Syrian graffiti artist Aziz al-Asmar, 35, puts the final touches on June 9, 2018 on his anti-Russian mural painting amid the rubble of a damaged building in the town of Binnish in Syria’s rebel-controlled Idlib province to draw attention to the Russia’s pro-regime role in the Syrian conflict ahead of the upcoming World Cup.
Photo by AFP
From 1917 until the late 1980s, Moscow’s interventions in conflicts around the world were driven by a desire to promote communist ideology. Since the fall of Soviet Union, the Kremlin has failed to make clear what added value, if any, Russian intervention could bring to the international scene. To better establish itself as a world leader today, Russia knows it needs to rebrand itself.
Whereas the West tends to justify its interest-based intervention in the Middle East by explaining its efforts as democracy promotion, Russia has pursued its interests in the region by trying to present itself as a problem solver. While it has been successful in reducing tensions in Syria, Russia’s conflict-mediation approach tends to be effective in freezing conflicts rather than resolving them.