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The geopolitics of post-Soviet Russia and the Middle East.

THE NEW RUSSIAN STATE CREATED after the dissolution of the Soviet Union in December 1991 is neither a simple continuation of its legal Soviet predecessor nor of the former Russian Empire, which ended during World War I in 1917. As the Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov has recently pointed out: "Neither its current political system nor its outer frontiers and immediate geopolitical surrounding have a precedent in Russian history. By all indications, the Russian Federation is a new state functioning in a radically changing system of international relations. (1) The collapse of the Soviet bloc in Eastern Europe and Central Eurasia and the emergence of a completely new geopolitical and social reality, which is strikingly different from its forerunner, probably represented the most important breakthrough in modern world history, by far exceeding the limitations of the regional boundaries and the relatively brief period of time. As one outcome of this, the previous bipolar system of the Cold War era has been rep laced by a new situation that, although still somewhat shapeless and volatile, is nevertheless marked by American global hegemony and an unexpected, sudden decline of Russian power.

There are at present many discussions among scholars about the models of the new international system, but as Samuel Huntington has indicated and as recent developments after the tragic American events of September 11, 2001 seem to prove, contemporary international politics are in fact "a strange hybrid, a uni-polar system with one superpower and several major powers" (2) and "the settlement of key international issues requires action by the single superpower, but always with some combination of other major states" (3) According to the still prevailing, although by no means unanimous opinion, (4) Russia, despite its critical problems remains one of the major states and its current and potential impact on and role in the regions which are near its borders, certainly deserve attention and careful analysis.

This discussion will focus on the issues of Russia's historical and geopolitical links with the Middle East and the causes and forms of her involvement there. At the very end of the presentation I will look at the present day Russian Middle Eastern policy and the prospects for Russia's potential future contribution to a more stable and balanced situation in the area.


Historical Background

Russia is certainly no newcomer to the region and Russian links with the Middle East and the Islamic world at large have been unusually deep-rooted and long lasting. Located on the Eurasian lowland, Russia has always been a territory with a "natural coexistence, mutual influence and interaction between the Eastern Slavic and Turkish, Caucasian and Persian peoples," which as many Russian scholars argue, "create the foundation for a positive relationship between Russians and Muslims." (5)

Between 1677 and 1917, the Tsars of Russia fought thirteen wars with the Ottoman Empire for control of the Black Sea area and the Caucasus, and in 1872 the Russian fleet even briefly occupied Beirut. (6) Russian policy toward the southern states directly adjacent to its borders, such as Turkey, Iran and Afghanistan, was in many ways often similar to the one then employed by Western Europe. (7) However, it did not have any impact on the general tolerance which Islam has enjoyed in the Russian Empire, and its relations with the Arab world have also been particularly friendly.

In the nineteenth century and at the beginning of the twentieth, the Russian Empire was not involved in the colonial carve-up of the area and its "moral credentials among the Arabs, both on an official and a popular level, were considerably higher than those of the West." (8) As early as 1901, the Emir of Kuwait applied for Russian protection and some other Arab rules also looked for communication, trade and cultural links with the Russian Empire. (9)

After the October 1917 Revolution, the victorious Bolsheviks inherited a strong base to build on and were able to add a new ideological dimension to it. They condemned the Western powers' underhanded diplomacy toward the Muslim countries, and the Soviet government's appeal of December 20, 1917 to "All the Working Muslims of Russia and the East", which was signed by Lenin himself, officially declared that "the Arabs as well as all Muslims had the right to be masters of their countries and to decide their own destinies as they wished". (10) Although during the following Stalinist period, political problems and wars in Europe and the Far East, and Stalin's own denial of the progressive values of the national liberation movements put a long freeze on further Middle Eastern involvement, by the mid 1950s, Khrushchev's rise to power and the Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser's political turnabout opened a new period of the USSR's political and military presence in the region. (11)

During the following decades, up to the second half of the 1980s, the USSR and its Eastern European allies supported the Arab people's cause, and in practice, all fronts of their national liberation struggle towards economic and social development. Algeria, Iraq, Syria, Libya, South Yemen, and last but not least, the most difficult client to protect -- the Palestinians -- had all in their own time relieved generous diplomatic, economic and even military help from the Soviet bloc countries which, in addition, often protected them in the international arena against threats of direct Western intervention and annihilation.

