Russia’s Planned Naval Logistics Base on the Red Sea: Regional Security Implications

Publication type Article
Status Published
Occupation: Leading Researcher, Head, Centre for Tropical Africa Studies, Institute for African Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences,
Affiliation: Institute for African Studies, RAS
Address: Russian Federation, Moscow
Occupation: Leading Researcher, Head, Centre for Sociological and Political Sciences Studies, Institute for African Studies, RAS
Affiliation: Institute for African Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences
Address: Russian Federation, Moscow
Journal nameAsia and Africa Today
EditionIssue 5

In 2020, it was announced that Russia signed an agreement with Sudan on the establishment of a naval centre on the Red Sea. While the agreement still has not been ratified by Sudan’s legislative body, which has not been formed, in February 2023 Sudan’s military authorities declared their support for the construction of the Russian naval facility after having reviewed terms of the treaty, which has made the implementation of the project most probable to date.

Over the past decade, Moscow has repeatedly demonstrated its desire to obtain naval facilities in the region; this has arguably become a central theme of Russian negotiations with littoral countries. The paper will argue that Russia’s naval presence in the Red Sea and adjacent areas serves the interest of littoral and neighbouring countries in light of Moscow’s historic and contemporary interests, approaches and objectives in the region. The fact that regional powers have already engaged in what has been conceptualized as ‘strategic hedging’ – a geopolitical strategy by which states pursue policies that are in their national interests while not openly antagonizing ‘the hegemon’ – is likely to offer Russia a corresponding window of opportunity.

KeywordsAfrica, Russia, Sudan, Red Sea, strategic hedging, naval logistics centre, naval base
AcknowledgmentThis paper has been prepared in the framework of the project of the Russian Science Foundation, № 21-18-00123 and was originally presented at ‘2022 Gulf Research Meeting’ held by University of Cambridge on 14–16 July 2022.
Publication date19.06.2023
Number of characters29349
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