Today, American-Russian relations, and Russia¿s relations with West more generally, are tense and confrontational. One has to look deep into the Cold War to find a similar era of confrontation and competition. Yet, relations between Russia and the West were not always this way. The end of the Cold War, for instance, ushered in a period of cooperation. Back then, many believed that Russia was going to develop democratic and market institutions and integrate into Western international institutions. This seminar will examine various explanations for these variations in Russia¿s relations with the West, starting in the 19th century, and briefly examining the Cold War period, but a real focus on the last thirty years. In evaluating competing explanations. the course will focus on balance of power theories, culture, historical legacies, institutional design, and individual actors in both the United States (and sometimes Europe) and Russia.