However, the perestroika period, which started after Gorbachev's rise to power in 1985, brought to Soviet politics a completely new outlook and direction. Following the so-called "new political thinking", and trying both to bring an end to the Cold War with the American superpower and to alleviate Soviet economic problems, Gorbachev and his advisers looked for better Soviet-Israeli relations and limited previous Soviet support for the more radical Arab regimes and the Palestinians. During the Iraqi-Kuwaiti crisis in 1990-91 and the Second War in the Persian Gulf; the Soviet Union basically supported the U.S., even though at a later stage of the drama, Gorbachev's envoy, Yevgenii Primakov, tried to conclude some form of agreement between the Iraqi government and the U.S.-sponsored coalition, and to prevent its ground military attack. However, all his promising efforts were apparently spurned by the Americans and the collapsing Soviet Union was in fact both too weak and too internally divided to take a stronger position." (12)

At that time developments in the Middle East palpably demonstrated that the very nature of Soviet-American relations had changed dramatically and the well-known Russian journalist, Stanislav Kondrashov, described the Soviet role in Madrid as "the last tango." (13) But, even then, Moscow did not completely forget its Middle Eastern interests and its presence there was widely supported by many otherwise openly pro-American regimes in the region. In September 1991, Gorbachev sent Primakov to the Middle East again in order both to express his personal gratitude to the leaders of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Iran and Turkey for their support during the failed coup and to ask them for economic assistance for the Soviet economy. His later evaluation of the trip reveals much for an understanding of the political role and importance of the Soviet Union in the region. According to Primakov, all the countries he visited, "clearly did not want the disintegration of the USSR" and saw the need to preserve it as a united economic and strategic area in order to secure its power and influence. As he said to the press on September 20, 1991, "the leaders I have met want the USSR's presence in the Near and Middle East because this would preserve the balance of power. Nobody wants one superpower to maintain a monopoly position there." (14)

Virtually all regional actors welcomed Moscow's role as co-chairman of the Madrid Peace Conference, (15) even though its real importance would only be negligible. Two months after it was convened, the Soviet Union finally disintegrated and its successor state, Russia, inherited both hits close links with the region and most of its political and economic assets, which were by them, however greatly diminished.

The vacuum of power in the region had thus increased and was subsequently quickly filled by a further extension of the American influence. However the role and importance of Russia did not completely cease. In fact they would soon be resumed albeit in different forms and directions.

The Search for New Prospects in the Region

Among the post-communist countries of Eurasia, Russia is now in fact the only country that is still willing and able to be an independent and meaningful player in the Middle Eastern arena. In addition to historical traditions, there are several other reasons why Russia, as such, independent of her actual political regime, has always been and still is interested in the broadly understood Middle Eastern region as a whole, including Turkey, Iran, the Arab world and Israel in addition to its previous dependencies (now the "Near Abroad") -- the states of Transcaucasia and Central Asia. (16)

The first and probably most important reason is the geographical proximity of the region to Russia's borders in the south, which many Russian scholars and politicians, including Primakov himself; consider to be the "soft under-belly". (17) Any military or social threat from the region such as the presence of powerful foreign armies equipped with modern arms, or civil war in the neighboring countries, acts of massive terrorism or the subsequent sociopolitical destabilization, are apt to cause fears and anxiety in Russia especially in view of the fact that the Russian Federation is not now guarded by the defense perimeter installations which had been built on the former Soviet borders. To create similar installations around the present borders would be virtually impossible for economic reasons. (18) These fears and anxieties are by no means baseless. The east-southern parts of the former USSR-Transcaucasus and Central Asia -- are not geopolitically separated from the Middle East, which is itself in a state of e volution, which depends on continuity, commonality and growing connectedness of its elements. (19) The exchanges of the post-Soviet countries with the traditionally understood Middle East, or at least its so-called northern tier -- including Iran and Turkey -- will probably grow and the impact of that has already been noticed, even in the provinces of the Russian Federation adjacent to them. (20)

