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CIC National Capital (Ottawa): The Russian Role in the Middle East: Past, Present and Future (Online event)

October 6, 2021 @ 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm EDT


This next virtual event of CIC National Capital Branch’s Middle East Study Group features Professor Nikolay Kozhanov who will review Russia’s involvement in the Middle East. It will be moderated by Gill Breton, a distinguished former Canadian diplomat who had three assignments at the Canadian Embassy in Moscow, during and after the Cold War.


Russian interest in the Middle East is an extension of an old Czarist thrust for an outlet to the Persian Gulf, dating from the time of Peter the Great. That interest was overlaid with the ideological desire for a worldwide USSR hegemony. After the collapse of the USSR, increasing Russian military interest in the Middle East seems both to protect its own interests in the area and to threaten the vital interests of the PRC, Europe, and the United States. During the Anglo-Russian Great Game and WWI, old Czarist Russia caused severe harm to Persia by balkanizing and annexing its northern and eastern provinces in the Caucasus and Central Asia, as well as crushing Persia’s popular democratic movement in support of constitutional monarchy. During WWII, the USSR in collaboration with Britain invaded Persia/Iran to take over the Iranian oil fields and other resources. Persia/Iran was neutral during both World Wars.

Bios of Panelists:

Nikolay Kozhanov is a Research Associate Professor at the Gulf Studies Center of Qatar University. He is also a Consulting Fellow at the Russia and Eurasia Programme of Chatham House and Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Middle East Studies at the Institute of World Economy and International Relations (IMEMO) under the Russian Academy of Science. His research interests are focused on the geopolitics of the Gulf hydrocarbons, Russian foreign policy in the Middle East as well as Iran’s economy and international relations. Nikolay holds a PhD in economics from St.Petersburg State University and an MA degree in Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Exeter. His recent publications include Russia and the Syrian Conflict: Moscow’s Domestic, Regional and Strategic Interests (Gerlach Press 2016); Iran’s Strategic Thinking: The Evolution of Iran’s Foreign Policy 1979-2017. (London, Berlin: Gerlach Press, 2018) and Russian Policy across the Middle East: Motivations and Methods (Chatham House 2018).

Gilles Breton is Chairman of the National Board of the Canada- Eurasia-Russia Business Association (CERBA). He retired from government in 2012 after a 36-year career with the Department now called Global Affairs Canada. During his career in the Canadian Foreign Service, Gilles Breton had three assignments at the Canadian Embassy in Moscow. His first posting there began during the Soviet period, in 1983. His last was from 2008 to 2012 as Minister-Counsellor and Deputy Head of Mission. He also served as Deputy Director responsible for Canadas relations with Russia from 2000 to 2008. As an international civil servant, he was Deputy Director of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights in Warsaw from 1994 to 1997.



October 6, 2021
Heure :
5:00 pm - 6:00 pm EDT
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CIC NCB Middle East Study Group