US Ambassador to Russia Stepping Down

Been in position for five years


U.S. Ambassador Michael McFaul, who engineered Washington's "reset" of relations with Moscow but riled Russia during his tenure as envoy, said on Tuesday he would soon leave his posting and the administration of President Barack Obama.

McFaul helped Obama improve ties with Russia during his first term but was clouded by controversy from the start of his stint as envoy after Vladimir Putin, campaigning to regain the presidency in 2012, accused Washington of stirring up protests.

McFaul cited family reasons for his departure, saying his wife and sons had moved back to California last summer and that he would be based for the time being at Stanford University, where he taught before Obama brought him to Washington in 2009.

"After more than five years working for the Obama administration, it is time to go home," McFaul, 50, said in a lengthy entry on his blog. "I will leave Russia reluctantly. I love this job."