Thus far, Iraq’s rapid unraveling has not been a major concern for Moscow. The situation in the country rarely features prominently in Russian news reporting — where Ukraine and Russian domestic matters dominate — and does not appear to be a top priority for senior Russian officials, though Russian President Vladimir Putin did recently express “full support” for Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s efforts to combat militants driving the Iraqi military from cities and towns in northern and western Iraq. Notwithstanding some important interests in Iraq and the Middle East, Russia’s government is unlikely to get too involved there.
Broadly speaking, as Fyodor Lukyanov has written in Al-Monitor, developments in Iraq have served primarily to confirm pre-existing views in Russia. This has multiple components. First, with respect to the United States, the new crisis has been an I-told-you-so moment — demonstrated by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s reminder of Moscow’s frequent assertions at the time of the US invasion that “the adventurism the Americans and the British started there would not end well.” This has been a regular refrain for Russian officials and commentators during every reversal since 2003.