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Navigating U.S.-Russia Relations

If peaceful and more cooperative relations are to be restored between the two countries, a significant change in the status quo is required.

Grant Info

Grant Details

The United States’ increased tensions with the Russian Federation have created a climate of mistrust and renewed military competition. The United States has been increasing military deployments to Europe, developing new conventional and nuclear weapons, and wielding economic sanctions in response to Russia’s invasion of Crimea in 2014. Recent strain over Russia’s more aggressive actions such as meddling in the 2016 elections, the violation of arms treaties, and Russian assassination campaigns both in and outside its own sovereign territory have only deepened the competitive spiral between the two nations. At the same time, the United States and Russia share interests in preventing terrorism in the Middle East, addressing nonproliferation and nuclear arms control, promoting stability in Eurasia, and hedging against a rising China. Importantly, Russia has a small economy — roughly the size of South Korea — and spends a small fraction of what the U.S. spends on its military. If peaceful and more cooperative relations are to be restored between the two countries, a significant change in the status quo is required. As such, Stand Together Trust is soliciting proposals which:

  • Examine ways the United States and Russia can ease tensions and avoid unnecessary conflict, including examining the right balance of diplomatic and economic engagement with military deterrence.
  • Research the future of arms control, particularly New Start, and explore other ways to moderate conventional and nuclear arms racing.
  • Examine the costs and benefits of NATO membership for states on NATO’s periphery such as Ukraine and Georgia, and explore alternatives to NATO enlargement in Eastern Europe.
  • Examine the relative power and threat of the Russian military to the interests of the United States.
  • Examine Russia’s role in the Middle East, especially ways to deconflict U.S. and Russian forces in the region and cooperate on issues of shared interest.
  • Examine options for structuring U.S./NATO military forces that limit the risk of confrontation or escalation with Russia.
  • Explore the implications of improved U.S.-Russian relations for European alliances and/or institutions.
  • Examine ways for Russia and the United States to cooperate on transnational security challenges, particularly nuclear nonproliferation and terrorism.
  • Explore Russia’s role in stabilizing Afghanistan and issues of common interest with the United States.

We are open to other research proposals that fit these general themes.

Grant Criteria

  • A one-to-two-page abstract of the project on behalf of your university, college, think tank, or other 501(c)(3) organization. The abstract should provide sufficient detail for reviewers to assess the nature and feasibility of the idea.*
  • A CV or résumé.*
  • A brief, itemized budget.*
  • Final projects should be original and meet the highest standards of their field, and must not have been previously published.

*Items are required in application.


Funding levels are commensurate with the requirements of the research and the potential for the research to advance an understanding of critical issues. Accepted proposals may also receive support to disseminate the research findings.