In addition to the prolonged and tragic conflict in Chechnya, Russia confronts several conflicts throughout the North Caucasus and some parts of Povalzhya that could threaten even further its own integrity. According to Alexei Malashenko, a researcher at the Moscow office of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, specializing in Islamic affairs: "Events in the Middle East and the Gulf have repercussions for us both in Russia itself and in our immediate neighborhood...there is no denying Middle Eastern influence on the development of radical Islam in the Caucasus." (21) Alleged Saudi support of the rebel groups in the Northern Caucasus and Uzbekistan's Ferghana valley described as "Wahhabite", has been one of the main difficulties in "truly normalizing relations between Moscow and Riyadh" (22) It goes without saying that Saudi Arabia vehemently denied all these allegations. (23) On September 21, 2001, Ahmedhadji Kadyrov, the chief of the Russian-installed Chechen administration, told Syrian officials in Damascus that the difficulties Moscow faced in Chechenya were "caused by the presence of many mercenaries from Arab countries in the rebel units." (24) According to him: "They are fighting for money and want to seize power." (25) As an American observer admitted, "because the Middle East state system is so porous, Moscow must also engage actors across the CIS's borders in order to respond adequately o threats emanating from the CIS's southern tier." (26) From the Russian point of view, the situation is becoming even more dangerous because of the growing American presence in the region.

The Americans do not limit themselves to "particularly sustained human and financial investments in Azerbaijan, Turkemenistan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan [and since the last two years also in Georgia], aiming to exploit the as yet largely untapped oil and gas deposits in the long term". (27) The U.S. also sees cooperation in security issues involving direct military involvement as "a major element in its strategy for the countries in the Caucasus and Central Asia," (28) and from 1999 those countries have been included in the area of responsibility of the Central Command of the American Armed Forces. (29) According to some authors, the Russian military, who are particularly well informed about both the new strategic threats and the costs of fortifying the country's new borders, are thus claiming that it is "Moscow's historic duty to protect the outer borders of the former Soviet Union". (30)

Russians are also concerned about the possibilities of Western control over Iraq and Iran. According to them, if such a situation were to occur, it would be very harmful for Russia's interests and would threaten its security. (31)

After the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, D.C. on 11 September 2001, in spite of all the American pressure and the new Powell doctrine "that the future litmus test for U.S. relations with any other country will be their behavior toward the United Sates in the War [against the alleged Muslim perpetrators]", (32) the response of the Russian government was restrained and cautious. According to President V. Putin, "the evil of terrorism must be punished", but any strikes against it must be carried out within the limits of international law and after full international consultation including Russia. Although he promised that Russia is ready for "comprehensive cooperation" with the U.S., he nevertheless stressed that Russian military participation beyond the borders of the country would be possible only after approval by the Federation Council and the U.N. Security Council, and that Russia does not intend to fight "a two front war", preferring to concentrate its efforts on Chechenya. (33) However, he had no choice but to add that "each of the post-Soviet countries, including Tajikistan, has full freedom to decide whether to allow the U.S. to use bases on its territory." (34) In fact the Russians are deeply concerned about the potential growth of American presence and influence to the south of their boarders -- especially in the "Near Abroad" territories of the Caucasus and Central Asia. (35) This is also probably the most important reason for their continuous support for Iran and Iraq. However, the support for Iraq and Iran is limited by the necessity for keeping in mind good relations with the West, especially the U.S.

