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Analysis: Russia’s Mideast Actions Show Bid for Superpower Status

"The interesting thing is that in most cases, Russia is in the driving seat and Trump will simply react"

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    Mikhail Klimentyev/Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP
    Russian President Vladimir Putin, center, and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, left, listen to Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu in Moscow, Russia on Dec. 29, 2016.

    This week, Moscow hosted a summit of divided Palestinian factions that yielded a fresh unity agreement. And on Sunday, Russian diplomats will again unite prominent Syrian rebel groups and regime negotiators in Kazakhstan for a peace summit.

    Promoting Russia's status as a major global power is part of Putin's push to compensate for domestic failures, Alexey Malashenko, a Russia analyst with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace's Moscow Center, told NBC News.

    Russia's ambitions may get another boost following Donald Trump's inauguration on Friday.

    "I think the common thread is [Putin] positioning in view of a deal with Trump," said said Mattia Toaldo, a Middle East analyst at the European Council on Foreign Relations. "The interesting thing is that in most cases, Russia is in the driving seat and Trump will simply react."

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