At LAT, "In a slap at Obama, Putin plays Mr. Nice Guy":
Vladimir Putin is betting that the smartest move is to do nothing.
The Russian president announced Friday that his government would not expel any U.S. diplomats in retaliation for U.S. punitive measures unveiled by the White House a day earlier in response to Russia’s alleged cyber-attacks.
Putin’s sidestep away from confrontation was widely read as a deliberate bow to President-elect Donald Trump -- and a final hard slap at President Obama in the waning weeks of the U.S. leader’s tenure.
“We will not create any problems for U.S. diplomats. We will not expel anyone,” Putin said in a statement posted on the Kremlin website that followed well-publicized calls from senior Russian officials for a sharp pushback against the U.S. administration over steps that included the expulsions of 35 Russian diplomats.
The Russian leader said the Kremlin would instead base future moves on “the policies of the Trump administration.” Trump quickly praised Putin for putting off any action, tweeting: “I always knew he was very smart!”
Great move on delay (by V. Putin) - I always knew he was very smart!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 30, 2016