Russia wields its influence in pursuit of important state interests. As in the Soviet era, contemporary Russia declares ambitious goals and pursues them in a desperate effort to play a decisive role in world politics. The overall objective of Russian foreign policy is to become a world power, and gaining influence over the MENA region is a means to achieving that end. As is clearly expressed in strategic documents, Russia considers the MENA region a priority domain for extensive diplomatic activity. The Kremlin’s MENA policy incorporates a critically important premise, non-interventionism, that is attractive to the region’s autocratic regimes, which resist Western-style liberal “interventionist” democracy. Russia’s influence on these countries is increasingly strong due to its (1) de-ideologized approach, (2) assistance (in the form of long-term loans) in the construction of nuclear power plants as well as arms supplies, and (3) anti-American stance, reflecting Arab and Iranian (Islamic) interests.
1. Continuity and Discontinuity: Soviet and Russian MENA Policies
2. Russian Strategic Approaches to the Region
3. Russian Strategic Interests in the Region
4. Case Study: Syria