Russia in the Eastern Mediterranean

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This webinar examines Moscow’s view of the broader region encompassed by the Black Sea, North Africa and the Gulf, assessing the strategic nature of its policies and activities, and reflecting on the lessons of its interventions in Syria and Libya. 

September marked the fifth anniversary of Russia’s intervention in the Syrian Civil War. During this time, Russia’s presence across the region has substantially grown. Indeed, Russia’s involvement in the conflicts in Syria and Libya has seen Moscow breakout of the Black Sea to establish a security presence in the East Mediterranean and develop strengthening economic and energy relations with Egypt, Libya and Algeria. There is also renewed Russian interest in the Horn and East Africa, together with growing ties to the Gulf and beyond. Intensified diplomacy and growing economic activity has come alongside greater military presence in the region: in late 2019, the Russian navy participated in a major exercise in the Gulf of Oman with Iran and China.
The combination of these developments points to an emerging Russian interest in a diverse security space straddling the Middle East, Europe and Africa and bringing together maritime and land-based security agendas. This trajectory of greater engagement by a range of state and non-state actors offers a good case study for examining the drivers of Russia’s foreign and security policy, notably whether Moscow’s activity can be understood as strategic or merely opportunistic, and for assessing how Moscow is learning lessons from its interventions.
  • To what extent does Russian activity reflect Grand Strategy, rather than opportunism?
  • What lessons has the Russian leadership learnt at the strategic and operational levels in Syria and Libya?
  • What is Moscow seeking to achieve by its renewed engagement in the broader region?
  • Michael Kofman, Center for Naval Analyses, Washington DC
  • Professor Dima Adamsky, Lauder School of Government, Diplomacy and Policy, IDC Herzliya, Israel
  • Dr Maxim Suchkov, MGIMO, Moscow
  • Dr Florence Gaub, EU Institute for Security Studies, Paris

Chair: Dr Andrew Monaghan, Senior Associate Fellow, RUSI

This webinar forms part of the International Security in Transformation programme within RUSI's International Securiy Studies research. To keep up to date with the programme please sign up to the newsletter here. For more information about engaging with the programme please email Jeremy Wimble.

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