Russia–United States relations

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Russia–United States relations
Map indicating locations of Russia and USA


United States
Diplomatic Mission
Russian Embassy, Washington, D.C. United States Embassy, Moscow

Russia–United States relations is the bilateral relationship between Russia, a successor state to the Soviet Union, and the United States of America. Russia and the United States maintain diplomatic relations, but in 2014, already strained relations between Russia and the U.S., as well as other countries allied with the U.S., greatly deteriorated due to the Ukrainian crisis and the Syrian Civil War, which caused observers to characterize those as assuming an adversarial nature, or the advent of Cold War II,[1][2][3] with mutual trade and investment being significantly restricted. Despite the tensions between both countries, the United States and Russia are still willing to cooperate and work together on international issues such as security and international peace.

Country comparison[edit]

Russia Russia United States United States
Area 17,075,400 km² (6,592,800 sq mi) 9,526,468 km² (3,794,101 sq mi)[4]
Population 146 267 999 317,552,001
Population density 8.3/km² (21.5/sq mi) 33.7/km² (87.4/sq mi)
Capital Moscow Washington, D.C.
Largest city Moscow (12,197,596) New York City (8,491,079)
Government Federal semi-presidential
constitutional republic
Federal presidential constitutional republic
two-party system
First leader Boris Yeltsin George Washington
Current leader Vladimir Putin Barack Obama
Official languages Russian English (de facto)
GDP (nominal) $1.857 trillion $17.419 trillion
External debt (nominal) $597.254 billion (2014 Q4) $17.114 trillion (2014 Q4)
GDP (PPP) $3.565 trillion $17.419 trillion
GDP (nominal) per capita $12,926 $54,597
GDP (PPP) per capita $24,805 $54,597
Human Development Index 0.788 (high) 0.937 (very high)
Foreign exchange reserves 465,228 (millions of USD) 142,898 (millions of USD)
Military expenditures $87.8 billion $612 billion
Nuclear warheads


2500 / 8000 (2015) 1900 / 4760 (2015)


Background: the United States and the Soviet Union[edit]

In the late 1980s, Eastern European nations took advantage of the relaxation of Soviet control under Mikhail Gorbachev and began to break away from communist rule.

On 3 December 1989, Gorbachev and George H. W. Bush declared the Cold War over at the Malta Summit.[5] In December 1991, the Soviet Union dissolved and the Commonwealth of Independent States was formed.

With the ending of Communism, relations between Russia and the United States, already greatly improved in the final years of the USSR, developed further.

Putin and George W. Bush (January 2001-January 2009)[edit]

During the presidencies of Vladimir Putin, who assumed the top office on the last day of 1999, and U.S. president George W. Bush, the U.S. and Russia began to have serious disagreements. Under Putin, Russia became more assertive in international affairs; under Bush, the U.S. took an increasingly unilateral course in its foreign policy in the wake of the September 11 attacks. Nevertheless, Putin and Bush were said to have established good personal relations.[6][7]

In 2002, the U.S. withdrew from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in order to move forward with plans for a missile defense system. Putin called the decision a mistake. Russia strongly opposed the 2003 invasion of Iraq, though without exercising its veto in the United Nations Security Council. Russia has regarded the expansion of NATO into the old Eastern Bloc, and U.S. efforts to gain access to Central Asian oil and natural gas as a potentially hostile encroachment on Russia's sphere of influence.

Controversy over U.S. plan to station missiles in Poland[edit]

In March 2007, the U.S. announced plans to build an anti-ballistic missile defense installation in Poland along with a radar station in the Czech Republic. Both nations were former Warsaw Pact members. U.S. officials said that the system was intended to protect the United States and Europe from possible nuclear missile attacks by Iran or North Korea. Russia, however, viewed the new system as a potential threat and, in response, tested a long-range intercontinental ballistic missile, the RS-24, which it claimed could defeat any defense system. Vladimir Putin warned the U.S. that these new tensions could turn Europe into a "powder keg". On 3 June 2007, Putin warned that if the U.S. built the missile defense system, Russia would consider targeting missiles at Poland and the Czech Republic.[8]

On 16 October 2007, Vladimir Putin visited Iran to discuss Russia's aid to Iran's nuclear power program and "insisted that the use of force was unacceptable."[9] On October 17, Bush stated "if you're interested in avoiding World War III, it seems like you ought to be interested in preventing them from having the knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon," understood as a message to Putin.[10] A week later Putin compared U.S. plans to put up a missile defense system near Russia's border as analogous to when the Soviet Union deployed missiles in Cuba, prompting the Cuban Missile Crisis.[11]

On 14 February 2008, Vladimir Putin said Russia might have to retarget some of its missiles towards the missile defense system: "If it appears, we will be forced to respond appropriately – we will have to retarget part of our systems against those missiles." He also said that missiles might be redirected towards Ukraine if they went ahead with plans to build NATO bases within their territory, saying that "We will be compelled to aim our missiles at facilities that we consider a threat to our national security, and I am putting this plainly now so that the blame for this is not shifted later,"[12]

On 8 July 2008, Russia announced that if a U.S. anti-missile shield is deployed near the Russian border, they will react militarily. The statement from the Russian foreign ministry said "If a U.S. strategic anti-missile shield starts to be deployed near our borders, we will be forced to react not in a diplomatic fashion but with military-technical means." Later, Russia's ambassador to the United Nations Vitaly Churkin stated that "military-technical means" does not mean military action, but more likely a change in Russia's strategic posture, perhaps by redeploying its own missiles.[13]

