Abstract: The Soviet Union emerged as one of the two leading powers in the Middle East in the 1950s, balancing out growing American influence in the region. The USSR’s presence there was based on the idea that military aid to Arab regimes would create a lasting political partnership and prepare them for a proxy war. The post-Arab Spring return of Russia to the Middle East scene is no longer guided by the ideological principles of the Cold War, but largely became possible due to the ties created with Arab regimes during that period. Following in the footsteps of its predecessor, Russia is using its vast defense industry to revive old alliances, but it also has an ambition to tap into lucrative new markets that were off-limits to it during the Cold War.