GRM 2010 GRM 2011

Abstract Details

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Russia and the Countries of the Persian Gulf. The Main Principles of the Political and Economic Dialog.
Paper Proposal Text :
During the last two decades, the dynamics of Russian relations with the countries of the Persian Gulf has been extremely unstable, volatile and, to a certain extent, unpredictable for other players on the international arena. As stated by some political analysts, it is hard to find any other country (apart, probably, the Ukraine) whose relations with Moscow experienced such a huge number of drastic twists and changes as it was and still is in the case of some states of the Persian Gulf (first of all, Iran). The volatility of Russian relations with the Gulf countries could be explained by the fact that Moscow is devoid of a lucid and applicable foreign policy strategy on the region. Subsequently, this has the following implications for the Russian dialog with the states of the Persian Gulf:
First of all, in the absence of well-articulated top priorities there is no a united decision-making centre on the Persian Gulf in Russia which would be responsible for the formulation and implementation of the government strategy towards the region, its correction according to the current situation and emerging challenges as well as for coordination of the stances of Russian government and non-government structures dealing with different states of the Gulf. On one hand, the deficiency of this centre leads to the situation when Russia has different organisations discordantly acting in Iran and the Arab states whose goals are sometimes mutually exclusive. This, subsequently, brings additional disorder in the Russian relations with the countries of the region. On the other hand, the lack of a general strategy as well as a centre supervising its implementation is compensated by the existence of a number of smaller decision-making centres which emerged in almost every organisation or structure dealing with the. As a result, steps made by these centres, eventually, forms what is called “Russian foreign policy in the region”. However, decisions made by these organs are tactical, not strategic: they are mostly made on the base of situational judgements and according to current requirements.
Secondly, in the absence of clearly stated strategy and priorities, the dialog between Moscow and the countries of the Persian Gulf is primarily developing on the base of common guidelines determining the international behaviour of Moscow irrelatively to a region. Among these, the following could be named as the most important:
1. Pragmatism
2. Priority importance of Russo-American and Russo-CIS relations for Moscow’s diplomacy
3. Ensuring of the national security of Russia
4. Protection of the economic interests of the Russian political elite
5. Creation of the belt of stability around the border of the Russian Federation (This, in turn, implies the prevention of conflicts in the regions bordering with Russia, deterrence of WMD proliferation there as well as the counteraction to the military and economic penetration of the third countries in the neighbouring countries).
6. Counteraction to human and drug trafficking
7. Strengthening of the Russian presence in the regions traditionally considered by Moscow as a sphere of its strategic and historical interests (such as Central Asian, Trans-Caucasian, Caspian region as well as the region of the Persian gulf)
Thirdly, the absence of the unified strategy determining Russian activities in the region led to the emergence of a phenomenon when Russia deals with the Gulf countries on a case-by-case basis. In other words, the current dialog between them and Moscow is nothing but a result of the intersection of the Russian and Arab (as well as Iranian) interests in different issues. Moreover, these issues are not equal in importance and priority for Russia. Subsequently, this causes the situation when the attitude of Moscow towards the countries of the Gulf depends on the importance of each particular case for Russia and Russian approaches to it.