The success of this wide range of programs reveals an important point — both Russian and U.S. citizens have many reasons to cooperate with each other. According to the U.S. Embassy, there is nearly $10 billion in U.S. investment in Russia, while Russian Embassy reports put Russian direct investment in the United States at around $8 billion.
Past responses of the U.S. government to these frozen conflicts have centered on non-recognition policy, foreign aid, people-to-people diplomacy, establishment of international forums and sanctions. In the framework of its policy of "engagement without recognition" in Georgia's and Azerbaijan's separatist territories, Washington has pursued public diplomacy and people-to-people initiatives to counter their isolation.
While educational exchanges between the U.S. and Russia have suffered from the deterioration in bilateral relations, there are still some successful programs that are finding innovative ways to foster collaboration.
The closure of the American Center in Moscow is just the latest step taken by the Kremlin to crack down on U.S. public diplomacy initiatives within Russia and ratchet up anti-Western sentiment.[...] As Ambassador Tefft suggests, the move marks the culmination of a decades-long process of undermining U.S. cultural influence in Russia that emerged in the wake of the post-perestroika euphoria and belief in the rosy future of Russian-U.S. relations.
In the increasingly frigid environment of U.S.-Russia relations, much attention is given to what may be seen as Russia's strategic "interests." [...] Of at least equal significance for understanding Russian attitudes, however, is a grasp of the values, the moral framework for Russia's foreign policy.