Mr Putin is under no illusion that things will get any easier. The next US president is almost certain to be more hawkish towards Russia than Barack Obama, who entered the White House seeking a hopeful reset of relations.
“This forces Russia to head in a different direction – towards China and Iran, out of the western international system,” says Cliff Kupchan, chairman of the Eurasia Group risk consultancy. “That is not in the west’s interest. They are becoming what you could call a floater state – something like an angry version of India.”