When Barack Obama entered the presidential office in January 2009 the relations between the United States and the Russian Federation were at their worst since the end of the Cold War. The deterioration of relations between the two countries was partly caused by the 2008 Georgia-Russia crisis, in which Washington sided with the government in Tbilisi – but this issue was not the sole cause of the increasingly troublesome relations. As early as February 2009, Vice President Joe Biden claimed that the U.S. and Russia needed to push a “reset button” on their mutual relation. His words were the harbinger of a new policy posture towards Russia initiated by the Obama administration, which aimed to ameliorate the American relationship with Moscow. However, the so-called ‘reset’ brought debatable outcomes and little achievements. Some critics consider the policy a complete failure, while the Obama administration pinpoints to its alleged successes.
Symbolic reset. On 6 March 2009 in Geneva, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton presented Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov with a red button with the English word “reset” and the Roman alphabet transliteration of the Russian Cyrillic alphabet word перегрузка (“peregruzka”.)
 Whitlock, Craig, “Reset Sought on Relations with Russia, Biden Says”, Washington Post, February 8, 2009. Available at (accessed December 29, 2012).
 For example, former U.S. ambassador to the UN John Bolton or Presidential candidate John McCain spoke out strongly against Obama’s ‘reset’. See: The Lithuania Tribune, “J. McCain: ‘Reset’ policy was a total failure”, May 8, 2012. Available at (accessed December 29, 2012) and Kavkaz Center, “John Bolton: Obama’s policy of ‘reset’ with Russia completely failed”, August 5, 2011. Available at (accessed December 29, 2012).
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