Russia's relations with Syria - even under the Assad regime - have been more troubled than current press accounts of Moscow-Damascus ties indicate. But despite the internal and external opposition to the Assad regime that has risen up over the past year, the Russian government has defended it staunchly via its Security Council veto and other means. In his talk, Mark Katz will discuss why Moscow supports the Assad regime so strongly as well as why it is willing to incur the costs of doing so.