Saudi Arabia and Russia have a long story of the diplomatic relations, which were paused for five decades in 1938-1992. Time is flying, and countries are changing, it is an inevitable process, so, King Salman has to meet new Russian reality and its pragmatism.
Vladimir Putin and the late King Abdullah have created the bilateral relations gradually, thanks to both leaders, their countries reached the steadier ground, partially due to Russian president’s pragmatic foreign policy approach.
Over the last three years, unprecedented progress was made toward what both sides have seen as an untapped economic potential to be explored. Riyadh likes Russian pragmatism, in other words. The Arabian Spring and Syrian war conflict were the triggers of the tightening the diplomatic, political and economic relations between the countries.
Saudi-Russian relations are getting stronger
In 2015, Saudis have finished numerous deals with different sectors in Russia, including investment, support for developing Saudi Arabia’s nuclear energy plans, and partnerships in oil and gas.
In 2016, an agreement between Prince Mohammed and President Putin on the sidelines of a G-20 meeting in China is rumoured to have paved the way for the deal between Russia and the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) overproduction cuts later that year.
The year 2017 is also fruitful for the bilateral relations between Russia and Saudi Arabia. With the advancement of the Russian-led plan for “de-escalation zones,” and the Saudi stance that the Syrian opposition ought to unite and negotiate, some kind of compromise seems within reach.
Prince Mohammed visited Moscow in May, during his address, he said:
“As for the points on which we have differences, a clear mechanism exists to overcome them and we are progressing at a quick pace in this respect.”
From Kremlin’s perspective, with close ties to all other regional powerhouses, a deeper working relationship with Riyadh on key areas such as trade, energy and security is long overdue.