It does not need to preclude quiet close Russian-American cooperation in the struggle against the Tailiban, or even in the war against what both countries consider to be a fundamentalist Islamic threat in general. Many recent developments seem to indicate that such an alliance is in fact in the offing. Putin has spoken on "a new level" of partnership with the U.S., and one of his aides commented that "with 100% certainty...the cooperation will be unprecedented, of a level unseen ever before..." (36) According to a prominent American analyst, "If the United States wants to fight an effective military campaign in Afghanistan, an alliance with Russia is essential"; this position is similar to the situation in World War II when "American strategy depended on the Soviet Union breaking the back of the Wehrmacht". (37) The price for that alliance, however, would be the return of Russian power to Central Asia and the Caucasus and renewed American-Russian conflict in the future." (38) It is also worth keeping in mind that according to recent opinion polls, 56% of Muscovites do not support the U.S.-led antiterrorist operations in Afghanistan and only 8% believe that Russian forces should take part in it. As many as 72% oppose strikes against other countries which the U.S. has identified as harboring terrorists, such as Iraq, Iran and Libya. (39)

A second reason and one of growing importance is an economic one. In the 1970s and 1980s, the USSR was undoubtedly a major arms supplier to the Arab states of the region, as late as 1988 the USSR supplied the Middle East with arms worth over $14.5 billion, as compared to 12.2 billion delivered by the U.S. (40) However, its motivation was mainly political and ideological and the commercial value of that trade was questionable. Post Communist Russia is looking instead for profit and for that purpose, and not only for security reasons, Russia wants to preserve as much as possible her control over the Caspian Sea oil and its transportation to the West. (41) In that area, just as in the Middle East as a whole, "although the Cold War has ended, geopolitical competition has not," (42) and as already mentioned, Russia has to face the growing impact of the U.S. which now has concrete interests in the development in the region of the natural gas and petroleum industries. (43)

Some Russian politicians want to look for cooperation with the Arab oil producing countries which are geographically close to the area and which have already acquired considerably experience in dealing with similar economic and political problems. (44) Post Communist Russia also needs to find customers for Russian industry among those countries that are relatively rich but still poorly developed. Efforts in this direction are presently seen as being more urgent since previous hopes for integration into the Western-developed economy are generally now considered to have been unsuccessful, and most Russian commentators are calling for a search for alternative clients and economic partners." (45) Particularly important here are links with Iran, but for similar reasons Moscow seeks expanded dialogue with Kuwait and the other Gulf States. The potential hefty commercial gains are also an important reason to support and protect Iraq.

The third reason for Russia's Middle East involvement is cultural and religious, which, in Russia's case are much stronger than for other parts of Europe. (46) Those links might be seen as a reflection of the fact that Russia, at least in its cultural traditions, is predominately Eastern Orthodox, but it is also a Muslim country while its Jewish community has been one of the most numerous, and in cultural terms, most active in the world. At present about 15% of the Russian population (about 20 million people) have a Muslim cultural background. (47) Although after the long period of Communist persecution, relatively few of them sill practice their inherited religious traditions, they are nevertheless differentiated from the rest of the society by their special social cultural and sometimes also by their political attitudes. (48) Despite the increase in anti-Muslim feelings since the war in Chechenya and the waves of terrorist attacks in Moscow and other cities, Russian Muslims have managed to establish themsel ves as a relatively influential, although mainly parochial and self-centered pressure group. (49)

Since the early 1990s, Israel has not only been Russia's major trading partner, second after Turkey in the Middle East, but also about 900,000 Israeli citizens who came from the former USSR have developed an unusually strong cultural bond between the two nations. (50) Israelis, in fact, the country with the largest Russian Diaspora outside the former Soviet Union. The two new Israeli political parties, which are made up primarily of Russian immigrants, want to promote further development of Russian-Israeli relations. One of them, led by famous former Soviet dissident Nathan Sharansky, is now a part of the ruling coalition.

