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Russia in the Mediterranean: Strategies and Aspirations

Anna Borshchevskaya and Mohamed Eljarh

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January 2018

Two experts distill key points from their Mediterranean Advisory Group meeting on Russian policy in the Middle East and surrounding regions.

The West has yet to come up with a clear and effective way of reacting to the growing Russian presence in the Mediterranean and the MENA region as a whole. Europe for its part has to be a player, not just a payer. To get there, it has to develop real strategic tools and goals that take into account the Russian strategy of seeking to preserve the status quo and maintain order—as Moscow defines it. More broadly, the West has to find a way to deal with the semblance of stability this Russian approach creates in the region. Moscow has neither the desire nor the ability to help conflicting parties peacefully resolve grievances. Quite the contrary, Moscow is more likely to fan the flames of low-level conflict because it would justify Russia's presence in the region under the cloak of an indispensable partner, while simultaneously undermining the West. At the same time, Russia's own future remains uncertain. But until Western policymakers develop a better understanding of Moscow's true goals and consistently pursue a clear vision towards Putin's Russia, the Kremlin will find ways exploit weakness...

Download a PDF of the full report from the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung website.