The Russian Aid Mess

The perception exists that aid to Russia and Ukraine has not met expectations. Looking back, it is increasingly evident that there was no way the program could have done so.

Issue: Winter 1994-1995

The well-intentioned effort to use United States tax dollars to influence significantly the course of events in Russia and Ukraine died a quiet death over the past few months. Born in 1991 as a $400 million bipartisan congressional initiative to reduce the threat from excess Soviet weapons of mass destruction, by 1993 aid to Russia and Ukraine had become a $3 billion hobby shop. When Presidents Clinton and Yeltsin met in September 1994, with few concrete results to show for the time and money invested in aid, the two frustrated leaders quietly agreed to focus on trade and investment. The Russians, badly cast as supplicants, were relieved.

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