In addition to all these traditional ethnic and religious connections, Russia's cultural links with the region might also be seen outcome of its Eurasian character. Although in the view of some observers, Russia's s geopolitical position "has prompted the formulation of Eurasianism as an ideology of international and integration between the cultures, particularly Slavic Christian Orthodox and Islam," (51) Eurasian concepts "may subsequently serve as an ideological basis for its future foreign policy". (52) Although Eurasianists want to stress Russia's distinctive national interests based no its unique geopolitical and historical position straddling Europe and Asia", (53) they are nevertheless not necessarily anti-Western. Their goal is rather to preserve the country's freedom of action and to defend its interests "even when this produces some discomfort in the United States or to the Western countries". (54) Their most prominent political representative, Y. Primakov aims to "promote and advance relations with the West, while playing an independent game in other fields... and is essentially about interacting with the main world player without joining anyone too closely. (55) This obviously needs to include the Middle East, (56) which is close to the Russian borders and where, in addition to the cultural and religious links and traditions, important Russian strategic and economic interests are also located.


Since its beginning in December 1991, through 2001, post-Soviet Russia's Middle Eastern politics, like her foreign policy in general, have undergone substantial transformations and their general features and directions can now be discerned and analyzed.

Compared with the Soviet period, the first and most striking features is its weakness. As a result of the collapse of the USSR and the ensuing unprecedented economic decline, the "economic size of Russia was about 120.1% of the American in 1994" and "few if any experts believe that it has improved much since then or is likely to significantly improve in the coming years". (57) In spite of some economic improvement during the last year, about 20% of the Russian citizens have to live on less than $2 per day (58) and the political and military potential of the county is consistently declining. On August 22, 2000, President Putin, speaking to the families of the sailors of the submarine Kursk, described the present situation in the Russian Navy, saying "it has been ruined and there isn't a fig left". (59) The security of the country is based on its aging nuclear weapons, but that cannot replace other lacking military and economic tools to advance its political goals in the neighboring regions.

Despite all the persisting problems after the chaotic transition period from the Soviet Union to the Post-Soviet political reality in the mid-1990s, a new foreign policy consensus has emerged in Moscow. (60) It is now cutting across ideological divisions among the major parties in Russia and it is likely to have an impact on the country's foreign policy in the long run.

At the heart of this new foreign policy paradigm is a Russia-centered perspective which stresses the priority of the country's own national interests, while marginalizing the more international approaches of either socialist or liberal humanist origins. Realism and geopolitics have become "widely recognized theoretical concepts regardless of the schools' political and ideological orientations." (61) As an outcome of that, according to a Russian analyst, "This [foreign policy] consensus is going to take shape around the concept of Europeanism or one of its versions since the concept itself is heterogeneous, being represented by diverse political trends, and much will depend on the actual balance of political forces". (62) The present Russian political elite is not necessarily anti-Western, but it is certainly not as pro-Western as it was in the late 1980s and early 1990s. It is much more practical and pragmatic-minded and believes that Russia is simply too big to be integrated into Europe, or even the West as a whole, like Germany or Japan which are just non-nuclear powers or regional interests.

As a result of this, it supports the idea of Russia as a separate and independent political center in a multi-polar world and a country whose "policy should be even-handed and oriented to cooperation with all countries." (63)

The implications of both Russia's decline in power and the rejection of the internationalist principles by the political class of the country have a great impact on its Middle Eastern policy.

The first and perhaps most important result is the shift of Moscow's major geopolitical interests in the region. Whereas since the 1950s the USSR paid attention to the Arab Mediterranean countries and supported their struggles against Western domination, for the new Russia, countries mostly to the north and closer to its borders such as Turkey and Iran are much more important. (64) The new independent states of Central Asia and Transcaucasia and their, at least partial reintegration, into the broadly understood Middle Eastern region created a new strategic problem for Moscow which is magnified by the easy penetrability of the borders in the area. (65) The ideological and moral reasons for the support of the Arab cause have now also declined.

