Relations between the United States and the Russian Empire and what eventually became the Soviet Union, and then back to Russia, have evolved tremendously since 1776. Even at the height of the Cold War, the relationship was often complex and sometimes involved cooperation. Russia also gave the United States some of its biggest and valuable territories.
The earliest official relationship between the United States and Russia began in 1776, very soon after the Declaration of Independence. Russia was generally positive and supportive of the colonial revolt against Great Britain. Officially, Russia wanted to avoid conflict with Britain and declared neutrality but saw the benefits of weakening Great Britain and supported the revolt in an unofficial manner. Catherine the Great did genuinely feel that Britain was to blame for the war. She created a neutrality declaration in the war that also allowed trade between the warring states and Russia. Great Britain did try to bribe the Russian's, by giving them an the island of Menorca in the Mediterranean, in joining the war against the Americans, but Russia refused. Catherine did refuse to formally recognize the United States during the war, refusing the request of the American ambassador Francis Dana sent to talk to Catherine to supporting the new United States
While privately supporting the American Revolution, as a way to weaken Britain, Russia also worried about the effect of the revolution on its population, which was still bound by the strict policies of serfdom. Some historians suggest the American Revolution inspired the Decembrist revolt that took place in 1825, which was a revolt by military officers against Tsar Nicholas I. Russia was generally embroiled in European politics and mostly ignored events in North America, except for expanding its trade presence in Alaska and parts of the western areas of North America because of the lucrative furs and other trade there.