On 14 August 2008, the U.S. and Poland agreed to have 10 two-stage missile interceptors – made by Orbital Sciences Corporation – placed in Poland, as part of a missile shield to defend Europe and the U.S. from a possible missile attack by Iran. In return, the U.S. agreed to move a battery of MIM-104 Patriot missiles to Poland. The missile battery would be staffed – at least temporarily – by U.S. Military personnel. The U.S. also pledged to defend Poland – a NATO member – quicker than NATO would in the event of an attack. Additionally, the Czech Republic recently agreed to allow the placement of a radar-tracking station in their country, despite public opinion polls showing that the majority of Czechs are against the plans and only 18% support it.[14] The radar-tracking station in the Czech Republic would also be part of the missile defense shield. After the agreement was announced, Russian officials said defences on Russia's borders would be increased and that they foresee harm in bilateral relations with the United States[15]

On 5 November 2008, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in his first annual address to the Federal Assembly of Russia promised to deploy Iskander short-range missilies to Kaliningrad, near the border with American-backed Poland.[16]

Russian-Georgian clash[edit]

Main article: Russia–Georgia war

In August 2008, American-Russian relations were strained, when Russia invaded Georgia. Russia claimed that it was a mission to protect Georgian separatist regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia from Georgian bombing of civilian areas. The United States supported Georgia in the conflict, sending humanitarian and military aid to Georgia and assisting with the withdrawal of Georgian troops from Iraq.[citation needed]

After the conflict, in 2009, U.S. Vice President Biden visited Georgia then said that the Russians "have a shrinking population base, have a withering economy, have a banking sector and structure that is not likely to be able to withstand the next 15 years."[17]

Russian-Venezuelan military cooperation[edit]

On 25 November 2008, a Russian naval fleet arrived in Venezuela, a nation the U.S. considers to be part of its sphere of influence. Russian war vessels- including the Battlecruiser Peter the Great, which is equipped with missiles- arrived in the port of La Guaira to conduct joint naval exercises with the Venezuelan navy. The incident is seen by many as an echo of the Cuban Missile Crisis of the Cold War Era, and has increased tensions between Russia and the United States.[citation needed] While Russia maintains that the exercises are nothing more than a method of strengthening ties with Venezuela, the United States believes that the placing of Russian war ships into the American sphere of influence is blatant provocation and a direct retaliation for both the American missile plan in Eastern Europe and interference with the Russia-Georgia situation of August 2008.

North Korean nuclear threat[edit]

On 25 May 2009, North Korea's new nuclear test shocked North Korea's bilateral relations with Russia and China. Russia responded to this new nuclear program by condemning North Korea's move[18] and that it could lead to a nuclear war. North Korea later threatened to attack its neighboring rival South Korea after it joined a U.S. led plan to check vessels suspected of carrying equipment for weapons of mass destruction. Due to this, ambassadors from five permanent veto-wielding council members (China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, and the United States) were ready to have a meeting to make a new resolution to this nuclear strike. On June 15, 2009, Russia and China have both supported the new UN sanctions on North Korea.

Syrian uprising[edit]

While the U.S. favored sanctions and resolutions calling Assad to quit, Russia has refused to support such moves. In March 2012, a bipartisan group of 17 U.S. senators called on the Department of Defense to stop doing business with Russian state-controlled arms exporter Rosoboroneksport over its arming of the Syrian government. The group of senators included John Cornyn, R-TX, Dick Durbin, D-IL., Kelly Ayotte, R-NH, and Kirsten Gillibrand, D-NY.[19]

"Reset" of relations under Barack Obama and Dmitry Medvedev (2009-2010)[edit]

Main article: Russian reset
U.S. President Barack Obama with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in 2009.

Despite U.S.-Russia relations becoming strained during the Bush administration, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and U.S. President Barack Obama struck a warm tone at the 2009 G20 summit in London and released a joint statement that promised a "fresh start" in U.S.-Russia relations. The statement also called on Iran to abandon its nuclear program and to permit foreign inspectors into the country.[20]

In March 2009, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov symbolically pressed a "reset" button. The gag fell short as the Russian on the button was wrongly translated by the State Department as "overload" instead of "reset". After making a few jokes, they decided to press the button anyway.[21]

On March 24, 2010, the United States and Russia reached an agreement to reduce their stockpiles of nuclear weapons. The new nuclear arms reduction treaty (called New START) was signed by President Obama and President Medvedev on April 8, 2010, in Prague. The agreement cut the number of long-range nuclear weapons held by each side to about 1,500, down from the current 1,700 to 2,200 set by the Moscow Treaty of 2002. The New START replaced the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, which expired in December 2009.[22] However, in practice, New START requires only the US, not Russia, to cut its nuclear arsenal; Moscow is not required to reduce its nuclear stockpile.[citation needed]

Vigilant Eagle 2010[edit]

In August 2010, the United States and Russia conducted a joint anti-hijacking exercise.[23]

It was planned to conduct joint anti terrorist exercises already in 2008 but due to the war in South Ossettia the drill was postponed. In 2010, the exercise took place over the territory of Russia's Kamchatka region and the US state of Alaska. According to Alexander Zelin it was an example of successful international cooperation on preventing a terrorist threat as Russian, Canadian and US fighter jets, along with airborne warning and control aircraft, worked together to rescue a simulated hijacked aircraft. However, the chief of the Russian Air Force confessed that the maneuvers also revealed a number of problems in the interaction between the pilots of the 3 states.

