Russia provoked anger in some countries February when it invited a Hamas delegation to Moscow. The group won a landslide victory during elections to the Palestinian Authority in January.
"Hamas was elected democratically, and I do not consider it to be a terrorist group," Yevgeny Primakov, who is also an authority on the Middle East, said at a meeting of experts.
Primakov said Hamas evolved significantly after it came to power in the Palestinian Authority, although its "military wing" has been involved in a number of terrorist acts.
He said Israel's desire to remove Hamas from its leading position in the Palestinian government using political and economic measures was shortsighted.
"I believe the Israeli government proved its shortsightedness when it refused to established contacts with Hamas," Primakov said. "They [the Israelis] will have to do it sooner or later."
"At the same time, I think Hamas must establish good relations with the Palestine Liberation Organization, because confrontation will not help stability in Palestine and the region," he said.