The working visits of Russian President Vladimir Putin to the UAE and Saudi Arabia on December 6, 2023, as well as the arrival of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi in Moscow on December 7, are important if only because they demonstrated the highest level of interest of the leading countries of the Middle East in cooperation with Russia in various industries, from coordinating efforts in the field of trade in classic hydrocarbons to investment projects in the high-tech industries.

The external attributes of the visits are really important, because the Near and Middle East is a space of symbols and gestures. Of course, Russia is effectively using the window of opportunity that opens up with the growing understanding by regional players of the impasse in American policy and the inability of the United States to play the role of mediator and peacemaker in the region. And the results of Vladimir Putin's discussions on possible options for overcoming the military-military impasse in Gaza will be in demand when the parties to the conflict mature to this. But we are talking about a much more strategically significant maneuver of Russian foreign policy, which implements the principles of a polycentric world in practice.

The immediate goal of Russian diplomacy is quite clear: to prevent the Persian Gulf states, with which Russia has developed sometimes difficult but quite working relations in recent years, from being drawn into the "vortex of chaos" that is obviously unfolding in the Eastern Mediterranean.

This "funnel" has acquired a clearly defined geographical vector: the area of the conflict has already encompassed the Red Sea, actually drawing the US naval forces into it. Taking into account the presence of influential groups in the American leadership, and bipartisan ones, who believe that the United States should set as its goal the preventive defeat of Iran's military-power and industrial potential, the likelihood of escalation of the conflict and its spread to Lebanon, and then to Iran, and therefore to the entire Persian Gulf, is more than significant. It is indicative that the United States, at the level of public rhetoric of officials and the political elite, is clearly playing for escalation, and the aggravation is anti-Iranian.

But the consequences of a major conflict in the Persian Gulf will not only affect the Middle East. They can cause a chain reaction of destabilization, partially affecting the post-Soviet space, strengthening radical religious sentiments there and creating risks for Russia itself.

The U.S. hoped that by creating strategic threats for China in East Asia and reducing its activity in the Middle East, where Beijing was at the center of many important processes, it would be able to gain greater opportunities to control the policies of even the largest countries, especially those that had close military and political relations with the United States. With its careful diplomacy, Russia is successfully neutralizing the efforts of the most aggressive part of the American government to chaotize the entire Near and Middle East.

Is Russia capable of playing the role of a political mediator? Absolutely. And it is important that Russia has proved that it is able to perform this function silently, without trying to remove momentary PR "points". And the question of Russia's ability to be a neutral "security donor" should also be answered in the affirmative, although this is not so easy, given the complex relations between the states of the region and the significant opportunities that the United States still has to manipulate these contradictions externally. After all, Washington was clearly counting on the possibility of using the traditional contradictions between Iran and the Arab oil monarchies to maintain its influence in the region. Attempts to return to the scenarios of a "color revolution" in Iran are also typical, which the United States does not hesitate to talk about.

The composition of the delegation that accompanied Vladimir Putin testifies to the existence of the maximum strategic task of Russian foreign policy and the seriousness of its formulation.

The task is to form a belt of sustainable economic growth and economic modernization not just along the North-South industrial and logistics corridor with the inclusion of adjacent states.

In fact, Russia is proposing the creation of a globally significant "belt of economic modernisation" that integrates various macro-regions, including political and, possibly, in the future, military-political agreements.

This is a strategic decision that demonstrates the inclusive nature of Russia's geo-economic projects, which take into account not only purely commercial aspects, but also security issues, as well as extremely difficult historical relations between various countries.

The North-South corridor should not divide the region, but integrate it, forming a wide swath of economic interaction, but on the basis of relations between sovereign states, and not on any form of extraterritoriality.

But this requires synergy with another emerging center of economic growth, and only Russia can do this – this is the uniqueness of its status and capabilities.

And how can we not recall that on December 5, a meeting of the foreign ministers of the Caspian Five countries was held in Moscow, which was chaired by Sergey Lavrov. In the future, such meetings will be held regularly, which indicates a significantly increasing level of coordination among the countries of the region.

The Russian president went to the UAE and Saudi Arabia, understanding the interests and needs of the Caspian countries, which are no less interested in the sustainable economic development of the region than Russia. It is also obvious that these countries, responsible and long-term thinking participants in regional cooperation, are ready to counter the efforts of external forces to destabilize both the South Caucasus and the Caspian Sea region in an anti-Russian spirit.

The geopolitical metaphor that has emerged in recent weeks between the part of the region where the United States has almost achieved a political monopoly on interstate mediation, pushing other international mediators to the sidelines, and where chaos is becoming the new geopolitical norm, and the space of respectful relations between sovereign states that ensure sustainable economic growth, is a formula that is scalable for other regions as well, as long as we are talking about the formation of a polycentric world, where the former economic and geographical division may no longer be relevant.

This week, which began with the president's visit to the Russia exhibition and forum at VDNKh and the invitation to foreign ambassadors, including those representing unfriendly states, to visit it, can be called Russia's strategic offensive, not only foreign policy.

Recall that this week ends with a large-scale investment forum "Russia Calling" on December 7-8, which outlines the possibilities of Russia as an economic system that has adapted not only to geopolitical, but also to geo-economic polycentricity earlier than others.

Against the backdrop of our country's economic, diplomatic, military and political successes, which seem obvious to everyone, even to its enemies, Russia is demonstrating the possibility of getting out of the impasse of development, into which the United States and its closest satellites have driven themselves and are trying to drive the rest of the world. Russia is open to cooperation, as the Russian president's visits to the Middle East have proved, and cooperation that takes into account not only commercial aspects, but also security issues. Those who want to develop will listen to Moscow and take advantage of the opportunities provided. Those who do not want to see these possibilities will continue to talk about the isolation of Russia, forgetting that "the isolation of Russia" is just a slogan that exists only in propaganda that is becoming out of touch with life.

The author's point of view may not coincide with the position of the editorial board.