​The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) that once actively participated in the Cold War (1946-91) against the Soviet Union now appears for Russia as a prospective area for intervention, business, and future collaboration. With its established "smart power" in the Gulf region, the Kremlin distinguishes itself from all other intervenors in the region's conflicts and in its ability to engage with all parties regardless of where they stand, offering them both neutral intervention and air defence systems S-400s: a neutral intervention that engages with all parties without taking sides to support peace negotiation and S-400s to support their arms race when they decide to escalate. This chapter focuses on examining the extent to which Russia's smart power has been able to transform its relationship with the countries of the Gulf region and build collaborations that meet the interests of both sides. Additionally, the chapter will discuss how GCC countries see Russia's capacities to be a broker in Gulf conflicts (e.g. with Iran) and with other regional ones like that of Syria and Libya.

To cite: Fraihat, Ibrahim, and Yegor Lodygin. "Broker, Partner, or Troublemaker: Russian Involvement in Regional Conflicts and GCC Interest." Essay. In Russia's Relations with the GCC and Iran, edited by Nikolay Kozhanov, 271–92. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2021.