From Moscow to Mecca: Russia's Saudi Arabian Diplomacy Russie.Nei.Visions, No. 52, June 2010
Relations between Russia and Saudi Arabia have never been as friendly as they were in 2009. After years of tension over Saudi support for Islamist fundamentalism in the post-Soviet space and Russia's proximity to Iran and Iraq, Moscow and Riyadh have progressively moved closer to each other.
This rapprochement was aided by the increasing complexity of their respective relationships with the US, concerns caused by the situation in Iraq and, between 2003 and 2008, rising fuel prices. Nevertheless, their relations are limited by their different interests in the energy field and are subject to the fluctuating political climate in the Middle East, notably with regard to the Iran dossier. Ultimately, by moving closer to Riyadh, Moscow primarily hopes to improve its political image and reaffirm its presence in the Arab-Muslim world. The Kremlin is hedging its bets and its relations with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia remain dependent on its relations with Washington.
Julien Nocetti is a consultant at Ifri's Russie/Nei Center. He is a graduate in International Relations, Geopolitics and Competitive Intelligence. He has worked in the Russian media, at the French Ministry of Defense and in management consulting.
Russie.Nei.Visions is an electronic collection of policy papers published in French, English and Russian by the Russia/NIS Center, Ifri.