Donald Trump’s rise to the presidency has redefined many features of US politics, not the least of which has been the nation’s relationship with its former Cold War nemesis. ‘Wouldn’t it be nice,’ Trump asked while campaigning, ‘if we actually got along with Russia?’ This call for stronger Russian–American relations should have been unremarkable, particularly as it echoed a desire for closer cooperation with Moscow voiced by every newly minted US president since George H.W. Bush. Yet since his election Trump’s obsequious praise of Vladimir Putin, along with his brash disclosure of classified information to the Russian foreign minister – and ultimately the omnipresent sense that there is much more still to come on his dealings with the Kremlin – frame today’s rapprochement in very different terms. As the world seeks to make sense of this new political reality, it is hardly surprising that the study of post-Soviet Russia has become a topic of renewed popular interest.
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