نوع مقاله : مقاله پژوهشی
دانشیار گروه مطالعات روسیه، دانشکدۀ مطالعات جهان، دانشگاه تهران
عنوان مقاله [English]
Since Putin’s presidency in 2000, efforts have been made to rebuild Russia’s position. The Russian state has taken various steps to maintain its military power in a state of “strategic parity” with the United States and “maintain global stability”, which has always been emphasized by Moscow’s official policies and strategic documents. Even in the last two decades, it has conducted several military operations outside Russia. One of the most important areas that were the laboratory of this claim was in the Middle East, especially in the Syrian crisis. Of course, Russia has tried to continue this role by strengthening relations with the countries of the region and has entered into other crises such as Yemen and Libya.
This behavior of Russia has led it to be considered as an attempt to revive the position of the Soviet era. Therefore, understanding the nature of Russian policy and its dimensions whether it is passive and tactical, or using an opportunity to project issues related to the Ukraine crisis, are some of the questions that need to be answered here. Therefore, the main questions in this article are: has the Russian government rebuilt its regional standing? If so, how and with what strategy has it been done? In answer to the above-mentioned questions, the author has tried to put forward one main hypothesis and two complementary hypotheses. The purpose of this article is to show the progress of Russia’s efforts in the Middle East especially in Syria, to increase its regional and international position through a set of political and military ideas, initiatives, and actions.
The first hypothesis is that “much of Russia’s standings have been due to the weakening position and confusion of the United States in the region and its policy of Pivot to Asia. But air operations, initiatives such as the chemical disarmament plan, de-escalation zones, the threshold process “Role-playing in the negotiations, communication with all parties to the crisis, the policy of regional balance and comprehensive regional engagement have revived Russia’s regional and international position.” The second hypothesis is that “despite this relatively successful policy and the promotion of Russia’s position in Western Asia, we must always keep in mind the obstacles, problems and even contradictions of Russia’s policy in the region, which can strengthen this position in the long run.” Thus, although the developments in the region have created conditions for the reconstruction of Russia’s position, this does not mean that this trend will play a decisive role in the overall state of Russian power. Therefore, the third hypothesis is expressed in such a way that “the power of any state must first be due to their internal situation, and as long as the process of internal development and modernization, and in the absence of this situation, external events, only act as a factor to prevent internal crises.” Given the fact that the current Russian state is very careful about increasing its foreign troop’s presence and spending and entering into a comprehensive international competition to avoid repeating the experience of the Soviet Union.
Although the main focus of this article is on Russia’s actions in the 2015-2020 Syrian crisis, it is inevitably necessary for some topics to consider more periods. Therefore, it is not possible to talk about reviving the power of this country without the main roots of this issue in previous decades and also analyze its policy in the Syrian crisis without considering regional and even international contexts of its rivalry with the United States. Of course, the dispersion and decentralization of topics should not be considered as a need for a more comprehensive analysis.
To examine the ideas of this article, an attempt has been made to first present a theoretical discussion and analytical model to better understand the angles of this issue. Then, the issue of the global recovery of Russian power will be considered from different perspectives, and in the next topic, the redefinition of its regional policy in the new era will be examined. Demonstrating power in the Syrian crisis and its actions and efforts is the focus of further discussions, and in the end, by analyzing its considerations and limitations and its future perspective, the conclusions will be presented.
Based on the above mentioned arguments, it can be concluded that the Russian government, even though in recent decades has faced three issues in the areas of official ideology, the position of empire and the status of international power (superpower position), but still has tried to maintain its global military position in Maintaining the framework of the principles of “strategic alignment” and “global strategic stability”. It has politically acknowledged that it is only one of the world’s five great powers and in the sphere of global influence, it is reducing its global obligations. But in response to international humiliation, by imposing pressure on the regional environment and preventing western interference in its internal affairs (in the context of NATO enlargement, EU enlargement, missile shield deployment, color revolutions, and interference in human and ethnic rights within the federation), has turned to an independent foreign policy by increasing its regional role and military engagement.
At the same time, Moscow has sought to justify these actions within the framework of the existing international system and the Westphalian order. Russia has been able to solve its domestic problems since 2000 by managing domestic policy and increasing oil and gas revenues, it has restored internal stability and security and has improved its economic conditions. It also maintains relative regional hegemony at the regional level by maintaining institutions such as the Commonwealth of the Independent States and the Collective Security Treaty Organization and the establishment and expansion of the Eurasian Economic Union, as well as the use of military force.
Regarding the reconstruction of Russia’s power in the Middle East, we should also pay attention to a set of possibilities and limitations of this country. As noted above, Russia has been rebuilding its regional position through a series of measures, the most important of which are: Establishing and expanding relations with different countries in the region based on the logic of realism and pragmatism and away from any ideological considerations concerning its relations with countries like Iran and Turkey to Saudi Arabia and Israel; Paying attention to the relative regional balance between important governments of the region; Aerial operations against terrorist groups. Since 2015 by taking some political initiatives such as chemical disarmament in Syria, the establishment of de-escalation zones to ensure the security of the people and transfer of humanitarian aid, and most importantly serious participation in peace initiatives and dialogue with various parties to the crisis, as well as holding tripartite meetings especially the Astana process, it has tried to consolidate its standing in the Syrian crisis in the face of some western powers especially the United States. The combination of these measures has made this country along with the Islamic Republic of Iran, win this crisis. But it is still uncertain whether Russia will pursue a broad Middle East policy in the long run.