A second important outcome is the fact that for the present day Russian ruling elite, Israel is the most desirable strategic ally in the region. According to Artem V. Malygin, who teaches at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, there are not objectively contradictory interests between Russia and Israel; their cooperation will be further promoted by the Russian language Diaspora in Israel and the commonly perceived threat of Islamic extremism. In addition, cooperation with Israel seems more profitable to the Russians than any cooperation with any other country in the Middle East. Only Israel has such an access to modern Western technology and both the Israeli and the world Jewish Diaspora international influences are incomparably stronger than those of any other state in the region. (66)

However, in my opinion, neither Russia's shift of geopolitical interest nor her fears about Islamic fundamentalism and rapprochement with Israel necessarily lead to the conclusion that Moscow has stopped cooperating with the Arab nations and completely ended its support for the Palestinians. This is certainly not now the case and for a number of reasons future development in this direction seems rather unlikely, a.) For economic reasons, Russia needs to keep open its channels with the Arab countries. The Russian contracts of recent years with Israel have already exceeded $20 billion U.S. and the Syrian debt to Moscow is about $15 billion U.S. For Russia, the Arab world as a whole is an indispensable market and a major source of income. b.) The Russian leaders are genuinely anxious and suspicious about U.S. domination over the Middle East, especially now that Washington is also encroaching in the post-Soviet space it the south and Southeast, particularly in Georgia, Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan.

Third, in Russia many people sympathize with the Arab causes and are still willing to support Arab interests. In the spring of 2001 the Muslim deputies to the Russian parliament--Duma--created their own separate parliamentary caucus and claimed as one of their major goals the defense of the Palestinian people. In addition to these, there are also numerous non-Muslims in Russia who, for a variety of reasons, are sympathetic to, or at least balanced and cautious in their attitudes towards the Arabs. This relatively large group includes business people who have interests in the region, but also intellectuals, Middle Eastern experts and politicians, some of whom have preserved their personal links with the Arab capitals since the Soviet era. (67)

It is, however, impossible to expect a really strong and decisive involvement by Moscow in the region. Moscow has neither the power nor the will for that. Even Primakov, during his visit to Egypt in June 2001, made no bones about it, saying that "Russia is prepared to undertake an active role in mediation...But what if Israel refuses?" (68) Nevertheless, it is still willing to play the role of a balancer in the area in order to prevent unlimited American and/or Israeli hegemony over the territories, which are close to its borders and where it has its long-standing strategic and economic interests. There is also no lack of compassion regarding the fate of the Palestinians among Russian intellectuals and even the ordinary people, who know only too well from their own experience, the bitter taste of misery and oppression.

I believe that in a much more modest but perhaps practical and hopefully fruitful way, the new Russia can still contribute in the future to more balanced solutions to the Arab-Israeli dilemma. In any case, the cultivation of the links with Moscow is a political necessity for all parties involved in the conflict and I have little doubt that this requirement will continue in the future.


(1.) Igor Ivanov, "The New Russian Identity: Innovation and Continuity in Russian Foreign Policy," The Washington Quarterly, Vol. 24, No. 3 (Summer 2001), p.7.

(2.) Samuel P. Huntington, "The Lonely Superpower," Foreign Affairs, March/April 2000, p.3.

(3.) Ibid.

(4.) For instance, Allan C. Lynch indicates "the very real limits on Russia's external influence, whatever the political color of Russia' government". As he writes: "Russia will lack most of the trappings of significant international power for the foreseeable future. it is a large power rather than a great power". "The Realism of Russia's Foreign Policy," Europe-Asia Studies, Vol. 53, No. 1, p.25.

