PIR Center conducted an expert seminar on the topic “On Both Sides of the Persian Gulf: The Development of High-Tech Business in the Region and Russia’s Interests”

November 20, 2023

MOSCOW. NOVEMBER 17, 2023. PIR-PRESS. “Although the influence of external players in the high-tech market is growing in the region and the interstate competition is intensifying, while new actors are joining in and influence is increasing and redistributing among those involved, the favorable conditions for expanding Moscow’s presence there remain. Russia’s technological solutions are evaluated positively; the country’s media image is predominantly advantageous,” — Mr. Leonid Tsukanov, Consultant of the PIR Center Global & Regional Security: New Ideas for Russia Program. 

On November 9, 2023, PIR Center conducted an expert seminar on “On Both Sides of the Persian Gulf: The Development of High-Tech Business in the Region and Russia’s Interests” in frames of the Midweek Brainstorming Sessions

Mr. Leonid Tsukanov, Consultant of the PIR Center Global & Regional Security: New Ideas for Russia Program, presented the results of his research on the potential of the Persian Gulf States in high-tech. The author covered the Gulf monarchies and the successes and failures of the actors from the opposite shore — Iraq and Iran. Apart from that, attention was paid to the prospects of cooperation between the regional states and the Russian Federation. 

While opening the event, Dr. Vladimir Orlov, Founding Director of PIR Center and Professor at MGIMO University, addressed the participants and guests of the seminar with welcoming speech. Dr. Orlov drew attention to the importance and relevance of the agenda under consideration in the face of the growing interest in examining non-Western countries, which, as Dr. Orlov noted, have always been an important research area for PIR Center. He also shared his practical experience of interaction with representatives of the regional countries; in particular, he recalled the cooperation agreement (In Russian) with TRENDS Research & Advisory, Abu Dhabi, UAE, signed in May 2023. Dr. Orlov also outlined the strategic importance of studying the development of countries on both sides of the Persian Gulf in the field of high technologies for the PIR Center. 

In his presentation, Mr. Leonid Tsukanov addressed the positions of the states on both sides of the Persian Gulf, covering the prospects of Russia’s integration into the high-tech industries of the studied countries, possible competitors of Moscow, and the potential of multilateral cooperation in the field of high-tech. The attention was paid to cybersecurity and high technologies, energy, space research, and biotechnology. 

Based on the study results, Mr. Tsukanov presented the situation in Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, Iran, and Iraq. In particular, he touched upon the issues of economic development in the context of high-tech growth of the respective countries, successes in protecting the Internet space and possible obstacles on this path, as well as the geostrategic importance of the countries of the region and, therefore, drivers and obstacles to strengthening their positions in the field of high technologies. Then, Mr. Tsukanov covered the issue of the potential of cooperation with Russia, touching upon the media image of the Russian Federation, the level of Moscow’s involvement in the affairs of the region, and other aspects studied based on the poll conducted by the author. 

At the end of the seminar, an intense discussion took place. In particular, the comments and questions were addressed by Dr. Vadim Kozyulin, Head of the Center for Global Studies & International Organizations of the Institute for Contemporary International Studies of the Diplomatic Academy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, member of PIR Center Executive Board; Mr. Mikhail Baryshnikov, Director of Department for Innovations and Technologies at TENEX; Ms. Ekaterina Sokolova, Head of the Development and Innovation Sector of the Far Eastern Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences; and Mr. Roman Kalinin and Mr. Maksim Sorokin, PIR Center Interns. 

Thus, Dr. Vadim Kozyulin, noting the well-elaborated structure and substantive richness of the presented work, stressed the relevance of the study in light of Russia’s Turn to the East and indicated possible trajectories for further study within the agenda under discussion. He also drew attention to the poll conducted by the author, putting forward suggestions for improvement. Mr. Mikhail Baryshnikov addressed a question on the development of space programs in small countries (Bahrain, Oman, etc.), their scale, and ambitions. In addition, during the discussion, the methodology of analyzing the degree of involvement of major players in the affairs of the Persian Gulf states, the possibilities of cooperation between regional states and Russia in the field of cryptocurrencies, and the impact of hosting major international events on the high-tech development of countries on the example of Qatar and the 2022 FIFA World Cup were addressed. 

The record of the expert seminar is available on the PIR Center educational platform NONPROLIFERATION.WORLD (In Russian). 

The research has been done in frames of implementing the PIR Center and MGIMO University joint project “Global Security, Strategic Stability, and Arms Control” under the auspices of the Priority-2030 Strategic Academic Leadership Program. 

If you have any questions about PIR Center Midweek Brainstorming Sessions, please contact Ms. Elena Karnaukhova, PIR Center Deputy Director-Education & Training Program Director, via email edu@pircenter.org. 

Key words: Modern Technology; Middle East