Russian expert: Yerevan's position irritates Moscow
    Prof. Tkachenko on the purpose of Lavrov's visit to Baku

    INTERVIEWS  27 February 2023 - 16:55

    Vadim Mansurov

    The visit of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to Baku starts today and promises to be full of meetings with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov, participation in the plenary session of the Russian-Azerbaijani Expert Council (RAEC) and others.

    One of the reasons for Lavrov's trip was the obvious rift between Moscow and Yerevan, and judging by the latest statements of the Russian Foreign Ministry, the tension is only growing. At the same time, the positions of Azerbaijan and Russia in this context are largely converging: both Baku and Moscow see the presence of a large-scale European Union mission in Armenia as a threat that is clearly not pursuing peaceful interests. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zakharova bluntly stated that the EU mission can hardly be called "civilian" and that its main objective is to drive Russia out of the South Caucasus. Baku and Moscow tend to see this attempt of the Europeans to infiltrate the Caucasus as a new strategy of geopolitical interference.

    However, Armenia seems to have taken a very peculiar attitude to Lavrov's visit to Baku: it is precisely this trip, as many Azerbaijani experts note, that is associated with the intense shelling of our border on the eve of his arrival in the country. Apparently, this is how the Armenian side wants to show that not everything depends solely on Moscow.

    So, how successful will Lavrov's visit be against the background of the developments in the region? What will Baku and Moscow agree on?

    In a conversation with Caliber.Az, Stanislav Tkachenko, a political scientist, doctor of economic sciences, and professor at St. Petersburg State University, who will also take part in the upcoming plenary session of the RAEC as part of the Russian delegation, noted that Lavrov's visit to Azerbaijan is primarily part of a diplomatic dialogue at a high political level.

    "Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov visited the Russian Federation at the end of 2022, and this visit can be seen as reciprocal. However, I would highlight two key aspects: on the one hand, Moscow and Baku are discussing regional issues concerning security in the South Caucasus and in the wider Middle Eastern context. But now a new topic is added: the practical implementation of the North-South corridor and the consequences of the terrible earthquake in Türkiye for regional relations," Tkachenko said.

    Therefore, in his words, the regional aspect in the negotiations will clearly relate to the negotiations between Armenia and Azerbaijan, the prospects for a peaceful settlement, "including the discussion of the problem of determining the state border and the regime of access from 'mainland' Azerbaijan to Nakhchivan. These points that will constitute "the main subject of the negotiations", but in general, the political analyst suggests, the content of the visit will include issues of bilateral relations and the broader regional context.

    "I very much hope for a creative and friendly atmosphere, which exists in Azerbaijani-Russian relations both at the highest political level, between our presidents, and at the level of foreign ministers. I am sure that this visit will contribute to the development of our bilateral relations," Tkachenko said.

    As for the current relations between Moscow and Yerevan, Russia has always respected the multi-vector policy of the CIS countries, considering it one of the signs of the sovereignty of the states. However, he did not fail to stress that Moscow does not like what is happening now in relations between the European Union and Armenia.

    "Precisely because there is no equal sovereign cooperation here. Rather it is a matter of opportunistic attempts to use the EU as a tool to put pressure on Azerbaijan and at the same time try to influence Russia by associating Yerevan with the EU as one of Moscow's most acute and dangerous opponents on the international arena today. I think the current diplomatic cooling between Russia and Armenia is a trend that will continue all the time until the conflict is resolved until a peace treaty is signed between Azerbaijan and Armenia. Russia, like Azerbaijan, understands perfectly well what that peace treaty and its terms should be, and the fact that Armenia is dragging out the implementation of the almost agreed terms of the treaty causes Moscow a lack of understanding and even some irritation," Tkachenko summed up.


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