Russia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are involved in the diplomatic relationships since 1971. However, the increase in development of the bilateral relationships is observed since 2003, and for the past decade, the significant progress has been achieved in the multiple areas of the countries’ collaboration. In the last few years, the total amount of the mutual investments between the countries has exceeded US $18 billion1. The non-oil commercial trade is considered to be of significant interest in the states and is regarded to be one of the directions for the further collaboration. The overall turnover in cross-countries trade has achieved US $ 2.5 billion, and as the collaboration will continue, the financial indications are expected to be increased.
Potential Benefits of the Collaboration with Russia
Many researchers claim that the Persian Gulf countries’ role in the global economy has increased. Therefore, the UAE and Russia collaboration benefits both countries because their governments recognize the opportunities for investments in the Middle East region and the consequent profits. Since Russia has economic and political power in the region, the alliance with the government of the country will assist the UAE in attaining a more advantageous position.
Nowadays, Iran is considered to be a crucial element to the security in the Persian Gulf region. Russia and Iran maintain the alliance of convenience – the technologic and military innovations are of the most significant interest for Teheran. Russia continues to invest in the Iran’s technologic development as both of the countries are currently exposed to the sanctions from the West. The protection of President Assad’s rule in the circumstances of the Syrian conflict is one more common interest of the two countries2.
The Russian government representatives acknowledge that the expansion of the cultural and economic relations with Teheran supports the regional security improvement. Due to the relationship maintenance, Russia gained influence over Iran. The Russian advantageous political position in the region induced Iran’s involvement in the discussion of the potential ways for the Syrian conflict’s resolving.
For UAE, the strengthening of ties with Russia is of strategic importance. Russian influence in the region has increased over the past decade. UAE can use the relationship with the friendly state as a benefit in the conflict resolution and peace-making processes. The conflicts between some of the Gulf countries are ongoing, and the military intervention proved to be of an insufficient and a short-term result. Thus, by increasing the economic power through trade partnerships, the UAE will increase its political influence as well.
Suggestions for the Bilateral Relationship Development
The future cooperation opportunities between UAE and Russia may be aimed at the field of energy, trade, tourism, and technological advancement in the hydrocarbon sector.
Recently, the UAE has introduced initiatives for the realization of the civilian nuclear energy program3. However, the Emirati government faces the environmental and technological obstacles on the way to the energy sector improvement and the assistance from Russia, in this case, can be beneficial for the UAE. The Russian energy companies remain highly competitive and profitable regardless the sanctions imposed by the European countries and the USA – the energy sector in the country is well-developed and may be considered as one of its advantages in the global market. Through the collaboration with the Russian government, the UAE will obtain the opportunity to overcome the obstacles on the way towards the energy sector improvement and will find a strong and reliable nuclear resources supplier.
While practicing the nuclear program, it is important to ensure its safety and security. The implication of the advanced technologies provided by Russian partners can support control and sustainability of the peaceful nuclear energy as well as decrease the nuclear waste and make the costs regulations more efficient.
The refinement of the trade relationship is one more opportunity for the ties strengthening. Nowadays, the mutual trade between Russia and UAE isn’t large-scale, and it doesn’t correspond to the potentials and interests of the both countries. Due to the Russian currency value depreciation, the government tries to attract the UAE financial institutions in an attempt to meet the growing financial demands4. Because of the sanctions imposition and the oil prices decrease, the Russian economy shrinks. For the country, the Middle East and Asia are the preferable directions for its economic flows movement and collaboration, and the investments from UAE would play a crucial role in the economic situation improvement. For UAE, commercial cooperation with Russia and the investments in its infrastructure is beneficial as well. First of all, commercial activity is one of the main resources of profitability. And secondly, as it was already mentioned, the political and economic influence of Russia in the Gulf region is of strategic importance for the UAE. Therefore, by supporting its economic sustainability, the Emirati government can contribute to its political power enforcement. The investments in the Russian economy may be regarded as the contribution to the strengthening of the diplomatic ties between the countries, and, as the result, the Emirates’ government will evolve its ability to control the regional conflicts.
Along with the development of the relationship with Russia, the UAE maintains collaboration with the USA. Since USA’s and Russian interests in the region are different, the current UAE-US relationships thus may be regarded as a possible challenge for the strengthening of collaboration with Russia. In case the Emirati government chooses to support Russian interests, its diplomatic relations with the USA will likely be deteriorated. In this case, the UAE will lose the investments from the US banks, and it will negatively affect Emirati economic sustainability.
The US government complies with the anti-terrorism policies, and the UAE is its ally in the region. The deterioration of the relationship between the countries thus may provoke additional political conflicts. The fact that the UAE isn’t a member of NATO can be regarded as a positive factor. In comparison to the European official organizations, Russia keeps up to the different methods of the peace establishment, and the Emirati non-membership thus will help to avoid the political tensions when attempting to support Russia.
“Russia/United Arab Emirates: Russia seeks to boost trade ties with UAE,” Asia News Monitor, 2015. Web.
Early, Brian. Acquiring foreign nuclear assistance in the Middle East, The Nonproliferation Review, vol. 17, no. 2, 2010.
“Russia hopes to open trade office in UAE by end of 2015,” Interfax: Russia & CIS Business and Financial Newswire, 2014. Web.
Issa, Antoun. “Russia-Iran Ties Warm Over Syria: Marriage of Convenience or Lasting Alliance?” The National UAE, 2015. Web.
- “Russia hopes to open trade office in UAE by end of 2015,” Interfax: Russia & CIS Business and Financial Newswire, 2014.
- Antoun Issa, “Russia-Iran Ties Warm Over Syria: Marriage of Convenience or Lasting Alliance?” The National UAE, 2015.
- Brian Early, Acquiring foreign nuclear assistance in the Middle East (The Nonproliferation Review, vol. 17, no. 2, 2010), 259.
- “Russia/United Arab Emirates: Russia seeks to boost trade ties with UAE,” Asia News Monitor, 2015.