Don’t Call It a Cold War: Findings from the Russian-American Relations Survey

Russian-American relations seem to be worsening with every year. After an attempted “reset” under U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev exhausted itself, a steady stream of events has kept tensions on a high burn. Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea. American economic sanctions on Russia. Russian countersanctions. Accusations of Russian “meddling” in the 2016 election of Donald Trump and the theft of COVID-19 vaccine research. Spy scandals. Mass expulsions of large numbers of embassy personnel. The list goes on.

At the same time, we find considerable hope for an eventual improvement in relations coming from the U.S. and Russian populations. While neither side appears willing to give in on some of the most important flash points, we at least do detect more underlying popular willingness to seek ways to avoid conflict and improve relations than may appear to be the case if one watches the news regularly in either country.

This report presents the results of a survey conducted by Henry Hale and Olga Kamenchuk simultaneously in both Russia and the United States in 2019 on these countries’ mutual relations.

 

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