Baku, Azerbaijan, Mar. 9
By Matanat Nasibova – Trend:
Russia and Azerbaijan are actively building up bilateral cooperation in all areas, and this interaction has intensified recently, as evidenced by the frequent visits of representatives of the Russian government to Azerbaijan, Ivan Pyatibratov, Russian analyst at the Center for Political Information, told Trend.
He noted that the recent visit of Russian Economy Minister Maxim Oreshkin, in connection with the start of the construction of the assembly plant for Russian GAZ trucks in the Hajigabul District of Azerbaijan, was a clear indicator of the mutual interest of the parties in economic cooperation.
"The launch of this project is a result of documents signed by the leaders of Russia and Azerbaijan, and this is not the only direction which one can already observe progress in. On the other hand, this visit is a demonstration of the loyalty of the Russian side to its promises of strengthening economic relations with Azerbaijan, and evidence of these relations being valued by Russia, not to mention the personal meeting of the presidents of Russia and Azerbaijan, Vladimir Putin and Ilham Aliyev, in September 2018, which ended with the signing of more than a dozen of different policy documents and agreements regarding economic interaction between our countries until 2024," said the Russian analyst.
Speaking about joint cooperation, the expert recalled the commencement of the construction of Hayat Pharm drug manufacturing plant in Azerbaijan, a joint venture of Russia’s R-Pharm and Azerbaijan’s Vita-A, as well as the launch of the SOCAR Polymer chemical plant, the investor of which was Russia’s Gazprombank.
"It is worth highlighting that these projects bear not only an economic, but also a social burden, as students from Azerbaijani educational institutions are attracted to the new production facilities. In addition, large new productions always acquire infrastructure, which will be utilized not just by the companies, but also by the residents of the region. Another important item in the economic relations between Russia and Azerbaijan is the arms trade. Following the September meeting of Vladimir Putin and Ilham Aliyev, Azerbaijan purchased Russian arms worth $5 billion. At the same time, the volume of Russian arms purchased by the country has a steady growth trend. Such a level of relations between our countries helps strengthen the armed forces of Azerbaijan. This process speaks of the highest degree of confidence of the Russian side to the Azerbaijani leadership, since no one would ever arm an "unfriendly" country," continued Pyatibratov.
The expert also gave serious importance to the extraction of energy resources.
“Russia’s Lukoil is actively investing in Azerbaijani energy projects, while Rosneft is developing production at the Goshadash field,” Pyatibratov said. “In turn, Russia’s Transneft is involved in the transportation of Azerbaijani oil. Development of the North-South project remains the key area of Russia-Azerbaijan cooperation. Russia and Azerbaijan are an integral element of this corridor, but other countries are also involved in it. Just recently, a new section between Rasht and Qazvin cities has been opened in Iran. Successful construction as part of the North-South project contributes to the further unity of Russia and Azerbaijan, as well as their economic development.”
The Russian analyst stressed that this is not the only joint transport project.
“Russia and Azerbaijan are negotiating on the creation of maritime transport line in the Caspian Sea, which will connect the Russian port Olya with one of the Azerbaijani ports,” he noted. “This project potentially promises the growth of tourism business as well. In general, since August 2018, when the convention on the status of the Caspian Sea was signed in Aktau city, the Caspian Sea has become extremely interesting in terms of business opportunities. In the future, it is worth expecting an even greater number of initiatives and projects related to the Caspian Sea. The talks are also underway about possible creation of the Caspian free trade zone, which would certainly be beneficial for our countries.”
He added that at the current stage, Russian-Azerbaijani economic relations cover almost all areas, such as industry, transport, energy, the military-industrial complex, while electronic technologies are the only direction not covered by these relations.
“In this area, the interaction of our countries is at the level of declarations of intentions,” he said. “The topic of jointly ensuring cybersecurity is raised from time to time, but there are no concrete results so far. This is while TASIM, a major project for laying a transit communication line, where Russia also participates, is in an uncertain state or develops quite slowly. At the same time, this direction was never a priority within the cooperation between Russia and Azerbaijan.”
The Russian analyst noted that the Russian-Azerbaijani economic relations aren’t only on the rise, but also have great development prospects.