Following the visit of Hamas to Russia, Moscow has said that it will strive to build a bridge between the Islamic world and the West. These sentiments are in line with Turkey, who also received the newly elected Palestinian leadership late last month. The Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was noted in the newspaper Moskovoskiye Novosti during the Hamas visit, "Russia is ready to play a bridging role between the Islamic World and the West. Russia, with its ethnic and cultural richness, deserves to play this role among different culture and civilizations."
These sentiments show a new partnership between Russia and Turkey in playing the role of mediator between the Islamic world and the West. Russia was the first non-Muslim country to receive the Hamas delegation, following a visit to Turkey late last month.
Lavrov noted that Russia will not turn against the Islamic world – there are some 20-28 million Muslims living in Russia today. He added that Russia wants to be a "full member" of the Organization of Islamic Conferences (OIC), in which it was accepted as an observer of in 2005.