John Tefft previously served as the US ambassador to Ukraine, Georgia and Lithuania. He served as deputy chief of mission at the US Embassy in Moscow from 1996 to 1999 (when Thomas Pickering was ambassador) and was charge d’affairs at the embassy from November 1996 to September 1997. Before his recent appointment, Tefft was the executive director the RAND Business Leaders Forum at the RAND Corporation.
AP Photo/Susan Walsh
Robert Strauss was the head of the US diplomatic mission in Moscow from 1991 to 1992. He became the last US ambassador to the Soviet and the first ambassador to Russia. In 1991 he prepared the state visit of President George H.W. Bush to Moscow and the signing of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START). Strauss contributed to the development of Russian-US relations after the collapse of the USSR.
Thomas R. Pickering served as the US ambassador to Russia from 1993 to 1996, the years that he described as the post-honeymoon period in bilateral relations. The diplomat also welcomed the idea of reaching a separate agreement between Russia and the United States before NATO’s eastward expansion.
James Collins was the US ambassador to Russia in 1997-2001. He studied at Moscow State University in 1965-1966 and wrote a thesis on Russia Emperor Peter the Great. Collins said the development of Russian-US ties in all spheres from business to science was among the main achievements of his tenure. A total of 18 various American centers opened in Russia when Collins served as ambassador.
AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko
Alexander Vershbow served as US ambassador to Russia in 2001-2005. He is considered to be one of the most experienced American diplomats and an expert on relations with Russia. He toured Russia a lot, giving many interviews and meeting with politicians, businessmen, rights advocates, etc.
William J. Burns was the US ambassador to Russia in 2005-2008. During his tenure the US Embassy was developing contacts with Russian regions, including Samara, Yekaterinburg, Chelyabinsk, St. Petersburg, Nizhny Noovgorod and Kazan etc. In 2013, the White House appointed Burns to hold negotiations with Russia on the possible handover of fugitive NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.
John Beyrle served as US ambassador to Russia in 2008-2011, during the "reset" of Russian-American relationship, which saw the signing of the New START arms control treaty, agreement on peaceful uses of nuclear energy and Russia's accession to the World Trade Organization.
Michael McFaul, a Stanford academic, headed the US diplomatic mission in Moscow in 2011-2014. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov described him as “a political appointee who took liberties.” McFaul confessed that the Russia-US rift over Syria was one of his major failures as ambassador.