NPR

Russia, The Place Where U.S. Presidents Get Their Hopes Dashed

Russian President Vladimir Putin meets President George W. Bush at the G-8 economic summit in Genoa, Italy on July 22, 2001. The leaders initially had a good relationship. But shortly before Bush left office, he told Putin, "Vladimir, you're cold-blooded." Source: Luke Frazza

U.S. presidents have a tradition of entering office and expressing hope for improved relations with Russia. With near perfect symmetry, this is matched by a tradition of presidents leaving office amid friction with Moscow.

Sometimes it takes years for optimism to turn to disillusionment. In the case of President Trump, there are warning signs after just a few months.

"If we could get along with Russia, that's a positive thing," Trump said shortly after his inauguration. "It would be great."

But as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson arrives Tuesday in Moscow, a place where he was feted just a few years ago, the focus will be

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