During the last five years, Russian relations with the GCC have developed on a largely positive trajectory. Even Moscow’s decision to leave the OPEC+ agreement and launch a price war with Saudi Arabia in March 2020 did not threaten the gains made by Russian diplomacy in the region. Following a cooling-off period in 2012-2014 caused by the negative reaction of the GCC States to the Russian support of the Assad regime in Syria, the overall rapprochement continued. When explaining the complex mixture of factors that are driving Moscow’s dialogue with the GCC member states regardless of occasional political turbulence they usually refer to the growing intensity of Moscow’s presence in the region, changing dynamics of the U.S. relations with Russia and the GCC, existing tensions between Middle Eastern countries as well as the transformation of GCC foreign policy vision. Yet, the economic factors usually remain underestimated. Consequently, this article will try to prove the importance of the economic factors for the current development of Russia’s relations with the Gulf States. It will also assess the prospects for continued economic cooperation between GCC capitals and Moscow including an analysis of the ability of the sides to bring these relations to a new qualitative level.
Moscow is extremely interested in keeping Iran in the sphere of its influence. First of all, Iran’s geostrategic position allows it to influence the situation in the Caspian Sea region, the Caucasus, Central Asia, and the Middle East. This, in turn, compels Moscow to discuss a wide range of foreign policy issues with Tehran. Given the shared visions on how to handle most of these problems, the support of Iran is believed to be important to the success of Moscow’s activities to restore and strengthen Russia’s regional position after the fall of the Soviet Union. Finally, both Moscow and Tehran are interested in saving the remaining government institutions in Syria. This common task plays in favor of Russian-Iranian cooperation, although each country certainly has its own reasons for saving the remnants of the regime.