"Russia's future fundamentally is in the hands of the Russian people. It cannot be determined by others and it should not be. But Russia's future is very important to others, because it is among the most important journeys the world will witness in my lifetime. A great deal of the 21st century will be strongly influenced by the success of the Russian people in building a modern, strong, democratic nation that is part of the life of the rest of the world."

President Clinton
Remarks to the Russian State Duma
June 5, 2000

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the United States acted quickly to seize the historic opportunity to end fifty years of global superpower competition. With strong U.S. support, Russia has begun an unprecedented transition to democracy and free markets, undergoing fundamental changes in its political, economic and social life with virtually no bloodshed. Changes in Russia have also had an impact on the Eurasian political landscape, as 12 New Independent States emerged, the Warsaw Pact quietly disbanded and Central European countries finally emerged from Moscow's shadow. But the Soviet system's collapse created new challenges, as rigidity gave way to laxness, a monolith gave way to near-anarchy - too many rules were replaced by too few. There were fears that Russia itself might break up; that nationalist or communist extremists would seize power; that regional conflicts in the New Independent States would spread and grow. President Clinton responded to these challenges by increasing U.S. support for democracy, the rule of law and grassroots entrepreneurship in Russia, while working steadily to help dismantle Russia's nuclear arsenal and other weapons of mass destruction. President Clinton's direct engagement with the Russian leadership was central to achievements such as withdrawing Russian troops from the Baltics, securing Russian cooperation in peacekeeping missions in the Balkans and reducing nuclear dangers. Vice President Gore's U.S.-Russia Commission on Economic and Technological Cooperation served as a focal point for supporting Russia's unprecedented transformation and managing key areas of the U.S.-Russian relationship. Russia's transformation will take decades to complete, with inevitable disappointments along the way. But while Russia's future is not ours to chart - that task belongs to the Russians - the United States has a stake in Russia's success as a democratic, market-oriented and peaceful state. President Clinton has been deeply committed to strong U.S. support for Russia's historic transformation and deepened engagement with the Russian government and people.


Strengthening U.S.-Russia Cooperation and Reducing Threats to Americans

Promoting Democracy and Human Rights in Russia

Supporting Russia's Transition from Communism to Free Markets

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