In the past few years, Middle Eastern governments have deepened their ties with the Kremlin. Vladimir Putin and his regime were equally enthusiastic about intervening in Middle Eastern politics and propping up the region’s autocracies to restore Russia’s status as a global superpower. Today, both sides collaborate on various political and security issues affecting the Middle East. This relationship now influences how various Middle Eastern governments respond to the ongoing war in Ukraine. The response has been mostly ambivalent, as most of the region’s governments see Russia as a valuable ally that they cannot afford to alienate.
In 2017, Putin stated that the one who became the leader in AI would be the ruler of the world, adding that it would be undesirable if someone obtained a monopolist position and that Russia would share its discoveries with the rest of the world. It was likely his way of affirming dominance while letting the world know that Russia is ready to expand its intellectual boundaries. Putin even tried monopolizing the crypto market: when the central bank called for a ban on cryptocurrencies, Putin was against this decision. During a call on January 26, a month before invading Ukraine, Putin stated the potential and advantages Russia has in this field. This could have been a first red flag: If Kremlin was already planning an all-out war, they were likely expecting sanctions, hence, giving alternate ways of securing wealth a thought.
Ever since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Hungarian prime minister Orbán is having a hard time balancing his close relationship with Moscow while at the same time supporting EU measures against Russia and the condemnation of Russian aggression. Even though Hungary did not veto the EU’s sanction package on Russia, the country refuses to supply weapons and allow weapons transport through the country. Moreover, the government continues to reiterate that it is important to “keep the peace”, without mentioning the aggressor who started this war: Putin.