Fri May 29 2015 1:49:08 +0200 CEST

Russia - United States Policy Toward Russia: a Dossier

What is a Dossier?

Via the dossiers, we try to highlight the priorities of the US Government with regard to specific foreign policy policy issues. We provide statements by U.S. public officials, but also reports, hearings, and journal articles.
President Obama meets with President Medvedev of Russia (AP Photo/Ch. Dharapak)

"We'll continue to advance our relationship with Russia, which is essential to making progress on a host of challenges -- from enforcing strong sanctions on Iran to preventing nuclear weapons from falling into the hands of terrorists.  And this treaty will enhance our leadership to stop the spread of nuclear weapons and seek the peace of a world without them." President Obama – 12/22/10

"We obviously still have some differences and we’re clear about our differences as well. At the OSCE summit we had a significant difference over the question of Georgia and other unresolved conflicts, but we are expressing them frankly, and believe that in the long run the U.S. and Russia and Russia and Europe have so many common interests that we are and should be partners." (Briefing by Assistant Secretary Gordon, 12/07/10

US Government Information: 
Non-US Government Information: 

Assessing the reset: successes and failures in the Obama administration's Russia policy, 2009–2012. Ruth Deyermonda, European Security, 2013, var. pp. Critics of the Obama administration's ‘reset’ with Russia claim that it has failed to improve bilateral relations and has conceded too much to Russia at the expense of American interests. In fact, the reset has delivered significant improvements in key areas and established the institutional basis for continued cooperation in the future, benefiting both states. Although disagreements remain on several important issues including missile defence, humanitarian intervention, and democracy, the reset has been broadly successful on its own terms, which were always limited in scope and based on a pragmatic recognition of the limits of possible cooperation. Future progress is uncertain, however – obstacles include differences of national interest; the complicating effects of relations with third party states and the impact of domestic politics. A continuation of the pragmatic approach underpinning the reset represents the best chance for stability in the US–Russia relationship. READ MORE The Russian Far East: Opportunities and Challenges for Russia's Window on the Pacific. Lee Rensselaer, Orbis, Spring 2013, pp. 314–324. "Moscow recently has made development of its isolated eastern territories, especially the Russian Far East (RFE) a high national priority, and the success—or failure—of these efforts will have significant security implications for the Asia-Pacific community. The region's vast size, rich resource base and proximity to ambitious Asia-Pacific powers accentuate its strategic importance, which seems likely to grow with time. How regional geopolitics interacts with Russian national policies will affect the RFE's course of development as well as the power balance in northeast Asia. The United States has an historical and security interest in preventing the domination of the RFE by any outside nation, and in fostering stability, open access, and growth in this vital region." READ MORERussia, Syria and the Doctrine of Intervention. Samuel Charap, Survival, Feb/March 2013, pp. 35-41. "Since the beginning of the Syrian crisis, there have been intermittent hopes that Moscow might play a constructive diplomatic role in resolving it. But the focus on Russia has been deeply misleading. Russia, for reasons that have little to do with Syria itself, was never going to be part of the solution to the crisis – at least on terms that the West and the Syrian opposition could accept. Further, Russia’s centrality to international diplomacy on this issue and its seeming obstinacy expose deep flaws in post-Cold War Western doctrine on international intervention. Russia’s centrality when it comes to Syria is more a function of those flaws than anything else." READ MORE The Russian Evolution. Katrina Vanden Heuvel, Nation, Jan. 9, 2012, pp. 3-6. “The article discusses protests that broke out in Moscow, Russia in protest to alleged fraud in Russia's parliamentary elections of December 4, 2011. It comments on claims of voting abuses against Russia's United Russia Party. The author reflects on the growth of civic activism in Russia, noting the role of the Internet and television in politics. Other topics include the Russian nationalist movement, the opposition of the Russian Communist Party, and the popularity of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.” READ MORE Russian Foreign Policy: Continuity in Change. Andrew C. Kuchins, Igor A. Zevelev, Washington Quarterly; Winter 2012, pp. 147-161. “The article offers information about Russian foreign policy after the return of Russian politician Vladimir Putin to the presidency in 2012. It examines the major political groups in the country including the pro-Western liberals, the great power balancers, and