Putin's third term[edit]

In March 2012, with the election of Putin back to presidency, White House spokesman Jay Carney said U.S.-Russian cooperation is based on mutual interests. He also said it is a policy based on an approach based on U.S. national interests and the areas where the U.S can reach an agreement with Russia on things like Iran, on trade and other matters.[24]

Increased tension[edit]

In May 2012, Russian General Nikolay Yegorovich Makarov said that there is a possibility of a preemptive strike on missile defense sites in Eastern Europe, to apply pressure to the United States regarding Russia's demands.[25] In July 2012, two Tu-95 Bears were intercepted by NORAD fighters in the air defense zone off the U.S. coast of Alaska, where they may have been practicing the targeting of Fort Greely and Vandenberg Air Force Base.[26] Later in August 2012, it was revealed that an Akula-class submarine had conducted a patrol within the Gulf of Mexico without being detected, raising alarms of the U.S. Navy's anti-submarine warfare capabilities.[27][28]

On 14 December 2012, President Barack Obama signed the called the Magnitsky Act, which "[imposed] U.S. travel and financial restrictions on human rights abusers in Russia". On 28 December 2012, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a bill, widely seen as retaliatory, that banned any United States citizen from adopting children from Russia.[29]

On February 12, 2013, just hours before the 2013 State of the Union Address, two Russian Tu-95 Bear strategic bombers equipped with nuclear-tipped cruise missiles circled the United States territory of Guam.[30][31] Air Force F-15 jets based on Andersen Air Force Base were scrambled to intercept the aircraft.[30][31] The Russian aircraft reportedly "were intercepted and left the area in a northbound direction."[30][31]

There have been increasing concerns that Russia is violating the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty of 1987. Based on a classified briefing in 2012 with John Kerry, at the time acting as the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, these compliance concerns have already been voiced. By the end of 2013, it was clear that a rearmament of the Novosibirsk and Tagil divisions with the mobile Yars missile system by solid-propelled intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) has been taking place.[32] The silo-based RS-26 Rubezh missile system is based on upgraded RS-24 Yars rockets that can carry multiple independently targetable nuclear warheads, and most importantly, they are equipped to evade the anti-ballistic missile defense installations in Poland.[33] Rose Gottemoeller, the State Department's senior arms control official, has discussed these possible threats with Russian officials in May 2013, but the White House has not yet clarified whether the deployment of these missile systems are indeed violating the aforementioned agreement.[34]

North Korean threat 2013[edit]

Main article: 2013 Korean crisis

In April 2013, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un ordered missiles to be ready to launch at U.S. military bases in South Korea, Japan and Guam. Russia immediately supported U.N. sanctions against North Korea.[citation needed] Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulo specifically told North Korea to stop causing tensions in the Korean peninsula.[citation needed] Both Russia and China have condemned North Korea's actions and support U.N. sanctions against North Korea.[citation needed]

Edward Snowden affair[edit]

Relations between the United States and Russia worsened when in late July 2013 Russia granted political asylum to the former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, who was wanted by U.S. prosecutors for theft of government property and espionage. This further aggravated relations between the two countries and led to the cancellation of a previously planned one-on-one meeting between Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin that was scheduled for early September 2013 in Moscow, Russia.[35][36][37]

Ukraine crisis: 2014-2015[edit]

Following the collapse of the government of Viktor Yanukovych in Ukraine, in February 2014 Russia invaded and occupied Crimea which it then annexed on the basis of a staged referendum. The annexation of Crimea was denounced by the international community including the US leadership, as a breach of international law, and thus Crimea's status as a part of Russia remains unrecognized.

Political cartoon by Ranan Lurie

As unrest spread into eastern Ukraine in the spring of 2014, relations between the U.S. and Russia began to sour. Russian support for separatists fighting Ukrainian forces attracted U.S. sanctions. After one bout of sanctions announced by President Obama on July 16, 2014, Russian President Vladimir Putin said sanctions were driving Russia into a corner that could bring relations between the two countries to a "dead-end."[38]

On July 17, 2014, relations between the two countries deteriorated further when Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was brought down by a suspected surface-to-air missile in eastern Ukraine, near the Russian border. Independent sources concluded that the missile had been fired from an area controlled by Russian-backed separatists, who were supplied by Russia with sophisticated weapons, training, heavy arms, and anti-aircraft equipment.[39] American military officer Martin Dempsey said that in response the United States was "looking inside our own readiness models to look at things that we haven’t had to look at for 20 years, frankly, about basing and lines of communication and sea lanes"[40] On 20 August 2014, as tensions between the two countries continued to be strained over events in Ukraine, and the resultant sanctions, the Russian government temporarily shut down four McDonald's outlets in Moscow, citing sanitary concerns. The U.S. company has operated in Russia since 1990, and at August 2014 had 438 stores across the country.[41] On 23 August 2014, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich ruled out any government move to ban McDonald's and said the temporary closures had nothing to do with the sanctions.[42]

The end of 2014 saw the passage by the US of the Ukraine Freedom Support Act of 2014,[43][44] aimed at depriving certain Russian state firms from Western financing and technology while also providing $350 million in arms and military equipment to Ukraine, and the imposition by the US President's executive order of yet another round of sanctions.[45]

Due to the situation concerning Ukraine, relations between the United States and Russia are at their worst since the end of the Cold war.[46] In 2015, on Defender of the Fatherland Day, a mock missile was paraded reading "to be personally delivered to Obama".[47]

Russian military intervention in the Syrian Civil War (from 30 September 2015)[edit]

