Research Object: The dynamics of US-Russia relations at the current stage.
Research Purpose: To identify the main features of the political and economic aspects in US-Russia relations under the presidency of B. Obama; to forecast the future development of US-Russia relations in the short, medium and long term; to elaborate the agenda of US-Russian relations that could ensure a sustainable bilateral partnership.
Empirical Base of the Research: Consists of a long range of informational sources and academic literature on the external and defense policy of the USA and on US-Russia relations. In particular, research is based on programme documents on external policy in the US and Russia; official speeches and statements of key external policy figures in the two countries; announcements and communiqués of Russian and US media agencies on different events concerning US-Russian relations; academic papers and other works of Russian and US authors on the current stage of relations between the two countries.
- The key features of US-Russia relations under B. Obama’s presidency have been revealed. US-Russia relations are still held captive to the logic of “negative cycles”, when two to three years of attempts to improve them and build a sustainable, posiitive partnership fail only to be replaced by periods of stagnation, deterioration, and then painful crisis. At present, US-Russia relations are at the frontier of such a cycle, namely at the beginning of a new period of stagnation and a progressive strengthening of negative trends. The process that was underway to gradually improve US-Russia relations in 2009-2010 has finished.
- The current agenda of US-Russia relations has been assessed. It doesn’t correspond to the main trends in the world economy and international affairs, as well as to the challenges Russia and the US face in today's changing world. The agenda is obsolete given that it reflects issues inherited from the period of the Cold War or the 1990s when the international system was structured quite differently.
- The key factors determining the development of US-Russia relations in 2012 have been identified. These factors are the internal political processes in the two countries (especially due to the presidential elections in Russia and the presidential and congressional elections in the US) and the strengthening of mutual disenchantment, which leads to deep pessimism among both countries' political elites as regards to the possibilities of a future sustainable partnership.
- In general, during the last year the share of problems and contradictions in US-Russia relations has significantly increased, while the positive component has somewhat weakened. Nowadays, contradictions are at the heart of the US-Russia agenda, and at the end of 2012, they developed into a mini-crisis caused by the US's adoption of the Magnitsky Act and Russia's retaliatory measures.
- The main goal of US-Russia relations for the near future has been formulated. It consists of improving the political atmosphere of the relations which is necessary to overcome the mini-crisis and for the positive mood of both countries' foreign policy and defense policy leaders to translate into constructive and pragmatic cooperation, without acrimony, at the highest levels of leadership within the US and Russia.
Timothy Colton, Dean of the Government Department at Harvard University; Robert Legvold, Director of Euro-Atlantic Security Initiative; Coit Blacker, Research Fellow of the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University; Steven Krasner, Deputy Director of the Freeman Spogli Institute at Stanford University; Samuel Charap, Associate Director for the Russia and Eurasia Program at American Progress; and Keith Darden, Associate Professor at Yale University.