Columbia International Affairs Online: Journals

CIAO DATE: 12/2010

U.S.-Russia Relations Chronology

Comparative Connections

A publication of:
Center for Strategic and International Studies

Volume: 11, Issue: 1 (April 2009)


Full Text

Jan. 1, 2009: The Russian government-controlled gas giant Gazprom refuses to offer the Ukrainian government a new contract for gas deliveries. This shutting of gas supplies to Ukraine launches the “Gas War” between Moscow and Kyiv. Jan. 13, 2009: Before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, President-elect Obama’s choice for secretary of state, Hillary Rodham Clinton, criticizes the outgoing Bush administration for having downgraded the role of arms control in Russia policy. Jan. 20, 2009: Barack Obama is sworn in as the 44th president of the United States. Jan. 26, 2009: Russian President Dmitry Medvedev telephones Barack Obama to congratulate him on his swearing in as president. They agree to meet soon. Jan. 26, 2009: In an interview, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin blames George Bush and the U.S. for the Russo-Ukrainian gas war that threatened supplies to Europe over the New Year. Jan. 28, 2009: The Kremlin announces that it is putting on hold plans to deploy medium-range Iskander missiles to Kaliningrad, the Baltic enclave located between Poland and Lithuania. Feb. 4, 2009: The Kyrgyz government announces that it will be closing the NATO airbase at Manas, a vital supply depot for U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan. Feb. 7, 2009: While attending a security conference in Munich, Vice President Joseph Biden suggests that it is time for Washington to press the “reset” button in relations with Moscow. He also signals that the Obama administration is open to compromises with the Kremlin over issues such as missile defense and Iran. Feb. 10, 2009: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announces that Moscow is ready for strategic arms talks with Washington. Feb. 11, 2009: Undersecretary of State William Burns arrives in Moscow to seek Russian cooperation on nuclear arms reduction and the stabilization of Afghanistan. U.S.-Russia Relations 50 April 2009 Feb. 13, 2009: ExxonMobil complains that the Russian government is preventing the firm from continuing to develop a multibillion-dollar project off of Sakhalin Island. Feb. 18, 2009: Japanese Prime Minister Aso Taro visits Sakhalin – the first Japanese leader to do so since the end of the Second World War – to participate in a ceremony marking the opening of an LNG plant that will export gas to Japan. Feb. 19-20, 2009: NATO defense ministers meet in Cracow, Poland. U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates repeats the U.S. intention to “reset” relations with Moscow. Feb. 19, 2009: It is reported that two-way trade between Russian and the U.S. grew 35.3 percent in 2008 to $36.11 billion. Feb. 25, 2009: The U.S. State Department issues its annual report on human rights. The report states that in Russia civil liberties are “under siege, reflecting an erosion of the government’s accountability to its citizens.” Feb. 25, 2009: The agency Rosatom announces that it has completed the construction of Iran’s first nuclear power plant at Bushehr and is launching start-up operations. March 2, 2009: Foreign Minister Lavrov says that Russia is more in favor of new arms control agreements than an extension of the START 1 treaty that is due to expire in December 2009. March 3, 2009: The New York Times reports that President Obama sent a secret letter in February to President Medvedev offering to halt the construction of a missile defense system if Moscow helps suppress Iran’s missile threat. The White House denies the offer of such a deal. March 3, 2009: Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov states Russia will not deploy missiles to Kaliningrad if the U.S. ceases plans to build a missile defense system in Eastern Europe. March 6, 2009: Secretary of State Clinton meets Foreign Minister Lavrov in Geneva, marking the first high-level talks between the two nations in 2009. March 6, 2009: The Kyrgyz Parliament officially approves legislation closing Manas Air Base, a major NATO supply base for Afghanistan. March 10, 2009: In Moscow, President Medvedev meets members of a U.S. commission on Russia policy, chaired by former Sens. Chuck Hagel and Gary Hart. March 19, 2009: In Moscow, former U.S. Secretary of State James Baker gives a speech at a conference organized by the American Chamber of Commerce in Russia. He says that the “stakes are too high” for U.S.-Russia relations to go adrift. March 20, 2009: Henry Kissinger leads a delegation of former U.S. officials to Moscow to meet with President Medvedev and Prime Minister Putin. The group includes former Secretary of State George Shultz and former Senator Sam Nunn. U.S.-Russia Relations 51 April 2009 U.S.-Russia Relations 52 April 2009 March 24, 2009: The Czech government suspends the ratification of its agreement with the U.S. on the deployment of a missile tracking radar. March 27, 2009: Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry delivers a speech entitled, “A New Partnership for a New Moment in U.S.-Russian Relations.” March 27, 2009: The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) convenes in Moscow to discuss the situation in Afghanistan. Both Iran and the U.S. send representation. April 1, 2009: In London, President Obama meets President Medvedev for the first time ahead of a G20 summit to address the global economic crisis. April 1, 2009: Russia starts exporting liquefied natural gas from Sakhalin. April 3, 2009: NATO holds its 60th anniversary celebration at a summit in Strasbourg, France.