Barack Obama meets with Vladimir Putin to discuss Syria, 29 September 2015

According to Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov′s statement made in mid-October 2015, prior to the start of its air campaign on the side of the Syrian government headed by president Bashar al-Assad of Syria on 30 September 2015, Russia had invited the U.S. to join the Baghdad-based information center set up by Iran, Iraq, Syria and Russia to coordinate their military efforts, but received what he called an "unconstructive" response; Putin′s proposal that the U.S. receive a high-level Russian delegation and that a U.S. delegation arrive in Moscow to discuss co-operation in Syria was likewise declined by the U.S.[48][49][50]

In early October 2015, U.S. president Obama called the way Russia was conducting its military campaign in Syria a "recipe for disaster";[51] top U.S. military officials ruled out military cooperation with Russia in Syria.[52][53] Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter and other senior U.S. officials said Russia's campaign was primarily aimed at propping up Assad, whom U.S. president Barack Obama had repeatedly called upon to leave power.[54]

Three weeks into the Russian campaign in Syria, on 20 October 2015, Russian president Vladimir Putin met Bashar Assad in Moscow to discuss their joint military campaign and a future political settlement in Syria, according to the Kremlin report of the event.[55][56] The meeting provoked a sharp condemnation from the White House.[57]

While one of the original aims of the Russian leadership may have been normalisation of the relationship with the U.S. and the West at large, the resultant situation in Syria was said in October 2015 to be a proxy war between Russia and the U.S.[58][59][60][61][62] The two rounds of the Syria peace talks held in Vienna in October and November 2015, with Iran participating for the first time, highlighted yet again the deep disagreement over the Syrian settlement between the U.S. and Russia, primarily on the issue of Bashar Assad′s political future.[63] The talks in Vienna were followed by a bilateral meeting of Obama and Putin on the sidelines of the G-20 Summit in Turkey, during which a certain consensus between the two leaders on Syria was reported to have been reached.[64][65]

Russian intelligence operations[edit]

According to the 2007 reports referring to American sources, Russian espionage under Vladimir Putin had reached Cold War levels.[66]

Mutual perceptions by the countries’ populations[edit]

President Obama greets attendees at the New Economic School graduation in Gostinny Dvor, Moscow, July 7, 2009

A poll by the University of Maryland, College Park, released early July 2009 found that only 2 percent of Russians had "a lot of confidence" that American President Barack Obama would do the right thing in world affairs.[67] Russian media has criticized the United States over the past years for pursuing an anti-missile system in Europe, for favoring NATO expansion and for supporting Georgia in its armed conflict with Russia in 2008.[68]

Prior to 2014, the Russian press expressed varying opinions of Russian-America relations.[69] Russian media treatment of America ranged from doctrinaire[70] and nationalistic[71] to very positive toward the United States and the West.[72][73][74][75] In 2013, 51% of Russians had a favorable view of the U.S., down from 57% in 2010.[76]

The opinion polls taken by the independent Levada Center in January 2015,[77] showed 81 percent of Russians to hold negative views of the US, a number that had nearly doubled over the previous 12 months and that was by far the highest negative rating since the center started tracking those views in 1988, as well as surpassing any time since the Stalin era, according to observers.[78] This contrasts with only 7 percent of Russians in April 1990 who said they had bad or somewhat bad attitudes towards the US.[79] Likewise, the figures published by Gallup in February 2015 showed a significant rise in anti-Russian sentiment in the US: the proportion of Americans who considered Russia as a "critical military threat" had over the 12 months increased from 32 to 49 percent, and, for the first time in many years, Russia topped the list of America’s perceived external enemies, ahead of North Korea, China and Iran, with 18 percent of U.S. residents putting Russia at the top of the list of the "United States’ greatest enemy today".[80] Public opinion polls taken by the Pew Research Center showed that the U.S.'s opinion of Russia is as of 2015, at 22%. While the public opinion of the United States is as of 2015, lower at 15%. The most negative views of Russia was at 19% (2014) and the most positive views at 49% (2010 and 2011).[81] And the most negative views of the United States was at 15% (2015) while the most positive views was at 61% (2002).[82]

Timeline of peace and friendship between the United States and Russia[edit]

This timeline of peace shows the growing relations between the United States and Russia following the end of the Cold War.

