Russian President Vladimir Putin has put Donald Trump to the test by declining to retaliate against the Obama administration for widening sanctions on Russia this week, and so far the president-elect is passing.

The current administration announced Thursday that it would expel 35 Russian diplomats and close two of the country’s compounds in New York and Maryland in response to U.S. intelligence agencies’ assessment that Moscow hacked U.S. political institutions during the 2016 presidential election. Putin, reacting in such a way that left many surprised, said he would wait for Trump to assume office before determining whether Russia would pursue retaliatory measures of its own.

Trump praised Putin’s decision, describing him as a “very smart” leader and signaling in 140-character form that he intends to fulfill his campaign promise to thaw the icy relationship between Washington and Moscow.

“It’s time for our country to move on to bigger and better things,” the incoming Republican president said in a statement Thursday evening.

But as Trump weighs whether “moving on” with Russia means reversing the newly imposed sanctions once he enters the White House, which he could do easily through executive action, some Republicans are turning up pressure on the president-elect to allow for a full congressional investigation of the Kremlin’s cyberactivity before any such decision is made.

“You’re going to have natural tension on this both within the incoming administration itself, where some officials are maybe going to be more in line with Republicans on Capitol Hill who want to hold the line or do more against Russia, and among GOP lawmakers on Capitol Hill,” Boris Zilberman, an expert on Russia at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told the Washington Examiner Friday afternoon.

“But if we’ve seen anything from Donald Trump, it’s that he can act asymmetrically,” Zilberman continued. “So he may tie certain things to defense that [Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John] McCain may want and maybe that helps alleviate McCain’s concerns about Russia.”

“It’s going to be quite an interesting dance,” he added.

A dance could end up marking U.S.-Russia relations in the Trump era should his administration forego a full reset with America’s greatest adversary and instead test the waters through careful negotiations on issues such as the Syrian conflict, Crimea or NATO.

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“There’s probably not going to be a big complete redo of the relationship, but you could see it become more transactional,” Zilberman said. “The thing to watch is whether or not both sides move forward with smaller, verifiable measures to test each other to see if they can work together in a positive way, and also what kind of pushback they will get from Capitol Hill and other folks in doing so.”

With the crisis swelling in Syria, the incoming administration may find its first test case. Trump often has said the U.S. could benefit by teaming up with Russia to destroy the Islamic State terror group even as the two countries remain at odds over the Assad regime. Cooperation on that front would be a step in the right direction for U.S.-Russia relations, according to the president-elect.

“I’ve had an opposite view of many people regarding Syria,” Trump told the Wall Street Journal shortly after his victory last month.

“My attitude was you’re fighting Syria. Syria is fighting ISIS, and you have to get rid of ISIS. Russia is now totally aligned with Syria …” he continued, suggesting the U.S. should be more concerned with its anti-Islamic State campaign than ensuring a transition of political power in Syria.

In addition to Putin, at least one other Kremlin leader seems pleased with Trump’s openness to improving relations between the U.S. and Russia in the aftermath of the Obama administration’s sanctions and to working in tandem to eradicate jihadist groups in the Middle East.

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“I would like to express my hope that after the administration of Donald Trump assumes its duties, it will also join the efforts in order to channel this work into one direction basing on friendly and collective cooperation,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told Putin during a meeting Thursday, according to a Russian news agency.

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