This extraordinary book charts the development of Russia’s relations with the Middle East from the 1950s to the present. It covers both high and low points – the closeness to Nasser’s Egypt, followed by reversal; the successful invasion of Afghanistan which later turned into a disaster; the changing relationship with Israel which was at some time surprisingly close; the relationship with Syria, which continues to be of huge significance; and much more. Written by one of Russia’s leading Arabists who was himself involved in the formation and implementation of policy, the book is engagingly written, extremely insightful, telling us things which only the author is in a position to tell us, and remarkably frank, not sparing senior Soviet and Russian figures from criticism. The book includes material based on the author’s conversations with other leading participants.

chapter |10 pages


chapter 1|18 pages

Sources of Messianism and pragmatism

chapter 2|32 pages

The rise and fall of Nikita S. Khrushchev

chapter 3|69 pages

Up the down staircase

The era of Leonid Brezhnev

chapter 5|11 pages

An exotic flower of Arabia

chapter 7|31 pages


Russia’s unhealed wound

chapter 8|14 pages

Messianism in decline

The time of Mikhail Gorbachev

chapter 9|23 pages

Foreign policy and domestic policy

The USSR, Israel and the Palestinians

chapter 10|27 pages

Storms in alien deserts

chapter 11|41 pages

Cursed Nineties

chapter 12|50 pages

To return, but how?

chapter 13|48 pages

The children devour their revolutions

chapter 14|46 pages

The Syrian tragedy

The birth of the monsters

chapter 15|27 pages

The argument of the Aerospace Forces

chapter |12 pages