Russia-GCC Cooperation

For the last five years, the Russian government has been vigorously developing relations with the GCC countries supporting the development of mutual trade and expanding the scope of cooperation. For example, in 2022 the trade turnover between Russia and the UAE reached a historical maximum and exceeded $9 billion. As for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, there are prerequisites for a significant growth of its trade turnover with Russia, up to $5 billion by the end of 2023. 

Actively maintaining and growing business and trade relations with all the GCC countries is always supported by the Russian government which allows businesses and institutions to capture growing opportunities in vital sectors of agriculture, energy, advanced technology, health and tourism, and others. The long-standing business, economic and strategic partnership between the GCC countries and Russia are confirming the common will of both sides to further develop these relations for the sustainable future of their peoples.

In 2022 a  large number of  events aimed at developing economic, political, and cultural ties between Russia and the GCC countries took place both online and offline. A list of the most significant events is available on the right. These events clearly show not only the increased focus of Russian manufacturing and service companies on entering the market of the GCC countries but also the growing interest of Russian distributors and retail chains in the products of the GCC exporters.

Economic Sphere

The UAE and Russia are developing close cooperation links in different economic spheres, and in the coming years, it is likely to affect even the space industry. During 2022, several events in the economic sphere took place in both countries, which confirm that they are eager to build mutually beneficial relations, including:

  • In Moscow, the MOSCOW-GCC 2022 International Teleconference was held, which was aimed at building up international cooperation and partnership between Arab and Russian business communities.
  • The UAE delegation visited the 25th St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF-2022).
  • Russian companies took part in a number of international exhibitions, which took place in the GCC countries: ADIPEC in Abu Dhabi; Intersec, Arab Health, GITEX and the Big 5 in Dubai; Foodex and Intersec in Riyadh, etc.
  • The management of the Moscow Chamber of Commerce and Industry held meetings with the Heads of the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Besides, companies find new opportunities attractive and possible cooperation fruitful. Thus, from the end of February to the end of September 2022, about 700 Russian enterprises opened their representative offices in the UAE. The indicator increased 5-7 times in comparison with the data for the year before.

Political Sphere

Political cooperation with the GCC countries continues to be constructive despite the difficult political situation in the world. One of the most telling indicators of it is that Russia remained in the OPEC agreement+. Moreover, Russian relations with the UAE have the potential to become even closer in the coming years. For example, the UAE may soon become a full member of the SCO — the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

The fact that relations with the UAE are on the right track can be illustrated by major events in this sphere, which took place in 2022:

  • On October 11, President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin and President of the United Arab Emirates Mohammed Al Nahyan met in St. Petersburg. The Embassy of the Emirates stated that the visit of the President of the UAE testifies to the strong friendly relations linking the country with Russia.
  • On November 3, 2022, the  Head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, Sergey Lavrov, arrived on a working visit to the United Arab Emirates, where he met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, in Abu Dhabi. The parties discussed ways to enhance the bilateral strategic partnership in various fields.

Thus, cooperation is taking place at the highest possible level, and it brings results.

Socio-Cultural Sphere

Russia and the GCC countries are enthusiastic to develop not only economic and political ties, but also to create strong links on the socio-cultural level. The examples of this trend in bilateral relations are:

  • In 2022, the Days of Cultural Heritage of Russia in the UAE, organized by the Ministry of Culture of Russia, were held in Dubai.
  • Russia and the United Arab Emirates continue to strengthen cooperation in the field of medical education and advanced training of medical personnel, which is confirmed during a recent conversation between the Deputy Ministers of Health of Russia and the UAE, Evgeny Kamkin and Amin Ameri.

Besides, the flow of Russian tourists to the Emirates has also increased. In total, about 366-386 thousand Russians came to the UAE in the first half of 2022 as tourists — according to this indicator, Russian citizens occupy the fifth place among the key inbound tourist flows. Such a flow of tourists leads to an increase in the number of members of the Russian-speaking community in the UAE. Thus, ties between the two countries are becoming stronger even on the level of ordinary people.

To conclude, Russia and the GCC countries continue to develop their ties in different spheres. They work on existing projects and take on new opportunities. Taking into account the information mentioned above, in 2023 business cooperation between Russia and the GCC countries will certainly become stronger and remain mutually beneficial.