Scholars of most academic disciplines across the social sciences have a fondness for comparing different regions in order to evaluate why one may be developing more rapidly than another, why democracy may be stalled in one region or flourishing in another, or why the benefits foreseen by economic reform have proven less conclusive in some regions when compared to oth¬ers. Despite the array of comparative works, a close examination of relations between Russia, the former Soviet republics and the monarchies of the Arabian Gulf is a topic which has seldom received in-depth coverage in the comparative social studies discipline. This is largely due to the fact that the study of their relations would not have been possible in any meaningful manner until quite recently given that relations between the former Soviet Union and the Gulf practically did not exist until the end of the Cold War. This is, to some degree, a paradox given that the Eurasian states of the CIS have a well established record of political, economic and cultural links with the broader Middle East.

We should note from the outset that relations between the former Soviet republics, now often referred to as the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), and the Middle East have evolved on the basis of two general sets of factors: internal and external.