  • 1992: Russian President Boris Yeltsin visits the United States on January 26.
  • 1992: Russia attends the Washington Summit on June 16.
  • 1992: The United States and Russia sign an Agreement Concerning Cooperation in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space for Peaceful Purposes on June 17.
  • 1993: U.S. President George H. W. Bush and Russian President Boris Yeltsin sign the START II treaty in Moscow on January 3.[83]
  • 1993: First summit meeting between U.S. President Bill Clinton and Russian President Boris Yeltsin on April 4 in Vancouver, Canada, to discuss a new and expanded $1 billion aid package intended to support Russian democrats and to fund medical supplies, food and grain assistance as well as loans to Russian entrepreneurs.[84]
  • 1993: The United States announces a bilateral aid program of $1.8 billion for Russia and the former Soviet republics on July 9 to 10.
  • 1993: The U.S.-Russian Commission on technical cooperation in energy and space has its first meeting in Washington, D.C. on August 31 to September 2.
  • 1994: U.S. President Bill Clinton and Russian President Boris Yeltsin sign the Kremlin accords on January 14 in Moscow.
  • 1994: First joint U.S.-Russian Space Shuttle mission on February 3.
  • 1994: The United States and Russia move to end the practice of aiming their strategic nuclear missiles at each other on May 30.
  • 1994: Russia joins the Partnership for Peace program on June 22.
Boris Yeltsin and Bill Clinton share a laugh in October 1995.
  • 1995: Russia gives condolences to the United States in the aftermath of the Oklahoma City bombing on April 20.
  • 1995: U.S. President Bill Clinton and Russian President Boris Yeltsin meet in Moscow to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe on May 9.
  • 1995: U.S. President Bill Clinton and Russian President Boris Yeltsin hold a summit on European Security in Moscow on May 9 to May 10.
  • 1995: U.S. Space Shuttle Atlantis successfully docks with Russian space station Mir on June 29.
  • 1995: Russia joins the NATO-led IFOR in the aftermath of the Bosnian War on December 20.
  • 1996: Ratification of START II treaty on January 26.
  • 1996: U.S. President Bill Clinton and Russian President Boris Yeltsin attend the Summit of the Peacemakers in Sharm al-Sheikh, Egypt to condemn the terrorist attacks in Israel and to declare their support for the Middle East peace process on March 14.
  • 1996: U.S. President Bill Clinton attends a Summit on Nuclear Safety and Security with Russian President Boris Yeltsin in Moscow on April 20.
  • 1997: Russia joins the NATO-led Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council to cooperate on political and security issues on January 1.
  • 1997: U.S. President Bill Clinton and Russian President Boris Yeltsin hold another summit on European Security in Helsinki, Finland, on March 21.
  • 1997: Russia attends the NATO summit in Paris, France, on May 27.
  • 1997: The NATO-Russia Founding Act provides the formal basis of bilateral cooperation between the United States, Russia and NATO is signed on May 27.
  • 1997: Russia joins the G8 at the 23rd G8 summit in Denver, Colorado, on June 20 to June 22.
  • 1998: U.S. President Bill Clinton and Russian President Boris Yeltsin agree to exchange information on missile launchings and to remove 50 metric tons of plutonium from their countries' nuclear weapons stocks in a summit in Moscow on September 1 to 2.
  • 1998: Launch of the International Space Station on November 20.
  • 1999: Russia joins the NATO-led KFOR in the aftermath of the Kosovo War on June 12.
  • 1999: U.S. President Bill Clinton and Russian President Boris Yeltsin meet at an Organization for Security Cooperation in Europe Summit Meeting in Istanbul, Turkey, from November 18–19, to discuss arms control, Chechnya and events in Europe. Clinton remarks that the international community does not dispute Russia's right to defend its territorial integrity and to fight terrorism.[85]
Vladimir Putin and wife Lyudmila at service for victims of the September 11 attacks, November 16, 2001.
Donald Rumsfeld with Russian Minister of Defense Sergei Ivanov on March 13, 2002
  • 2005: U.S. airmen take part in the Moscow International Aviation and Space Salon from August 17 to August 21.
  • 2006: U.S. President George W. Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin jointly announced the organization of the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism on July 16
  • 2006: The United States and Russia condemn North Korea's first nuclear launch test on October 6.
  • 2007: Russia offers the United States to put a joint missile defence system in Azerbaijan on June 8.
  • 2008: Russian President Dmitry Medvedev visits the United States for the first time at the 2008 G-20 summit in Washington D.C. from November 14 to November 15.
  • 2009: U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev meet for the first time at the G-20 Summit in London on April 1.
  • 2009: The United States and Russia disapprove the nuclear test by North Korea on May 25.
  • 2009: U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev announce the Obama–Medvedev Commission to improve communication and cooperation between the United States and Russia in Moscow on July 6.
  • 2009: U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen and Russian Chief of the General Staff Nikolay Makarov sign a new strategic framework for military-to-military engagement between the United States and Russia on July 7.
  • 2009: Russia agrees to allow U.S. and NATO troops and supplies to pass through Russia on route to Afghanistan on December 16.
  • 2010: The United States and Russia agree to have a New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty on March 26.
  • 2010: U.S. President Barack Obama gives condolences to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in the aftermath of the Moscow Metro bombings on March 29.
Barack Obama meets with Prime Minister Putin at his dacha outside Moscow, July 7, 2009
  • 2010: U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev sign New START treaty in Prague, Czech Republic, to replace the START I and it will eventually see the reduction of both nations' nuclear arsenals to 1,500 warheads for both the United States and Russia on April 8.
  • 2010: American soldiers participate in the 2010 Moscow Victory Day Parade alongside its European allies and members of the CIS, marking the first time American soldiers have ever participated in the annual event on May 9.
  • 2010: The United States and Russia call for Iran to give up on its nuclear weapons program along with the United Kingdom, France and China on June 9.
  • 2010: The United States and Russia conduct a joint anti-hijacking exercise called Vigilant Eagle-2010 on August 14.
  • 2010: Foreign ministers from the United States, Russia and NATO meet in New York City, New York, to discuss areas of cooperation like Afghanistan, fighting piracy and combatting terrorism as well as ways of enhancing security within Europe on September 22.
  • 2010: American and Russian special forces conduct their first joint operation in Afghanistan and destroy four drug-producing labs that make heroin on October 31.[86]
  • 2010: Russian President Dmitry Medvedev attends the 2010 NATO summit in Lisbon, Portugal, from November 19 to November 20.
  • 2010: The United States, Russia and NATO agree to cooperate on missile defense and other security issues as well as allowing more supplies for the United States and NATO to pass through Russia on route to Afghanistan as well as supplying Afghan armed forces with helicopters on November 20.
  • 2011: U.S. President Barack Obama gives condolences to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in the aftermath of the Domodedovo International Airport bombing on January 24.
  • 2011: The New START treaty is ratified in Munich, Germany, by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on February 5.
  • 2011: Ministers from the United States, Russia and NATO meet in Berlin, Germany to discuss the situation in Libya and Afghanistan, as well as ongoing work on outlining the future framework for missile defence cooperation between the United States, Russia and NATO on April 15.
  • 2011: The United States, Russia and NATO send tools to the Afghan Air Force to help them operate their helicopter fleet more effectively on April 21.
  • 2011: Russia congratulates the United States on the killing of Osama bin Laden on May 2.
  • 2011: American, Russian and NATO Military Chiefs of Defence meet to discuss military operations and cooperation in Brussels, Belgium, on May 4.
  • 2011: The United States, Russia and NATO have their first joint submarine exercise on May 30 to June 10.
  • 2011: American, Russian and NATO defense ministers meet in Brussels, Belgium, to discuss defense issues on June 8.
  • 2011: The United States, Russia and NATO have their first joint fighter jet exercise called Vigilant Skies 2011 from June 6 to June 10.
  • 2011: American, Russian and NATO ambassadors meet in Sochi, Russia, to restate their commitment to pursuing cooperation on missile defence as well as cooperation in other security areas of common interest on July 4.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov shake hands after signing the New START Treaty, Munich, Germany, on February 5, 2011
