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This page deals with the relations between the Russian Federation and the United States since 1992. For the relations between the Russian Empire and the United States (1776–1917), see Russian Empire – United States relations. For the relations between the Soviet Union and the United States (1917–1991), see Soviet Union – United States relations. For the late 20th century tensions, see Cold War

The history of the relations between the Russian Federationmarker and the United Statesmarker starts with the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

Country comparison

United States Russian Federation
Population 307,721,000 142,008,838
Area 9,826,630 km² (3,794,066 sq mi) 17,075,400 km² (6,592,800 sq mi )
Population Density 31/km² (80/sq mi) 8.3/km² (21.5/sq mi)
Capital Washington, D.C.marker Moscowmarker
Largest City New York Citymarker - 8,363,710 (19,006,798 Metro) Moscowmarker - 10,524,400 (14,837,510 Metro)
Government Federal presidential constitutional republic Federal semi-presidential republic
Official languages English (de facto) Russian
Main religions 75% Christianity, 20% non-Religious, 2% Judaism, 1% Buddhism, 1% Islam 63% Russian Orthodox, 16% non-Religous, 12% Agnostic, 6% Islam, 1% Buddhism, 1% Roman Catholic, 1% Protestant, 1% Judaism,
Ethnic groups 74% White American, 14.8% Hispanic and Latino American (of any race), 13.4% African American, 6.5% Some other race, 4.4% Asian American, 2.0% Two or more races, 0.68% Native American or Native Alaskan, 0.14% Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander 79.8% Russian, 10.4% other, 3.8% Tatars, 2% Ukrainians, 1.2% Bashkirs, 1.1% Chuvash, 0.9% Chechen, 0.8% Armenians
GDP (nominal) $14.441 trillion ($47,440 per capita) $1.676 trillion ($11,807 per capita)
Military expenditures $663.7 billion (FY 2010) $39.6 billion (FY 2009)

End of the Cold War

In the late 1980s, Eastern European nations took advantage of the relaxation of Sovietmarker control under Mikhail Gorbachev and began to break away from communist rule. On July 31, 1991, the START I treaty cutting back nuclear warheads was signed by Gorbachev and U.S. president George H.W. Bush. In December 1991, the Soviet Union collapsed and the Commonwealth of Independent States was formed. With the ending of Communism, relations between Russia and the United States warmed rapidly.

Post-Cold War era

The aggressive privatization/free market reforms implemented by Russian President Boris Yeltsin during the 1990s were strongly encouraged and supported by the U.S. administrations of George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton, and by American economists and corporations. However, the reforms, known as "shock therapy", produced a major economic crisis in Russia, resulting in skyrocketing poverty, and the rise of corrupt "oligarchs" who amassed power and tremendous wealth after acquiring control of the former Soviet state industries. Public order and stability deteriorated greatly.

In regard to international affairs, Russia largely stayed on the sidelines during this period. Although lending tacit support to its historical ally, Serbiamarker, Russia stood aside and did not attempt to block the 1999 Kosovo War in Serbia, even though both Russia and China had strongly condemned it.

During the presidencies of Vladimir Putin and George W. Bush, the U.S. and Russia began to have more serious disagreements. Under Putin, Russia became more assertive in international affairs than it had been under his predecessor; under Bush, the U.S. took an increasingly unilateral course in its foreign policy, particularly in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks.

In 2002, Bush withdrew the United States 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 U.S. invasion of Iraq, though without exercising its veto in the United Nations Security Council. Russia has regarded the expansion of NATOmarker 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.

Officials in the United States expressed concern over their perception of Putin's increasingly authoritarian rule and reversal of democratic reforms, human rights violations in Chechnyamarker, suppression of free speech, alleged murder of political dissidents, attacks on journalists in Russia, and support for highly authoritarian regimes in other former Soviet republics.

Moscow has also been accused of using its natural gas resources to blackmail neighboring countries like Ukrainemarker and Georgiamarker to gain concessions on matters of concern to the Kremlin.

Despite US-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 US-Russia relations. The statement also called on Iranmarker to abandon its nuclear program and to permit foreign inspectors into the country.

Post-Cold War increase of tensions

U.S. plan to place missiles in Poland

In March 2007, the U.S. announced plans to build an anti-ballistic missile defense installation in Polandmarker along with a radar station in the Czech Republicmarker. Both nations were former Warsaw Pact members. American officials said that the system was intended to protect the United States and Europe from possible nuclear missile attacks by Iranmarker or North Koreamarker. 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. Russian president 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. builds the missile defense system, Russia would consider targeting missiles at Poland and the Czech Republic..

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." On 17 October 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. 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.

On 14 February 2008, Vladimir Putin again announced that Russia might have to retarget some of its rockets towards the missile defense system, claiming that "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,"

On 8 July 2008, Russia announced that if a US anti-missile shield is deployed near the Russian border, they will react militarily. The statement from the Russian foreign ministry said "If a US 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 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.

