Azerbaijan-Russia partnership: good example of how to find common ground
Baku, Azerbaijan, June 21
By Azer Ahmadbayli – Trend:
According to the Monroe doctrine, the United States is responsible for the Western hemisphere as a zone of its influence. On that ground, it makes claims to Russia about its activity in Venezuela.
Russia also sees, at least, the post-Soviet States as an area of its interest, encroachment on which is a direct challenge to its national security.
The US attempts to pull some of these countries out of the orbit of Russia's influence is a very bold but unpromising task. It is strange that those tasks were even included in the agenda in Washington.
Russia is not a superpower in the fullest sense, as the Soviet Union was. Nevertheless, it is not a country whose opinion can be completely ignored. In the recent past, the world witnessed several times how the ignoring of Russia’s interests could end with.
Azerbaijan can serve as a good example of how to have balanced and beneficial relations with a country like Russia to those, who have a different opinion on the matter.
Baku managed to build equal partnership with Russia. At the same time, no one can call Azerbaijan a "Russian satellite" or "Russian outpost", as some post-Soviet countries are called.
In this context, the supply of Azerbaijani gas to the European market is a good example of how Baku-Moscow partnership allows overcoming geopolitical barriers not only without damage, but with benefit to the parties.
Azerbaijan has managed to create self-sufficient hydrocarbon export system and become an independent player in the energy market.
A few days ago, the Azerbaijani state oil company SOCAR reported that gas from the Shah Deniz field reached the borders of the European Union (at the Turkey-Greece border). In 2020, after the commissioning of the Trans-Adriatic gas pipeline (TAP), the Southern Gas Corridor will become fully operational.
Some Western politicians and functionaries continually emphasize that Azerbaijani gas goes to Europe bypassing Russia, interpreting it as a great geopolitical victory of a small country over a large and unpredictable Northern Neighbor.
First, they slightly exaggerate the threat to Russian energy interests. 10 billion cubic meters of Azerbaijani gas for Europe against 200 billion cubic meters of Russian gas is really not a threat.
Second, they underestimate the foreign policy targets of Moscow, changed since the early 2000’s, for which a self-sufficient and friendly neighbor is better than that living continuously in dependence or at the expense of Russia.
Third, Baku receives good profits from the export of hydrocarbons. Part of these funds Azerbaijan invests in the Russian regions – Astrakhan, the North Caucasus, Krasnodar, Tatarstan and others, with which relevant economic agreements have been concluded.
This is beneficial for Baku, but it is also what Russia would ideally like – close economic cooperation of the post-Soviet States.