  • 2011: American, Russian and NATO diplomates meet in New York City, New York, to announce they have made progress in combating terrorism and enhancing Afghan transit on September 22.
  • 2011: American, Russian and NATO experts discuss nuclear doctrine and strategy in Oberammergau, Germany, from October 27 to October 28.
  • 2011: Russia announces it will join the leaders of the United States and NATO at the Chicago Summit in 2012 on November 14.
  • 2011: American, Russian and NATO militaries discuss communication between the militaries in Moscow on November 30.
  • 2011: American and NATO delegations meet with officials and military staff of the Russian Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Defence in Moscow to discuss military cooperation between the United States, Russia and NATO on December 2.
  • 2012: Russian Chief of the General Staff Nikolay Makarov visits American and NATO Allied Command Operations in Mons, Belgium, on January 17.
  • 2012: Russia agrees to host a U.S. and NATO transit hub at Ulyanovsk airport to help the U.S. and NATO withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2014 on March 21.
  • 2012: U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev meet at the 2012 Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul, South Korea, to discuss the increase economic trade between the United States and Russia on March 26.
  • 2012: The United States, Russia and NATO hold missile defense exercises in Ottobrunn, Germany, from March 26 to March 30.
  • 2012: American, Russian and NATO military forces agree to strengthen cooperation to counter piracy in the Horn of Africa on March 27.
  • 2012: American, Russian and NATO ministers discuss bilateral cooperation between the United States, Russia and NATO on April 19.
  • 2012: Russian troops are allowed into the United States for the first time to participate in a joint U.S.-Russia military drill in Colorado on April 25.
  • 2012: Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev attends the 38th G8 summit at Camp David, Maryland, from May 18 to May 19.
  • 2012: Russia joins the United States and NATO at the Chicago Summit on May 20.
  • 2012: U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin meet for the first time at the 7th G-20 meeting in Los Cabos, Mexico, and call for an end to the Syrian civil war on June 18 to 19.
  • 2012: American and Russian navies participate in the RIMPAC 2012 naval exercises from June 29 to August 3.
  • 2012: Russian President Vladimir Putin gives condolences to U.S. President Barack Obama in the aftermath of the Aurora theater shooting on July 21.
  • 2012: Russia joins the WTO and begins trade with the United States on August 22.
  • 2012: The United States and Russia hold joint naval exercises in the Norwegian Sea on August 22.
  • 2012: Russia sends aid to the United States in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy on November 11.
  • 2012: The NATO-Russia Council agrees to increase cooperation between the United States, Russia and NATO on December 4.
  • 2012: American, Russian and NATO military chiefs hold talks on Afghanistan, Ballistic Missile Defence and Syria in Moscow on December 14.
  • 2012: Russian President Vladimir Putin gives condolences to U.S. President Barack Obama in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting on December 15.
  • 2013: American, Russian and NATO military forces perform a counter piracy exercise in the Gulf of Aden on February 26.
  • 2013: Russia supports the United States against North Korea for North Korea building up tensions in the Korean peninsula and for threatening the United States during the crisis with North Korea on April 8.
  • 2013: Russia supports the United States in the investigation and the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings on April 16.
  • 2013: The United States and Russia agree to have an international conference to help end the Syrian civil war on May 8.
  • 2013: The United States and Russia agree to intensify their cooperation in countering terrorism, including information exchange between intelligence organizations and conduct joint counter-terrorist operations as well as signing a cyber security pact to reduce the risk of conflict in cyberspace and signing the New Anti-Proliferation Deal in order to protect, control and account for nuclear materials on June 17 during the 39th G8 summit.
Barack Obama at a bilateral meeting with Vladimir Putin during the G8 summit in Ireland, June 17, 2013.
Putin and Obama shake hands at G8 summit, June 17, 2013
  • 2013: U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin make progress on the discussion of Syria at the end of the 2013 G-20 summit in Saint Petersburg, Russia, on September 6.
  • 2013: U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov meet at the United Nations Office in Geneva, Switzerland, and agree to secure and destroy Syria's chemical weapons on September 14.
  • 2013: The United States, Russia and NATO start the Stand-off Detection of Explosives programme, known as STANDEX to prevent suicide terrorist attacks on October 30.
  • 2013: The United States and Russia along with the United Kingdom, France, China and Germany sign a deal with Iran about their nuclear program in Geneva, Switzerland, on November 27.
  • 2013: The United States and NATO give condolences and support to Russia in the fight against terrorism in response to the bombings in Volgograd on December 29 and 30.
  • 2014: The United States offers full military support to Russia for the Winter Olympics in Sochi on January 20.
  • 2014: The Geneva II Conference is started by the United States and Russia in Montreux, Switzerland, in an attempt to end the Syrian Civil War on January 22 and is continued at the United Nations Office in Geneva, Switzerland, from January 23 to January 31.
  • 2014: The U.S. Olympics team arrives in Sochi, Russia, to participate in the 2014 Winter Olympics on January 30.
  • 2014: The United States, Russia and NATO announce plans to conduct a joint naval operation in the Mediterranean to protect a U.S. ship that will destroy Syria's chemical weapons on February 14.
  • 2014: The United States and Russia along with the European Union and Ukraine meet at the United Nations Office in Geneva, Switzerland, to have talks about the crisis happening in Ukraine and reach an agreement to end the crisis on April 17.
  • 2014: The United States and Russia start sending aid to Iraq to help fight ISIS on June 5.
  • 2014: U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov agree to increase intelligence sharing on ISIS between the United States and Russia in Paris, France on October 14.
  • 2015: The United States and Russia along with members of the European Union and Ukraine welcome the new Minsk agreement to stop the War in Donbass on February 12.
  • 2015: The United States and Russia agree to build a new space station to replace the International Space Station and to make a joint project to travel to Mars on March 28.
  • 2015: The United States and Russia along with the United Kingdom, France, China, Germany, the European Union and Iran reach an agreement on a framework deal concerning Iran's nuclear program on April 2.
  • 2015: U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Sochi, Russia to discuss continuing cooperation between the United States and Russia on international peace and security on May 12.
  • 2015: The United States and Russia along with the United Kingdom, France, China, Germany, the European Union and Iran sign the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action to regulate Iran's nuclear program in Vienna, Austria on July 14.
  • 2015: The United States and Russia reach an agreement on a UN resolution that would designate accountability for use of chemical weapons in Syria on August 6.
  • 2015: The United States and Russia resume military relations to increase fighting against the Islamic State on September 18.
  • 2015: U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin meet at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City to discuss ways to combat the Islamic State on September 28.
  • 2015: U.S. President Barack Obama, Russian President Vladimir Putin and representatives from the United States and Russia meet at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City to discuss the situation in Syria, including ISIS on September 29.
  • 2015: The United States and Russia sign a deal to avoid air incidents over Syria on October 20.
  • 2015: U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin have an informal bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the G-20 Summit in Turkey to discuss the situation in Syria and the ramifications of the Paris attacks on November 15.
  • 2015: The United States, Russia and the United Nations hold three way talks on Syria in Geneva, Switzerland on December 11.
  • 2015: U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Moscow, Russia to discuss the crisis in Syria on December 15.
  • 2015: The United States and Russia, along with the United Nations approve a resolution that supports international efforts to seek a solution to end the Syrian Civil War and provide a new government in Syria in Vienna, Austria on December 18.
  • 2016: The United States and Russia agree to host delegations in Geneva, Switzerland between the Syrian government and the Syrian opposition on January 24.

