200th Anniversary of U.S.-Russia Diplomatic Relations (1807-2007) US Department of State
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The U.S. and Russia: Closer Than We Think

Closer Than We ThinkSeparated by only 55 miles over the Bering Strait, the United States and Russia have been engaged almost from the beginning of the fledgling American democracy. Like the strait itself, however, proximity has offered both great opportunity and, at times, rough waters.

This exhibition celebrates more than 200 years of diplomatic history between these two great nations - from the settlement of Alaska by Russian explorers through expanding frontiers, beyond the suspicions kindled by the Russian Revolution to the alliance of World War II, from the tension and rivalry of the subsequent Cold War era, through detente, on to a rekindling of cooperative relations in the present day.

Closer Than We Think: 200 Years of Russia-U.S. Diplomacy will travel across Russia in 2007 for stops at American Consulate Generals (in St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg and Vladivostok) and some 30 American Corners.

For more information, please contact 200Anniversary@state.gov

Shared Roots

Russian America: Shared Roots

In 1725, Peter the Great commissioned a Danish explorer, Vitus Bering, to discover where Asia ended and North America began. Three years later, Bering sailed through the narrow continent-separating channel that now bears his name. More

Seeds of Diplomacy

Seeds of Diplomacy: "Great & Good Friend "

The 18th century Age of Enlightenment, with its emphasis on applying reason to all areas of human experience and replacing tyranny and tradition with liberty and ethics, had an impact on both countries. More

Advancing Diplomacy

Advancing Diplomacy: Manifest Destinies

The panorama of Alaska was breathtaking but, having depleted the region of fur- producing animals, the Russians were ready to move on to other needs, such as securing a warm-water port. More


Allies: The World War II Era

The totalitarian nature of Joseph Stalin's Soviet regime, combined with the withdrawal of Russia from the World War I alliance, soured relations between the two nations. However, the 1941 invasion of Russia by Nazi Germany made them almost instant allies. The Eastern Front saw the most ferocious fighting and was the deadliest battleground of the Great Patriotic War (World War II), as Russia repelled Nazi advances. More

Cold War

Cold War: Living on the Brink

The United States stopped the carnage of World War II by exploding a deadly new weapon the atomic bomb on Japan, the remaining Axis command. That demonstration of unparalleled U.S. power, combined with Stalin's aggressive post-war takeover of Eastern Europe, ended cooperation and started the Cold War. More

Forging Ties

Forging Ties: Peaceful Co-Existence

Despite the complex political climate the Cold War rivalry engendered, the two superpowers remained connected through a variety of exchanges, both official and those privately initiated by "citizen-diplomats." More

The Space Race

The Space Race: From Competitors to Partners

The Space Race, initiated by the 1957 USSR satellite Sputnik launch, proved itself more than just another competition it triggered an explosion of interest in the heavens and those brave enough to go there. People everywhere followed the launching and retrieval of space capsules sent on increasingly complex missions. Whether cosmonaut or astronaut, the accomplishments of Yuri Gagarin, John Glenn, and others were celebrated. More


Changes: Start of a New Era

Relations took another turn when Mikhail Gorbachev gained power in 1985, incorporating reforms to improve the living standards of the Soviet people. His pragmatism brought about the first nuclear reduction treaty and won him the 1990 Nobel Peace Prize for easing Cold War tensions. More


Parallels: Common Culture and History

The uniqueness of America and Russia as vast, diverse, western nations with close ties to Europe but not directly of it is, perhaps, an explanation of how closely and unexpectedly they connect. More

Cultures Combined

Cultures Combined: Unexpected Results

With common historical roots, though divergent paths, the two peoples share many traits. When famine devastated 1920's Soviet Russia, the American Relief Administration delivered food and medicine over treacherous terrain to 10 million Russians daily; during the 2005 Hurricane Katrina crisis, Russia sent tons of aid to the U.S. disaster area. More

Partners in Peace

Partners in Peace: Diplomacy in the 21st Century

Entering the 21st century, these nations can justly celebrate their relationship, with the president of each, George W. Bush and Vladimir Putin, declaring the other "a strong ally." Both nations, victim of heart-breaking terrorist attacks, have become close collaborators in the battle against extremist violence. More

Exhibit Index: Click on Headline

  • Russian America: Shared Roots
  • Seeds of Diplomacy: "Great & Good Friend"
  • Advancing Diplomacy: Manifest Destinies
  • Allies: The World War II Era
  • Cold War: Living on the Brink
  • Forging Ties: Peaceful Co-Existence
  • The Space Race: from Competitors to Partners
  • Changes: Start of a New Era
  • Parallels: Common Culture and History
  • Cultures Combined: Unexpected Results
  • Partners in Peace: Diplomacy in the 21st Century