U.S.-Russia relations have improved dramatically since hitting rock bottom three years ago. Yet several of thesources of tension that precipitated that downturn remain unaddressed. Among them, the nature of the United States’ and Russia’s relationships with the countries of post-Soviet Eurasia—the eleven former Soviet republics besides Russia that are not NATO or EU member-states—is perhaps the most long-standing, and the one seemingly least prone to resolution.
This study is the frst to examine this issue in detail. It concludes that the assumption guiding much strategic thought about post-Soviet Eurasia in Moscow and Washington—that the differences between the two regarding the region are fundamental and therefore irreconcilable—is false. Indeed, the persistence of the zero-sum dynamic between the two countries regarding the region is highly contingent; it cannot be accounted for by immutable factors inherent to either of them or the international system. Whatever its source, not onlyhas this dynamic been a key driver of past downturns in the bilateral relationship, but it has also done seriousdamage to the development of the independent states of post-Soviet Eurasia themselves.
The above excerpt was originally published in Working Group on the Future of U.S.-Russia Relations.
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