Space exploration[edit]

The Planetary Society is known to have collaborated with Russia, especially Cosmos 1 and LIFE.

According to the Washington Post NASA recently renewed a contract that requires Russia to aid in transporting U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station. While adding additional support at the Russian launch site, this contract is costing the United States $457.9 million. Along with the renewal NASA has also announced that they will be cutting some contacts with Russia after the country annexed Crimea which includes meetings, and teleconferences. The funding the United States continues to borrow from Russia is due to the lack of funding NASA is receiving from congress.[87]

Economic ties[edit]

The U.S. Congress voted to repeal the Jackson–Vanik amendment on November 16, 2012.[88]

The economic relationship between Russia and the U.S. is unbalanced. Russia is the 20th largest trading partner for the U.S., with $27 billion worth of trade exported across the Atlantic. On the flip-side, the U.S. is Russia's fifth largest partner, with just $11 billion worth of trade.

Military ties[edit]

Following the demise of the Soviet Union, the United States and Russia signed a bilateral treaty called the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START II). Signed by George H. W. Bush and Boris Yeltsin on January 3, 1993, it banned the use of multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles on intercontinental ballistic missiles.

The United States and Russia have conducted joint military maneuvers, training and counter-terrorist exercises in Germany. This was done in hopes to strengthen relations with the United States and Russia.[89] The Russian president has also proposed that the United States and Russia put a joint missile defense system in Azerbaijan, a proposal being considered by the United States.[90] In 2008, in response to tensions over Georgia, the United States had cancelled its most recent joint NATO-Russia military exercises.[citation needed]

As of August 2012, the U.S. and Russia continue to hold joint military exercises like Northern Eagle (held since 2004, together with Norway)[91][92][93] and Vigilant/Watchful Eagle (with Canada)[94] among others, with the aim of improving joint cooperation against terrorism and piracy.

NATO–Russia relations[edit]

Russian-American relations are heavily influenced by the United States' deep involvement with NATO and its policies. NATO and Russia agreed to cooperate on security issues at the 2002 Rome summit and have been gradually improving relations ever since. However, due to the expansion of the alliance, the Russian intervention in Georgia, Russias war campaign against Ukraine and other controversies, relations deteriorated significantly.

