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US Sanctions Policy Toward Russia Under Barack Obama and Donald Trump: Comparative Analysis

Student: Sergey Lavrov

Supervisor: Dmitry Novikov

Faculty: Faculty of World Economy and International Affairs

Educational Programme: Double degree programme in International Relations of the NRU HSE and the University of London (Bachelor)

Year of Graduation: 2021

The purpose of this research paper is to identify both the underlying and more pronounced reasons for the established US approach to the Russian Federation during the presidential administrations under Barack Obama and Donald Trump, respectively. Through a thorough examination of sanctions as a foreign policy tool, as well as a multidimensional theoretical interpretation and critical evaluation of available data on the topic, it intends to examine the evolution of the US approach to Russia over the designated period and to conduct a comparative analysis of the foreign policy approaches of the mentioned presidents. Methods used to achieve this goal include a critical review of primary and secondary sources (including opinion polls), computational sentiment analysis of presidential rhetoric, and, most notably, game-theoretic modeling of interactions between the two states. By presenting a predictive quantitative model, this paper seeks to reduce the level of unpredictability in interactions between the two great powers, to deepen contemporary understanding of the causal basis of the growing US pressure on Russia, and to draw valid conclusions about the reasons why the two US administrations under question pursued their foreign policy strategies using the sanctions toolkit.

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