Abstract: The success of the Russian military in Syria against all odds has reignited the debate as to what guides Vladimir Putin in the Middle East and whether Syria is only a harbinger of its ambitions. While it is true that the Middle East is an element in the power struggle between Russia and the United States, the Kremlin’s goals are far broader and the region is not the goal in itself. The return of Russia was largely incentivized by the Arab Spring, which threatened to rid Moscow of its last remaining regional ally. The Russian leadership saw these events as a continuation of the Color Revolutions in the post-Soviet Union space and feared a similar fate. A return to the Middle East was also necessary for better oversight over Russian Muslims who, the Kremlin still believes, could be used as a lever against Moscow by regional powers.