Russia’s intervention in Syria in 2015 marked the Russian Federation (RF) return as a key player in the Middle East and North Africa. In this context, the relations between Russia and the UAE are of utmost importance for both entities, for the region, and globally. This article seeks to fill a gap in scholarly knowledge by answering questions about the nature of the emerging cooperation between Russia and the UAE. How Russia seeks to use the UAE to expand its sphere of influence in the MENA region and how the UAE uses this cooperation to achieve its foreign policy goals. The article applies protocooperation (an analogy to the ecological relationship) as a model for the Russia-UAE partnership. The RF is strengthening its position in the MENA regarding the UAE as a key partner for regaining its political, economic, and military influence in the MENA region. Russia-UAE’s partnership aims at achieving conjunctural geopolitical interests benefiting from diminished Western, mainly the US, presence in the region.