(5.) G.M. Yemelianova, "Russia and Islam: the history and prospects of a relationship," Asian Affairs, Vol. XXVI, p. 111(October 1995), p.278.

(6.) Derek Hopwood, The Russian Presence in Syria and Palestine 1843-1914 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1969), p. 9.

(7.) Hugh Seton-Watson, The Russian Empire 1801-1917 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1967), pp.41-51, 57-62, 289-311, and 430-435.

(8.) Yemelianova, p.284.

(9.) Asia and Afrika Segodnia (1991), No. 1, p.50.

(10.) Alexei Vasiliev, Russian Policy in the Middle East: From Messianism to Pragmatism (Reading: Ithaca Press, 1993), p.2.

(11.) Nicolai N. Petro and Alvin Z. Rubinstein, Russian Foreign Policy from Empire to Nation State (New York: Longman, 1996), p. 248; see also A. Potserebov, "On Russian-Egyptian Relations," International Affairs (Moscow), Vol. 43, No. 3(1997), p.104.

(12.) A. Vasiliev, op. cit., pp. 335-345.

(13.) Izvestia, October 30, 1991.

(14.) TASS (September 20, 1991), FBIS-USSR (September 23, 1991), p. 10.

(15.) Irina Zviagelskaya and V. Naumkin, "Russia and the Middle East: Continuity and Change," in M. Mesbahi (ed.), Russia and the Third World in the Post-Soviet Era (Gainsevile: University of Florida Press, 1994), p. 334.

(16.) For the concept of the emerging Greater Middle East, see Gulshan Dietl, "Iran in the Emerging Greater Middle East," CIAO-Columbia International Affairs Online working papers, 5/99(January 1999), p. 3.

(17.) R. Gaetz, "Political spheres of interest in Southern Caucasus and in Central Asia," Aussenpolitik, Vol. 3, 1997, p. 266.

(18.) R.O. Freedman, "Russia and the Middle East Under Yeltsin," part I, DOMES: Digest of Middle Eastern Studies, Vol. VI, No. 2 (Spring 1997), p. 20.

(19.) Dietl, p.3.

(20.) Stephen J. Blank, "Russia's return to Mideast diplomacy (How New the New Russia?)," Orbis, Vol. 40, No. 4 (Fall 1996), p.5.

(21.) Alan Gresh, "Russia's return to the Middle East," Journal of Palestine Studies (Autumn 1998), Vol. 28, No. 1, p. 8.

(22.) Ibid.

(23.) Vremya, February 2, 2000, p.6.

(24.) RFE/RL Newsline, part 1, September 24, 2001.

(25.) Ibid.

(26.) Blank, p.5.

(27.) Walter Schilling, "The Return of Geopolitics in the Caucasus and Central Asia," Aussenpolitik, Vol. 2, 1998, p. 52.

(28.) Ibid.

(29.) Ibid: p.53..

(30.) W.E.Frerry and R.E. Kanet (eds.), Post Communist States in the World Community (London: Macmillan Press, 1998), p.28.

(31.) Asia and Afrika Segodnia, No. 1, 1997, p. 35.

(32.) "Russia's View, Russia' Options," Stratfor Intelligence for Individuals, 01, 09, 15

(33.) RFE//RL Newsline, September 24, 2001.

(34.) Ibid.

(35.) See for instance, Anatoli Baranov, "America to wage war for USSR. inheritance," Pravda, September 19, 2001 (in English online Similar though more mildly phrased opinions have been expressed by many other Russian analysts.

(36.) Guardian Weekly, September 27-October 3, 2001, p. 29.

(37.) "The Geopolitical Price of War," Stratfor, The Global Intelligence Company, October 2, 2001.

(38.) Ibid.

(39.) RFE/RL, Vol. 5, No. 195 (October 15, 2001), p.I.

(40.) Alexei Tchistiakov, "The Middle East in the light of geopolitical changes," International Affairs (Moscow), No. 8, 1995, P. 51.

