Professor Irina Zvyagelskaya – Institute of Oriental Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences
EMF Conference 5-7 December 2016
Before the eruption of the Arab Spring, the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East were not of the greatest importance for Russia. This has changed over the last years. The continuing chaos, the collapse of state institutions, and the emergence of various jihadi organisations competing for power in the region have caused a serious security threat and concern about possible spillover of violence into Russia. At the same time the retreat of the United States from the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East has propelled the rise of local powers which have joined the regional power struggle. These developments have led to a change of the Russian policy in the Eastern Mediterranean and its greater engagement in the region.