Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund has agreed to invest $10bn in Russian infrastructure and economic development schemes, it emerged this week.
The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) said on 6 July it had inked the deal with the kingdom’s Public Investment Fund to finance 10 projects in Russia over the next five years in infrastructure, retail, logistics and agriculture, UK newspaper The Financial Times (FT) reported.
The first seven projects have already received preliminary approval and 10 projects in total are expected to be approved by the end of the year, RDIF chief executive Kirill Dmitriev said.
The agreement is surprising because Russian-Saudi relations have been strained by Russia’s support for Syrian president Bashar al-Assad.
But a thaw is apparent following the ascension to the Saudi throne of King Salman in January.Â
In February Saudi Arabia’s deputy crown prince and defence minister Mohammed bin Salman al-Saud led a delegation to the St Petersburg International Economic Forum, where he met with Russian president Vladimir Putin.
Kirill Dmitriev said RDIF had been working for more than a year to bring the Saudi investment fund to Russia.
"Sometimes the wind can help bring the ship to its destination," he said, according to the FT.Â
Photograph: Russian president Vladimir Putin meets with Saudi Arabia’s defence minister Mohammed bin Salman (Press Service of the President of Russia/Wikimedia Commons)