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Its Complicated, US-Russia Relationship Status: Hopes for defrosting relations as Biden and Putin meet

Expectations are low but the stakes are certainly high.

Presidents Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin will meet in a historic summit on Wednesday as the U.S. and Russia strive for ways to move the unstable relationship between the two countries from hostility.

Both Presidents are completely aware of the tension between the two global powers in years, evidenced by a web of punitive sanctions against Russia, diplomatic expulsions, and frequently repeated grievances over anti-democratic meddling and cyberattacks.

The Biden administration hopes merely to foster a more “stable and predictable relationship” with Russia. For Putin, the summit in Geneva will be all about demonstrating that his country is taken seriously as an international power.

“Perhaps the most important thing for Moscow is to make the relations pragmatic. What they are counting on is convincing Biden that our countries must learn to take into account the interests of each other and recognize certain privileges for one another.”

Tatyana Stanovaya, a scholar at the Carnegie Moscow Center, told CBS News.

Both sides have downplayed expectations for the summit and said they expect no breakthroughs. The plan for the leaders to hold their own solo news conferences and issue only unilateral statements after the meeting — a stark difference from summits Putin has held with U.S. leaders since he took office in 2000 — is telling.

But while expectations are low, the stakes are certainly high.

Palwasha Khattak
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