(41.) Asia and Afrika Segodnya, No. 5, 1994, pp. 5-10.

(42.) Robert V. Barylski, "Russia, the West and the Caspian Energy Hub," Middle East Journal, Vol. 49, No.2 (Spring 1995), p. 217.

(43.) Robert B. Zoellick and Philip D. Zelikov (eds.), America and Russia: Memos to a President (New York: W.W. Norton and Co., 2000), pp. 74-75.

(44.) Asia and Afrika Segodnya, No. 5, 1995, pp. 5-10.

(45.) Middle East International, March 10,2000, p.5.

(46.) Forum (Warsaw), March 22, 1998, p.7.

(47.) Ibid.

(48.) Gresh, p.9.

(49.) Ibid.

(50.) R.O. Freedman, "Russia and the Middle East under Yeltsin," part II, Digest of the Middle East (DOMES), Vol. 6, No. III, 1997, p.25.

(51.) Leszek Buszynski, Russian Foreign Policy After the Cold War (Westport, Connecticut: Praeger, 1996), p. 229.

(52.) Ibid.

(53.) Paul J. Marantz, "Neither Adversaries nor Partners: Russia and the West Search for a New Relationship," in R.E.Kanet and V.Kozhemiakin, The Foreign Policy of the Russia Federation (London: Macmillan Press, 1997), p.82.

(54.) Ibid.

(55.) Alexei Pushkov, "The 'Primakov Doctrine' and a New European Order," International Affairs (Moscow), Vol. 44, No. 2(1998), p. 12.

(56.) A.Tchistiakov, "Changes in the Middle East and the outside world," International Affairs (Moscow), No. 5(May 1994), p. 111.

(57.) Volker Borschnier and Christopher Chase-Dunn (eds.), The Future of Global Conflict (London: Sage, 1999), p. 247.

(58.) RFE/RL Newsline, p.I, August 29, 2000.

(59.) RFE/RL Newsline, p. I, August 29, 2000.

(60.) Alexander A. Sergounin, "Post-Communist Security Thinking in Russia: Changing Paradigms," CIAO-Columbia International Affairs online. Working papers, p.44.

(61.) Ibid.

(62.) A.Zagorsky, "Russia and the West," International Affairs (Moscow), Vol. 41, No.2 (February 1995), p. 38.

(63.) Serounin, p. 44.

(64.) R.O.Freedman, "Russian Policy Toward the Middle East: The Yeltsin Legacy and the Putin Challenge," Middle East Journal, Vol. 55, No. 1 (Winter 2001), pp. 59-60.

(65.)Interview by Primakov in the Italian journal Limes (June-September 1996) in FBIS-Central Eurasia (June 13, 1996), p. 25.

(66.) A.Malygin, "Novaia Situatsia na Blizhnem I Sredneem Vostoke," Mexhdunarodnaia zhizn, No. 10, 2000, p. 85.

(67.) The dilemma facing some of those people in the wake of the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington D.C. was presented by Andrei Fedorov, the director of political programs at the Council of Foreign and Defense Policy in Moscow. According to him, Russia faces a difficult choice. "If it joins the struggle against terrorism on a global scale, it will have to support the West...and hence disrupt many of its traditional ties with Arab countries; or keep aloof from the problem, which means that it will not quarrel with Arab countries but inevitably come into conflict with the West." Nezavisimaya Gazeta, 14 September 2001.

(68.) FBIS-NES. 2001-0609

Andrej Kreutz is an instructor in political science at the University of Calgary and a professor at the University of Lodz, Poland.
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Author:Kreutz, Andrej
Publication:Arab Studies Quarterly (ASQ)
Geographic Code:4EXRU
Date:Jan 1, 2002
Previous Article:Huntington and his critics: the West and Islam.
Next Article:Continuity in economic policy in postware Lebanon: the record of the Hariri and Hoss governments examined, 1992-2000.

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