Our Analytics 7 october — 12:39

Wave of Ilham Aliyev and Vladimir Putin (Results with Azeri Daily)

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BY ELNUR EMINOGLU

Participation of the President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev in the work of the Valdai International Discussion Club in Sochi was more remembered by his historical statement 'Karabakh is Azerbaijan, and that's all there is to it!' Given the time, place, level, context and significance of this political declaration, the statements of the head of state attracted the attention of the world expert community and the post-Soviet public. Even in Armenia itself, the critical voices of politicians and leading social forces raised against the narrow-minded and amateurish approach of the Armenian government, led by Prime Minister Pashinyan, who deliberately torpedoed the Karabakh settlement and brought the two warring countries to a dangerous confrontational line.

Not only Azerbaijani politicians and the media, but also the Russian public continues to comment on the results of the Forum, as well as the political challenges outlined in the speech of President Ilham Aliyev.

'The main idea of the speech of President Ilham Aliyev concerned the conflict around Nagorno-Karabakh. The president of Azerbaijan spoke in detail about the history of the conflict, about the impasse that the negotiations entered into. He spoke about the ongoing hostilities: shortly before his speech, information appeared that an Armenian sniper killed an Azerbaijani - a civilian. To the Yerevan formula, which states that 'Karabakh is Armenia, and that's that,' President Ilham Aliyev contrasted another: 'Karabakh is Azerbaijan, and that's all there is to it!' said in an interview Alexander Prokhanov, a well-known Russian writer and journalist, leader of the Izborsk Club. The writer himself attended meetings of the Valdai Club.

Alexander Prokhanov

According to Prokhanov, it was about conflict situations in Asia, about places where these conflicts take on a 'military form.' Ilham Aliyev pointed to the constructive approach of Russian President Vladimir Putin in the issue of conflict resolution. 'The audience applauded President I. Aliyev,' one of the leaders of the national-patriotic forces of Russia does not hide his enthusiasm.

The Russian writer was very enthusiastic about the statement by the head of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Sergey Lavrov, who criticised Pashinyan's position regarding the Karabakh settlement. 'Of course, Lavrov should have condemned Pashinyan,' summarises Prokhanov.

In unison with Prokhanov, another popular Russian television journalist Arkady Mamontov spoke. The well-known Russian does not hide his enthusiasm and approval of the current level of Russian-Azerbaijani relations. The journalist asks: 'What is now heard about Azerbaijan in Russia?' And he answered in the affirmative form: 'This is, first of all, your wonderful President Ilham Aliyev, he is a very strong figure, a genuine politician. It is no coincidence that our President Vladimir Putin is friends with Ilham Aliyev, communicating on an equal footing. They are, as they say, on the same wavelength.'

But along with the achieved results of the rapprochement between the two countries and the political leaders of the two states, Mamontov hopes for further development of the integration of Russia and Azerbaijan:

'Russia and Azerbaijan are different and independent states. I am not calling for any kind of reunion. But we are neighbours, we are connected now and in the foreseeable future economically. We were part of one country, as the older generation remembers. Cultural, informational contacts must not be interrupted. This will allow all of us to stay afloat in the difficult years that may come.'

Arkady Mamontov

As one can see, political scientists, journalists and commentators unanimously note the comprehensively growing ties between Baku and Moscow. Indeed, apart from the political declarations historically significant from the point of view of the prospects for a fair Karabakh settlement, the last Valdai Forum and the negotiations of Ilham Aliyev and Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of this influential world expert forum were also remembered by the promising perspective of the allies' economic cooperation.

The heads of the two states finally agreed that relations between the Russian Federation and Azerbaijan are developing in a constructive manner, while noting the positive dynamics in trade relations. The Russian leader estimated the trade turnover between Moscow and Baku at $2.5 billion last year. Ilham Aliyev added that trade volumes continue to grow: for example, growth in August this year was 20% compared to the same period last year. About 700 companies with Russian capital operate in Azerbaijan. Azerbaijani investments in the Russian economy amounted to $1.2 billion, and Russian investments in Azerbaijan $4.6 billion. Baku is a little behind in the last indicator, but there are objective reasons for this. The head of state noted that Russian banks are helping Azerbaijan in the process of industrialisation. They have already allocated loans of almost $1 billion for projects in the real economy.

