Russian Foreign Policy Towards the Middle East

New Trends, Old Traditions

Edited by Part of the Georgetown University, Center for International and Regional Studies, School of Foreign Service in Qatar series
May 2022 9781787386891 296pp
Available as an eBook Available from Oxford Scholarship Online
EU Customers


This book sheds light on Russia’s motives in the Middle East, examining its growing role in the region and its efforts to defend its national interests. As one of the first volumes to address both domestic and external drivers, it provides a valuable multi-dimensional account of Moscow’s foreign policy. Russian Foreign Policy Towards the Middle East also traces the historical evolution of Russia’s presence in the region, comparing Moscow’s current vision of its diplomatic priorities with the strategic goals of the Soviet Union.

Diverse case studies reveal areas of both divergence and convergence between Russia and various Middle Eastern players on a range of issues, including the Syrian Civil War, Iran’s regional activities and the Yemeni conflict. In an era of renewed global tensions, this volume provides an important corrective to the notion that Russia’s Cold War-era confrontation with ‘the West’ determines its contemporary approach to the Middle East. No less important are economic interests and domestic security considerations, which push Moscow towards greater interaction with the region. Only by examining both new trends and old traditions can we understand Russia’s significance as a global player today.


‘This engagingly written book focuses on the regional, international and domestic dimensions of Russia’s policy. The research is in-depth and illuminates the drivers and outcomes of Moscow’s strategies in the Middle East. Highly recommended for anyone studying international relations or the foreign policy positions of the Russian Federation.’ — Irina Zvyagelskaya, Head of Center for Middle East Studies, IMEMO, Russian Academy of Sciences

‘This rewarding collection of diverse essays reveals multiple drivers of Russia’s enduring interests in the Middle East. Anyone who wishes to understand Russia’s foreign policy, whether in the Middle East or beyond, should read this book.’ — Anna Borshchevskaya, Senior Fellow, The Washington Institute, and author of Putin’s War in Syria: Russian Foreign Policy and the Price of America’s Absence

‘A masterful survey of Russia’s relations with the Middle East. It will make a fine addition to the literature and a refreshing challenge to the Western-centric understanding that dominates scholarship on Russian foreign policy.’ — Clive Jones, Professor of Regional Security, Durham University, and co-author of Fraternal Enemies: Israel and the Gulf Monarchies

‘This is a very important project that investigates the history, development and the current state of Russia’s foreign policy in the Middle East. A comprehensive and welcome contribution to the current literature.’ — Ofer Fridman, Senior Lecturer in War Studies, King’s College London, and author of Russian ‘Hybrid Warfare’ and Strategiya



Nikolay Kozhanov is Research Associate Professor at the Gulf Studies Center, Qatar University. He is a consulting fellow for the Russia and Eurasia Programme at Chatham House, leading a project on Russian foreign policy in the Middle East. His research focuses on Gulf geopolitics, and Iran's economy and international relations.

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