Great things are in store as a soft power meets a superpower
Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Putin's visit comes at a time when the Middle East is reeling under tensions across a number of flashpoints.
When Russian President Vladimir Putin's four-engined, long-range, wide body Ilyushin Il-96-300PU aircraft touches down at the Presidential Airport in Abu Dhabi, it will be another feather in the cap of the UAE's soft power diplomacy. The UAE and Russia don't just share an exceptional relationship, the two great nations share a joint vision for the future, they have similar values, and are united by common objectives - peace and prosperity for their peoples and those of this region and beyond.
During this historic visit, Putin is scheduled to meet His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, to discuss matters related to trade and of strategic interest. Arriving directly after concluding his visit to Saudi Arabia, the Russian president's visit is set to give further fillip to the multidimensional partnership between Russia and the Gulf, and strengthen mutual understanding between like-minded nations. There are more than 3,000 Russian companies and 16,000 Russians in the UAE, testimony to their strong bonds of friendship, commerce and culture. Even as the two countries have shared bilateral ties since the foundation of the federation, recent years have seen the two come even further close, strengthening the bonds of friendship and enhancing commercial and diplomatic ties.
Last year, with the signing of the declaration of a strategic partnership between the two countries, those ties were elevated to an even higher dimension. Russia wields considerable influence in the geopolitics of the region. Putin's visit comes at a time when the Middle East is reeling under tensions across a number of flashpoints. On the one hand, the Turkish invasion of Syria is threatening to wipe out years of gains made against the terror outfit Daesh. On the other, the Iran-backed Houthi militia is trying to jeopardise the fragile equilibrium in the global oil trade by targeting key oil installation and tankers. A strategic union of the soft power of the UAE, the Russian superpower and the power of key Opec player Saudi Arabia will go a long way in ensuring peace, progress, prosperity, security and stability in the region.