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What is Russia’s thinking on Libya?

In its effort to pursue national security interests in the Middle East, Russia is increasingly involved in the conflict in Libya.

The head of Libya’s United Nations-backed government, Fayez al-Sarraj, undertook an official visit to Moscow to meet with top Russian diplomats and officials March 2-3. Russia has been stepping up efforts in Libya, which seems baffling outside the wide regional context. There is a popular opinion that Russian foreign policy, including planning in the Middle East, may sometimes be tactically impeccable but lacks strategic thinking. Some believe that unpredictability has been a hallmark of the Kremlin's foreign policy.

Russia’s revived interest in the Middle East goes back to Vladimir Putin’s second presidential term (2004-2008), and for a long while the authorities have focused on economic development and the need for most diversified economic ties. Their attitude has been typified by blunt pragmatism.

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