Stanislav Belkovskiy, the Director of the Institute for National Strategy of Russian Federation, said during the today press-conference in Moscow that Azerbaijan completely fell out of the Russian influence in 2006, Trend Correspondent to Moscow reports.
He said that last October, the Azerbaijan President, Ilham Aliyev categorically repudiated to support the Russian blockade against Georgia, then, in December, 2006, Azerbaijan virtually refused to buy Russian gas, claiming that it intended to use mazut to cover the fuel deficit. Mr. Belkovskiy also said that Azerbaijan announced holding up the export of Azerbaijan oil via the Russian Black Sea Port of Novorossiysk starting from January 8, 2007, and moreover, the Azerbaijan Authorities made a decision to stop broadcast of Russian TV Channels on the territory of the country starting from July 1, 2007.
According to him, in 2006 Russia lost instruments of its influence on Azerbaijan and Georgia. That means a critical factor of the threat to Russia last conventional ally in the region - Armenia, as in addition to all, the gas blackmail was proved to be inefficient. In addition, according to the political analysts, the BTC Pipeline (Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan), which was put into commission in July, 2006, will significantly reduce the importance of the Russian route in carrying Central Asian oil in a short-term outlook. As a result of putting BTC into commission, Russia will face the increasing risk that Turkey would rapidly restrict the shipping in the Straits of Bosporus and Dardanelles.
Moreover, the Director of the Russian Institute said that in 2006, Byelorussian President, Alexander Lukashenko, took an attempt to establish particular relations with some countries вЂ" consumers of the Russian energy resources, and claimed that the Byelorussian-Ukrainian-Azerbaijani Transit Countries Cartel might be found. The political analyst said that all those issues had been discussed during the visit of the Azerbaijan President to Minsk on November 17-18, 2006. During the meeting with Ukrainian journalists held on November 23, 2006, the Byelorussian President claimed that Belarus wanted to receive Caspian oil via Ukraine to refine it at its own refineries.