On 14 August 2008, the United States and Polandmarker 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 US from a possible missile attack by Iranmarker. In return, the US agreed to move a battery of MIM-104 Patriot missiles to Poland. The missile battery would be staffed - at least temporarily - by US Military personnel. The US also pledged to defend Poland - a NATOmarker 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. 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

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

On September 17, 2009, U.S. President Barack Obama announced that the plans for the U.S. missile shield in Europe were to be scrapped immediately, a move that received lukewarmly by the Russian government, with further demands from Russia expected.

Russian-Georgian clash

In August 2008, American-Russian relations were strained, when Georgia invaded South Ossetiamarker, resulting in Russiamarker intervening and invading Georgia. Russia claimed that it was a mission to protect Georgian separatist regions of South Ossetia and Abkhaziamarker from a Georgian military offensive. However, Russian military forces didn't stop in these regions and continued towards the Georgian capital. The United States chose to support Georgia in the conflict, sending humanitarian aid to Georgia and assisted with the withdrawal of Georgian troops from Iraq.

Georgian government official have acknowledged that it was Georgia that started the war, and some have also stated that Georgia commenced hostilities with prior approval from Washington. During a hearing by a Commission of the Parliament of Georgia, President Mikhail Saakashvili acknowledged that he had initiated the war. Further, Erosi Kitsmarishvili, Georgia's former ambassador to Moscow and a confidant of President Saakashvili, testified that Georgian officials told him in April 2008 that they planned to start a war in Abkhazia, one of two breakaway regions at issue in the war, and had received a green light to start the fighting from the United States government. He said the Georgian government later decided to start the war in South Ossetia, the other region, and then to continue into Abkhazia.

After the conflict American 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."

Russian-Venezuelan military cooperation

On November 25, 2008, a Russian naval fleet arrived in Venezuela, a country the United States considers to be part of its sphere of influence. Russian war ships- including "Peter the Greatmarker", 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 heightened tensions between Russia and the United States. 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

On May 25, 2009, North Korea's new nuclear test has shocked North Korea's bilateral relations with China and Russia. Russia responded to this new nuclear program by condemning North Korea's move and that it could lead to a nuclear war. North Korea later threatened to attack its neighboring rival South Koreamarker 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 (Chinamarker, Francemarker, Russiamarker, United Kingdommarker, and the United Statesmarker) were ready to have a meeting to make a new resolution to this nuclear strike. On June 15, 2009, China and Russia have both supported the new UN sanctions on North Korea.

Perception of the United States within Russia

A poll by the University of Maryland, College Parkmarker released early July 2009 found 75 percent of Russians believed the United States abused its greater power and only two percent had "a lot of confidence" American President Barack Obama would do the right thing in world affairs. Russia's state-controlled media have 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.

Timeline of peace between the US and Russia

This timeline of peace shows the growing relations between Russia and the United States following the end of the Cold War.
  • 1992 Yeltsin visits the United States.
  • 1992 Russia attends the Washington Summit.
  • 1994 First joint US-Russian Space Shuttle mission.
  • 1996 Ratification of START 2 treaty.
  • 1998 Launch of International Space Station.
  • 2002 US president George W Bush and Russian president Vladimir Putin meet in Moscow and sign a treaty on strategic offensive reductions and declaration on a new strategic relationship.
  • 2007 Russia offers The United States to put missile defences on Azerbaijanmarker.
  • 2009 Russia agrees to allow NATO supplies to pass through Russia on the route to Afghanistanmarker.

Economic ties

On November 7, 2008 General Motors opened a car manufacturing plant in St Petersburgmarker, Russia; which is creating jobs for Russians. John Beyrle, the US ambassador to the Russian Federation, has made a statement (and quoted) "This plant brings together American investment and the newest American automotive innovations and technologies with the best Russian engineering talent. – a powerful combination". American investment has been growing at a rate of fifty percent a year. Two-way trade between Russia and the United States now exceeds $26 billion, and two-way investment is approaching $20 billion. We believe this investment will continue to grow, benefiting the people of this region and adding to the prosperity of both Russia and the United States.

Military ties

The United States and Russia have conducted joint military maneuvers, training and counter terrorist exercises in Germanymarker. This was done in hopes to strengthen relations with the United States and Russia. The Russian president has also proposed that the United States and Russia put a joint missile defense system in Azerbaijanmarker, a proposal being considered by the US. More recently, in response to tensions over Georgiamarker, the United States has cancelled its most recent joint NATOmarker- Russia military exercises .

Joint operations

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, allied military forces and Afghan civilians.

Bering Strait crossing

The Bering Strait crossingmarker was authorized by Tsar Nicholas II as early as 1906. The Bering Strait is 37 km wide, wider than the English Channel, which is 34 km wide.


External links

See also

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