As part of the NATO-Russia cooperation the Russian government offered and recently agreed to host a NATO transit hub at Ulyanovsk airport to facilitate the NATO withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2014,[95][96] which drew criticism from the Communist Party.[96]

Joint operations and mutual support[edit]

Presidents Bush and Putin, November 16, 2001.

Russia has expressed support for the United States' War on Terror by deploying a military hospital and a small number of military personnel (for the military hospital) to Afghanistan in order to aid the U.S. Military, NATO military forces and Afghan civilians.[citation needed] Russia has also agreed to provide logistic support for the United States forces in Afghanistan to aid in anti-terrorist operations. Russia has also allowed U.S. and NATO forces to pass through its territory to go to Afghanistan. Russian Spetsnaz have also assisted U.S., NATO and Afghan forces in operations in Afghanistan, by helping with intel and studying the lay of the land.[citation needed] The two nations support each other in combating piracy in the waters of Somalia.[citation needed]

Victory Day celebrations[edit]

On May 9, 2010, the 2nd Battalion of the 18th Infantry Regiment of the U.S. Army marched across Red Square in Russia's Victory Day Parade.[97] They were also joined by British, French and Polish troops as well as detachments from the CIS member states.[97][98] Labeled by Russian president Dmitry Medvedev as the "Anti-Hitler Coalition," it marked the first time in history that NATO troops joined the Russian military in the Victory Parade.[98]

Bering Strait crossing[edit]

The Bering Strait crossing was authorized by Tsar Nicholas II as early as 1906.[99] The Bering Strait is 37 km wide; 3 km wider than the English Channel.[100]

See also[edit]


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Further reading[edit]

  • Ziegler, Charles E. "Russian–American relations: From Tsarism to Putin." International Politics (2014) 51#6 pp: 671-692.

To 1945[edit]

  • Bolkhovitinov, Nikolai N., Elena Levin and L. H. Butterfield, eds. The Beginnings of Russian-American Relations, 1775-1815 (1976)
  • Feis, Herbert. Churchill, Roosevelt, Stalin: the war they waged and the peace they sought (Princeton University Press, 1957), World War II
  • Kennan, George F. Soviet-American Relations, 1917-1920: Volume I, Russia Leaves the War (Princeton University Press, 1956)
  • Kennan, George Frost. Soviet foreign policy, 1917-1941 (Van Nostrand, 1960), Brief summary with documents
  • McNeill, William Hardy. America, Britain, & Russia: their co-operation and conflict, 1941-1946 (1953)
  • Pederson, William D. ed. A Companion to Franklin D. Roosevelt (2011) online pp 564–89, Covers FDR's policies
  • Sainsbury, Keith. The Turning Point: Roosevelt, Stalin, Churchill, and Chiang-Kai-Shek, 1943: the Moscow, Cairo, and Teheran Conferences (Oxford University Press, USA, 1986)

Cold War[edit]

  • English, Robert D. Russia and the Idea of the West: Gorbachev, Intellectuals, and the End of the Cold War (Columbia University Press, 2000)
  • Fenby, Jonathan. Alliance: the inside story of how Roosevelt, Stalin and Churchill won one war and began another (2015)
  • Gaddis, John Lewis. The Cold War: a new history (Penguin, 2006)
  • Gleason, Abbott. Totalitarianism: The inner history of the Cold War (Oxford University Press, 1995)
  • Graebner, Norman A., Richard Dean Burns, and Joseph M. Siracusa. Reagan, Bush, Gorbachev: Revisiting the end of the cold war (Greenwood, 2008)
  • Levering, Ralph B. et al. eds. Debating the Origins of the Cold War: American and Russian Perspectives (2013)
  • Mann, Jim. The Rebellion of Ronald Reagan: A History of the End of the Cold War (Penguin, 2009)
  • Matlock Jr, Jack F. Reagan and Gorbachev: How the cold war ended (2005), Analysis by the American ambassador to Moscow
  • Zubok, Vladislav. Inside the Kremlin’s Cold War: from Stalin to Krushchev (Harvard University Press, 1997)

Since 1991[edit]

  • Ambrosio, Thomas, and Geoffrey Vandrovec. "Mapping the Geopolitics of the Russian Federation: The Federal Assembly Addresses of Putin and Medvedev." Geopolitics (2013) 18#2 pp 435–466.
  • Gvosdev, Nikolas K., and Christopher Marsh. Russian Foreign Policy: Interests, Vectors, and Sectors (Washington: CQ Press, 2013) excerpt and text search
  • Hopf, Ted, ed. Understandings of Russian Foreign Policy (1999)
  • Kanet, Roger E. Russian foreign policy in the 21st century (Palgrave Macmillan, 2010)
  • Larson, Deborah Welch, and Alexei Shevchenko. "Status seekers: Chinese and Russian responses to US primacy." International Security (2010) 34#4 pp 63–95.
  • Legvold, Robert, ed. Russian Foreign Policy in the 21st Century and the Shadow of the Past (2007)
  • Oberdorfer, Don. The Turn: From the Cold War to a New Era: the United States and the Soviet Union, 1983-1990 (1991).
  • * Schoen, Douglas E. and Melik Kaylan. Return to Winter: Russia, China, and the New Cold War Against America (2015)
  • Stent, Angela E. The Limits of Partnership: U.S. Russian Relations in the Twenty-First Century (Princeton UP, 2014) 355 pages; excerpt and text search
  • Tsygankov, Andrei P. "The Russia-NATO mistrust: Ethnophobia and the double expansion to contain “the Russian Bear”." Communist and Post-Communist Studies (2013).

External links[edit]