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US–Russia Relations: Past, Present and the Prospects for Improvement

Author: Muhammad Lutfi Türkcan

Affiliation: TRT World Research Centre

Organization/Publisher: TRT World Research Centre

Date/Place: August 9, 2021/Istanbul, Turkey

Type of Literature: Foreign Policy Outlook

Number of Pages: 7


Keywords: Security Interests, Containment, Cyber Attacks, NATO Enlargement


The flare in tensions between Russia and the US in April 2021 illustrates the profound distrust infecting their relations, as both deem each other’s foreign policy as a potential threat. The apparent American disregard for Russian interests in the post-Cold War era along with sanctions, NATO expansion and US interventions from Kosovo to Iraq have been the cause of worry that the US seeks to contain Russia and curb its power. On the other hand, as the Biden Administration seeks to reinvigorate US global leadership, Russian cyber attacks, military activities and election interference are seen as threats to American interests and global status. In addition, Russian-Chinese rapprochement and their opposition to the US on the Security Council could pose a challenge to America’s global status. A nuanced understanding of Russia’s security perception is that it is threatened by the US-centrality of the NATO expansion, and the subversive threat of “Western culture” is also a cause of worry on a social level. In short, disregard for Russian security interests and attempts of pressuring on the issues of human rights and democratic values will cause a backlash. The current nature of US-Russian relations will definitely slow down attempts of improvement. Trust has to be built first.


By: Omar Fili, CIGA Research Assistant



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