On the other hand, our apparent next Secretary of State does have extensive experience working closely with Russia on oil and gas contracts. He has shown himself capable of getting things done with Putin's government, in other words.
In the wake of yesterday's revelations that Russian hacking was aimed at benefiting the Trump campaign, I suppose the appointment of someone with close business ties to Russia must be troubling to Trump's critics. On the other hand, it nicely explains why Russia would have supported him against Clinton. Clinton's stated intent was to throw up a No Fly Zone in Syria that would have had American warplanes flying against Russian ones, the very next step away from war. Trump, like this new Secretary of State nominee, thinks of Russia first and foremost as a business partner.
Why would Russia try to put its finger on the scale of America's election? This is why. It is, from the perspective of statecraft, quite a sharp set of moves: for the cheap price of some influence operations, they avoided the immediate risk of a hot war with the United States, and gained an opportunity to advance their business interests in a more favorable environment.
I do not take seriously the suggestion that Trump or his new nominee are Russian pawns -- but they don't have to be. It was a good move for Russia if they are just not quite so eager to start a new war, and interested instead in economic development. The fact that both men have extensive business interests in Russia also gives the Russians levers to work against them (which is one reason Trump really should put his stuff in a blind trust, though I doubt that he will -- I expect him to pass the business to his children, where it will still serve Russia' interests). You don't need to bribe them or suborn them. You just give them reasons not to want to fight, because there's so much to gain by not fighting.
Putin is a vicious man, but he's also a very smart one. Russia has a weak position but he has played it excellently. Without in any sense excusing his acts of tyranny, it is easy to admire his skill. I wonder if anyone on our team is going to be as good at this game, or if we even have anyone who sees it as a game of strategy in the same way.