URI’s Petro Discusses the U.S. Relationship With Russia on GoLocal LIVE

Friday, July 20, 2018


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Nicolai Petro

In the aftermath of President Trump’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, the biggest question remaining for those on both sides of the aisle is what will happen next.

Nicolai Petro, Professor of Political Science at the University of Rhode Island and a foremost scholar in Russian politics, joined GoLocal LIVE via Skype on Thursday from Ukraine to discuss what is next for the relationship between the two countries.

Petro says the rest of the world is not as tuned in to the United States fallout from the meeting, including Trump’s changing stance on the meeting’s outcome.

“They don’t care as much outside the U.S.,” he said. “It’s like baseball.”

He says he was heartened by the initial openness by Trump to improve relations with Russia, seeing it as a step in the right direction for both countries.

Though both the United States and Russia are democracies, Petro believes the largest problem plaguing relations between the countries is public perception of Russia in the United States as a communist nation. In fact, a study he conducted showed numerous candidates using the terms “Russia” and “Soviet Union” interchangeably, although the Soviet Union was dissolved over two decades ago. Petro believes time will be the largest factor in changed perception of Russia, as younger generations become less inclined to conflate modern Russia with its historical communist counterpart.

Petro added that animosity between the United States and Russia has not always been the norm, with Tsar Alexander II providing critical aid to the Union during the Civil War. It was not until the Communist Revolution in the early 1900s that alliances broke down.

“Change will come over time,” Petro said. “Nothing like this happens right away.”


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