Azerbaijani Minister of Economy Shahin Mustafayev later made some adjustments to what the head of state said. According to him, if according to the results of last year, the volume of trade between Azerbaijan and Russia amounted to $2.5 billion with an increase of 15%, then according to the results of the current year, the growth in trade will be about 20%, and the volume will reach almost $3 billion. Moreover, the priority task is to double the export to Russia of agricultural products and the processing industry. Russia is contributing to the strengthening of agriculture, stimulating the growth of the export potential of Azerbaijan while maintaining the position of its largest partner. And before the end of this year, the governments of the two countries plan to sign a program of cooperation on the agro-industrial complex for 2020-2022. Russia is the main buyer of agricultural and processed products of Azerbaijan. In 2018, over 560 thousand tonnes of products were exported to Russia. In recent years, about 900 units of agricultural machinery for various purposes and more than 650 tonnes of mineral fertilisers have been purchased in Russia. And this is not to mention the established direct economic ties with more than 80 federal subjects of Russia.

And before the end of the year, the construction of a bridge across the Samur River at the Azerbaijani-Russian state border will be completed. In general, trucking in cooperation with Russia occupy a significant place in relations, so special attention is paid to improving the infrastructure. A feasibility study is already being prepared to create the North-South Azerbaijan-Russia-Iran energy corridor, with the introduction of which the parties will further expand bilateral cooperation in the energy sector. How important this is, can be seen from the comparison: in 2018, more than 121 million kW / h of electricity was exported from Azerbaijan to Russia, and more than 76 million kW / h from Russia to Azerbaijan.

And now for comparison, we give another example, an unpleasant one. At a meeting of the Eurasian Economic Council the other day, it was reported that in the first half of this year, trade between the EAEU member countries, which includes Armenia, decreased by more than 5%, and Union's trade with third countries by more than 2% compared with the same period last year.

Putin is displeased with Pashinyan

Russia's trade turnover with other countries - members of the Eurasian Economic Union over this period decreased by more than 7%. And the political relations between the countries leave much to be desired: deep worldviews and political contradictions and differences in approaches sometimes separate, but do not unite, the countries that once sealed allied relations with signatures on official documents. So is it worth saying why Azeri Daily, characterising the Russian-Azerbaijani strategic partnership, each time emphasises the immutability of the political summary: it is the official Baku that has established itself in the role of Russia's last and most reliable military-political ally in the South Caucasus.

The full-scale implementation of the North-South transport corridor, the possible construction of a nuclear station in Navahi with the help of Russia, and other large-scale projects of the leaders of the two countries will only lead to further prosperity of the allied bilateral relations. Another important result, indicating the strengthening of the socio-cultural ties of the two countries. Last year, 880 thousand Russians visited Azerbaijan, today more and more Russians give preference to our country, because the priority is not only in the peculiarities of sights or national cuisine, but also in the fact that Russians in Azerbaijan are safe, comfortable, and here they feel like at home.

Russian tourists feel at home in Baku

The strategic importance of the political union of the two countries each time is confirmed in his speeches by President Ilham Aliyev, saying: 'It is no coincidence that we call each other strategic partners.' At the same time, the president does not share the prejudice about the dominance of the geographical factor in the formation of partnerships: 'Geographical location, of course, depends on the geopolitical situation, it can be with a plus sign or a minus sign. I think the task of each government is to transform its geography into a positive. I think we succeeded. Azerbaijan is an active participant in the Belt and Road Initiative, and participated as the only country in the South Caucasus in a conference in Beijing this April. We are also an important partner of the North-South project. Azerbaijan is the only country that participates in both the East-West and North-South corridors.'

It is worth thinking about the conclusions of Ilham Aliyev. There are many countries rich in natural resources, including oil, with direct access to the ocean, convenient location for transit. Let us recall Nigeria, Angola, Venezuela, Iraq and other countries affected by a geopolitical fire, plunged into permanent chaos by their politicians. Without a balanced and smart government policy, especially in critically dangerous regions, where a fire of geopolitical confrontation erupts, oil deposits turn into an oil curse, and natural resources become a pile of fire stones...

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