The Middle East is not among the priorities of the Russian foreign policy agenda, but the region plays both now and historically a central role in Moscow’s calculus. This is mainly related to Russia’s aspiration to enjoy a Great Power status. The Mediterranean does not constitute the basis for defining and conceptualizing a region in the strategic thinking of the Russian Federation. In fact Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is the prevalent term in the official documents. Russia’s official discourse does not coincide with that of the European Union. There are some potential complementarities when it comes to security and stability, but strategic distrust will prevail in the foreseeable future. Moscow presents itself as a stability-provider confronting the West. Hence there is a limited ground for effective and meaningful cooperation despite apparent shared goals of fighting terrorism or preventing further destabilization.

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