Russian President Vladimir Putin has arrived in Saudi Arabia at the start of a Middle East that will also take him to Qatar and Jordan.
No Russian leader has yet visited Saudi Arabia
It is the first time a Russian head of state is to visit these countries, considered allies of the West.
Moscow sees them as key to building new economic, political and even military ties with the Arab world.
Mr Putin is beginning what may be his last major visit to the Middle East as president.
Russian diplomats deny any notion of grandstanding, however, pointing to rapidly growing trade with the region, which in the case of Saudi Arabia, tripled last year.
King Abdullah II of Jordan has travelled to Russia six times over recent years; the Emir of Qatar has also visited.
While talks between Mr Putin, the accompanying Russian businessmen and diplomats, and their Arab hosts, are expected to focus on trade and business, Moscow has cautiously suggested introducing what it calls "military and technical ties" into the equation.
Some Russian commentators have suggested Mr Putin may be about to flex Russia's muscle by visiting countries traditionally considered to be pro-western.
But senior diplomats have played that idea down, stressing that the major factor is the potential market for conventional and hi-tech weaponry they represent.
Russian arms - like these Sukhoi jets - could be part of talks
Russia had close links with the Middle East during the Communist era, but the end of the Soviet Union saw it