Since he first became president of Russia at the end of 1999, Vladimir Putin has sought to improve Russian relations with the six states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). A large part of his motivation has been economic: Putin and the powerful Russian economic interests that support him see great potential in the GCC states both as a market for Russian exports (including weapons, nuclear reactors, and railroads) and as a source of investment into the Russian economy. There has also been a geopolitical dimension to Putin’s efforts to improve relations with the GCC states. While not expecting to displace the close ties between the GCC states and the United States, Moscow has long sought to take advantage of dissatisfaction among the countries of the GCC concerning American foreign policies in order to bring them closer to Russia.
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