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U.S. Ambassador To Russia McFaul Announces Exit

U.S. Ambassador to the Russian Federation Michael A. McFaul increasingly turned to social networks like Twitter, where he announced his departure on February 4 (file photo)
U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul says he will leave his post after the Sochi Winter Olympics.

McFaul, considered the architect of the Obama administration's "reset" policy with Moscow, said he planned to return to work at Stanford University in California.

He made the announcement via Twitter and other online media.

Writing on his blog, McFaul said "part of me, in an emotional, intellectual, and spiritual sense, will always remain in Russia."

McFaul noted successes in U.S.-Russian relations, pointing to progress the two countries made together in the transit of materials to Afghanistan for U.S. and foreign forces operating there, work on a new strategic arms treaty, and an increase in bilateral trade.

But his tenure saw increasingly strained ties and he often faced criticism from Russian officials.

In a subsequent message on Twitter, McFaul cited the long "commute" and a desire to "to be with my family":

McFaul is considered one of the United States' foremost experts on Russia and came to the ambassadorial post in 2011 as a firm supporter of the U.S.-Russia “reset.”

His tenure has seen frequent harassment by Russian officials and media, which have suggested he misrepresents Kremlin policy on Iran and North Korea and promoted a “revolution” mentality among the Russian opposition.