Abstract: The onset of the Arab uprisings in 2011 marked the beginning of not only a new order in the Middle East, but also the start of Russia’s “return” to the Middle East. Russia would increasingly position itself as one of the key actors which the new regional order would depend on. Researchers have mainly analyzed the Russian presence in the Middle East in terms of Moscow’s geopolitical interests. While such an approach is valuable, it does not fully encapsulate Russia’s true motives and strategies in the region. Specifically, overemphasizing Russia’s geopolitical interests hinders us from seeing the strong influence that domestic challenges, including the growing protest activity against the Russian regime in the 2010s, have played in shaping Russian policy towards the Arab uprisings.