the nationalists. The article also discusses foreign relations between Russia and the United States, the views of Russian politicians about its dominance in global politics, and the Georgia War. It is suggested that Putin's return to lead Russia will not significantly change foreign policy in the country.” READ MORE The vertikal: power and authority in Russia, Andrew Monaghan, January 2012, pp. 1–16. “Power and authority in Russia are traditionally seen to reside with the president. Such an understanding was emphasized during the eight years of Vladimir Putin's presidency, from 2000 to 2008, as he sought to centralize power, strengthen the state and establish a strong vertical of power to implement policy. This article examines the nature of this power and authority in the light of the tandem, the ruling arrangement between current President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Putin. While acknowledging the central importance of Vladimir Putin in Russian political life, the article argues that emphasis on his role draws too much attention away from the leadership team that he has shaped with Medvedev. This team takes shape in formal institutional structures such as the Security Council, which has become an increasingly important group as a reservoir of experience and authority. It also takes shape in an informal network that stretches across state and business boundaries. Although there are some tensions in the network, this team ensures broad policy continuity. Furthermore, the article questions Putin's success in establishing a vertical of power, and the authority of both President Medvedev and Prime Minister Putin.” READ MORE The European Union, Russia, and the Future of the Transnistrian Frozen Conflict. Theodor Tudoroiu, East European Politics & Societies, February 2012, pp. 135-161. “In recent years, increased European Union interest in its eastern "neighborhood" has been hailed as a possible solution of the Transnistrian frozen conflict. The fall of the communist authoritarian regime of Chisinau and the internal crisis of the Smirnov regime in Tiraspol also modified the conditions of the nineteen-year conflict. However, the European involvement in Moldova is perceived by the Kremlin as an intrusion in its own domaine reserve. Moreover, the 2008 war in South Ossetia illustrates Russia's return to the early 1990s policy of overt instrumentalization of the post-Soviet frozen conflicts. This volatile situation is analyzed in order to predict the future evolution of the Transnistrian conflict in the larger context of the developing regional rivalry between Brussels and Moscow.” READ MORE Russia's economic agenda to 2020. Sergey Aleksashenko, International Affairs, Jan. 2012, pp. 31-48. “Since the disintegration of the Soviet Union the role of Russia in international relations has been in flux--a reflection of its changing capacities, positions and interests. To a certain extent, this variability has been defined by the Russian economy, which in the 1990s passed through a stage of deep structural transformation and severe financial crisis, but which then benefited from a period of fast and mainly stable economic growth in the first years of the twenty-first century. Now, the serious economic decline as a result of the global crisis of 2008-2009 has been replaced by an unstable and uncertain recovery.” READ MORE EU, Russia, CIS: The Demographic Dimension. Ye Kozhokin, International Affairs, November 2011, pp. 6-22. “The relationship between the Commonwealth of Independent States, Russia and the European Union are examined. The issues surrounding immigration and demographics are a specific focus.” READ MOREEverything You Think You Know About the Collapse of the Soviet Union Is Wrong, And why it matters today in a new age of revolution.  Foreign Policy, Summer 2011, var. pages. "Every revolution is a surprise. Still, the latest Russian Revolution must be counted among the greatest of surprises. In the years leading up to 1991, virtually no Western expert, scholar, official, or politician foresaw the impending collapse of the Soviet Union, and with it one-party dictatorship, the state-owned economy, and the Kremlin's control over its domestic and Eastern European empires. Neither, with one exception, did Soviet dissidents nor, judging by their memoirs, future revolutionaries themselves. When Mikhail Gorbachev became general secretary of the Communist Party in March 1985, none of his contemporaries anticipated a revolutionary crisis. Although there were disagreements over the size and depth of the Soviet system's problems, no one thought them to be life-threatening, at least not anytime soon." READ MOREObama's Russia 'Reset' Another Lost Opportunity? Stephen F. Cohen, The Nation, June 20, 2011, var, pages. "The author discusses the political challenges of putting Obama's Russia 'reset' into practice. An enduring existential reality has been lost in Washington's post–cold war illusions and the fog of subsequent US wars: the road to American national security still runs through Moscow." READ MORE

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