The global withdrawal of the United States that began under President Obama has been dramatically accelerated by the Trump Administration, leaving a power vacuum that other players are attempting to fill. In particular, the U.S. seems bent on abdicating its role as security provider and power balancer in the MENA region, including the Gulf. This has allowed regional players and outside actors to forge a larger role in the region as power begins to shift. The ongoing redistribution of power is redounding to the benefit of a newly resurgent Russia which, despite its relative weakness, may be set to overtake the United States as the dominant power in the Middle East region.Putin has been quick to capitalize on US efforts to scale back its commitments and guarantees, and to present Russia as a reliable ally, unlike the inconsistent, erratic and unpredictable policies of the current American president. Trump’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal with no backup plan in place, his flip-flops on the rift between Qatar and other members of the GCC, his abrupt withdrawal of troops in Syria and the abandonment of the Kurdish allies, and his pledge to “take the oil,” cannot leave Gulf leaders feeling confident in the Administration’s competency or good will. Trump’s rhetoric on withdrawing US naval forces that protect freedom of navigation in the Gulf have led Iran to feel free to threaten oil tankers in the Gulf, attack major Saudi oil installations by drone strikes, and accelerate its ability to stockpile nuclear fuel.Russia (along with Iran) has been the main beneficiary of the perception of US withdrawal. Russia has already sent combat troops to Syria to fill the vacuum left by the U.S. withdrawal, offered to mediate several regional disputes, including the crisis in Yemen and the GCC rift, and increased military and economic aid and cooperation with Saudi Arabia. It has been careful to stick by its Syrian, Turkish and Iranian allies without alienating its nascent relations with the Gulf states. Russian and GCC interests are moving closer together on the issue of oil production as U.S. shale oil production increases and is seen as a competitor to both Russia and OPEC. These shifting power dynamics make this an opportune time to look more closely at the capacity, objectives and limitations of Russia’s role in the Gulf region.While Russia’s role in the Gulf has become enhanced, the GCC-Central Asian relationship remains anemic. However, there are signs of potential avenues of cooperation and collaboration, especially in the energy sector. Turkmenistan has been seeking investment from the Gulf for its TAPI natural gas pipeline, Kazakhstan has been successful in its quest for UAE and Kuwaiti investment in its flagship nuclear energy project, and Uzbekistan presents new opportunities as it moves to open up its economy to foreign investors.