Posted on February 27, 2020

The Gulf Studies Center in collaboration with the Ibn Khaldon Center for Humanities and Social Sciences held roundtable conference titled “Russia and the Gulf: Alternative Perspectives” at Qatar University (QU) Administration Building.

The conference offered insight into the motives behind Moscow’s behaviour in the Gulf, considering Russia’s growing role in the Middle East and its desire to protect national interests using a wide arrange of means.

In contrast to most studies of Russia’s presence in the Gulf, the panel highlighted traditional areas of Russian involvement in the region from two stand points – the Russian angle and foreign experts (primarily from the Middle East and Europe). The conference also discussed the analysis of bilateral relations between Russia and the GCC. Instead, it looked into the areas of divergence and convergence between Moscow and the Gulf on the wide arrange of regional and international issues including but not limited to the Syrian civil war, Iran’s regional activities and Qatar’s blockade.

The event also demonstrated that apart from Russia’s broader confrontation with the West, occasionally wrongly acknowledged by analysts as the only key factor determining the context of Russia’s presence in the Gulf, there are other no less important factors shaping Russian diplomacy in the region. These include new global challenges (such as the evolution of global energy market under the influence of the US shale revolution) as well as Russian economic interests and domestic policies that push Moscow towards the greater interaction with the region.

In accordance to its mission, Gulf Studies Center in cooperation with the Ibn Khaldon Center for Humanities and Social Sciences are implementing and advancing Qatar University’s vision of developing research and academia in Qatar and the region. Therefore, this conference on the Russian foreign policy brought together scholars, policy makers, local stakeholders and students from a wide-range of areas (international relations, diplomacy, economy and etc) to engage in distinct debates on a number of important themes related to the Russian relations with the Gulf.

Given the current Middle Eastern conflicts, tensions and insecurity, special attention was paid to the study of challenges for the development of cooperation between Russia and the GCC.