.

While the Chinese government has refrained from reacting with bombastic statements, one state-run newspaper warned the U.S. to "bone up on nuclear power strategies." This was after Trump's pick for secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, suggested he might try to stop China accessing China's controversial outposts that it has built in the disputed South China Sea.

However, some Chinese citizens, such as 41-year-old lawyer Jenny Chen, are more upbeat about Trump's impact on their country.

I'm in general very optimistic, in a cautious way," said Chen, who is from the southeastern province of Fujian. "I think China and America will remain good trade partners. I don't think they will abandon each other's business interests just over small disputes."

Xiong Li, a 25-year-old software engineer from Jiangxi, agreed.

"For the past two decades, especially for the past few presidents, they are almost the same," Xiong told NBC News. "This is the first time an outsider, a true outsider, is coming to the White House. I think it will bring some change. Hopefully some good change, positive change."

However, Xiong conceded that "one thing i think is a little bit dangerous to me is, Trump seems to be a dictator."

Iraq

Trump moves into the White House at a time when the U.S. remains locked in battle with ISIS across Iraq and Syria.

Although he originally supported the war, Trump spent much of the campaign saying that the invasion "may have been the worst decision" in presidential history. It's not clear what his next move in the region would be, but many Iraqis are angry at America's impact on their country over the past three decades.

"What goes around comes around … America should pay the price of invading my country," said 29-year-old Marwa Fadhel, who works in Iraq's Ministry of Oil. "Having such a president is a curse from God, and this is the price that Americans are going to pay for invading my country."

Tawfeeq Majeed Mohammed, a 43-year-old English teacher, called Trump a "clown" and said that "America is going to gain more enemies and haters than it had before" because of his policies.

Not everyone was so negative, however. Wurud Salih, a 32-year-old journalist from Basra, said that Trump would "bring balance to the region."

Egypt

Trump's proposal to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem is sending ripple effects to Israel's southern neighbor as Egyptians try to brace for the next American administration.

"I don't feel secure now," Hanan Mahmoud, 45, said. "I am afraid he will make a war in the Arab countries. That is what frightens me."

Forty-year-old Ahmed Ibrahim voiced concerns that Trump didn't seem fully prepared for the job and that his rhetoric sounded increasingly isolationist.

"He is only talking about his country, 100 percent," Ibrahim said. "When Obama spoke he spoke about many countries, but [Trump] only spoke about America."

Europe and elsewhere

Anti-Trump demonstrations took place and were expected in as many as 57 countries on Friday, according to various groups, including the Women's March on Washington, a movement critical of the rhetoric used during the election cycle.

In London, protesters from the Bridges Not Walls group unfurled a banner on the city's iconic Tower Bridge reading: "Act now! Build bridges not walls," a reference to Trump's promise to build a wall on the Mexican border.

On Westminster Bridge, near the Houses of Parliament, another banner read: "Migrants welcome here," referring to the president-elect's statement during the campaign that America should halt all Muslims from entering the country.

When he was mayor of London in 2015, British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson said that Trump was "clearly out of his mind" and "frankly unfit to hold the office of president of the United States," after Trump claimed some parts of London were "no-go areas" for police because of the threat posed by Muslims.

After Trump's election, however, Johnson has fallen in line with the British government's official stance that it is looking forward to working with its long-time ally.

Following a similar display after Trump was elected, some European newspapers used their front pages to mark the occasion.

Britain's measured tone was repeated in Japan, where Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Friday that his alliance with the U.S. was "the cornerstone of our nation's diplomatic and security policies," something he called an "immutable principle."

However, the country was among those that saw protests against Trump's inaugural.

In Germany, Trump's criticism of Chancellor Angela Merkel, as well as German trade and the European Union, has caused alarm among officials.


Banners were dropped on bridges crossing the Thames in protest against the inauguration of Donald Trump, January 21st 2017 in London.
Kristian Buus | In Pictures | Getty Images
Banners were dropped on bridges crossing the Thames in protest against the inauguration of Donald Trump, January 21st 2017 in London.

"This day really marks a celebration of American democracy and usually people here look at Washington with admiration … but I think this time it's different," said Niels Annen, foreign affairs spokesman for the center-left SPD party, a coalition partner in the government.

He said that on inauguration day there would be "a lot of uncertainty and also I think some resentment."

Nikole McDuffie, a 23-year-old California native who works in the tech industry in Berlin, visited the city's Brandenburg Gate to show her discontent with Trump.

"I was hoping to see the first female president elected and I woke up to this awful human being," she told NBC News. "Every time I meet someone new in Berlin, they ask me about Trump. Many people here say they were so surprised to see that there were enough people in America who would actually elect him."

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