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It was with deep sorrow that we received the news that Robert E. Berls Jr., Senior Advisor for Russia and Eurasia at the Nuclear Threat Initiative, passed away.

Robert Berls was among those few American experts who truly excel at Russia. He dedicated 26 years of his life to the service in the U.S. Air Force, including as Air Attaché at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow. While he held various positions in a number of U.S. government agencies, he was also actively involved in scholarly instruction and research.

Doctor Berls was among the proactive partakers of the projects RIAC and the NTI held together. Certainly, we had our differences of opinion, making a case more often than not. Far from always was it that we could reach compromise. Still, in realizing the complexity of the U.S.–Russia relations, we were always moving forward with our dialogue on the issues of common interest to our nations. In doing so, we never tried to conceal the challenges—rather, we sought to acknowledge what hampered us in a frank way. All our work was imbued with mutual respect and a willingness to explore each other’s stances to forge a way forward, laying down the prerequisites for headway.

For the younger generation, Bob was an epitome of unparalleled diligence and discipline, precision even in the smallest details, decency and exceptional willpower. Going through a grave pulmonary disease, Bob chose to continue his work while fighting for life. He was a patriot of his country, an honest soldier and officer, a professional scholar and a reliable colleague, who was respected both in the United States and abroad. In the last years of his life, Robert Berls contributed a lot to the dialogue of the younger generation of scolars on the most pressing issues of international relations.

We express our condolences to his relatives, friends, and colleagues at the Nuclear Threat Initiative.

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  1. In your opinion, what are the US long-term goals for Russia?
    U.S. wants to establish partnership relations with Russia on condition that it meets the U.S. requirements  
     33 (31%)
    U.S. wants to deter Russia’s military and political activity  
     30 (28%)
    U.S. wants to dissolve Russia  
     24 (22%)
    U.S. wants to establish alliance relations with Russia under the US conditions to rival China  
     21 (19%)
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