The current relations between Russia and Azerbaijan can be characterized as strategic partnership and good-neighborly cooperation, which is at a high level and has a positive development vector, deputy director of the Russian Institute for Political Studies, Russian expert Daria Grevtsova told Trend.
The expert stressed that the bilateral relations are based on friendly and partnership relations between the Azerbaijani and Russian presidents.
Then Grevtsova named several main spheres in which this bilateral cooperation is developing successfully.
Factor 1 - Energy
"Firstly, this is energy sector,” the expert said. “There are several spheres here, primarily, joint oil and gas projects on the shelf of the Caspian Sea. This is mainly connected with the participation of the Russian companies, primarily such as Lukoil, in the oil production by Azerbaijan in its section of the Caspian, and attracting the Russian technologies and investments in this process."
“The cooperation in power engineering is worth stressing too,” Grevtsova added. “Once, the right decisions, which, in many respects, made it possible to integrate the electric grids of the two countries, were made.”
“As a result, when an accident occurred in the Azerbaijani energy grids [July 2018], the negative consequences of this blackout were greatly minimized as Russia increased the flow of electricity from the Russian energy grids to the Azerbaijani energy system, which reduced the damage as a result of the blackout,” the expert said.
Factor 2 - Military cooperation
“In addition to energy, cooperation in the military-technical sphere is also important,” Grevtsova said. “First of all, it includes purchase of Russian weapons by Azerbaijan. In this connection, it should be noted that Russia doesn’t sell the latest weapons systems to everyone. Moscow considers Baku to be a very close and friendly partner, therefore, it sells to Azerbaijan exactly the weapons that it needs, and at prices, albeit market ones, but relatively moderate.”
“It is worth noting that when we talk about favorable sales conditions, this also implies special conditions of service, because the latest weapons are very complex systems that require constant replenishment of spare parts and consumables, in other words, we need shells for guns, and not just the guns,” the expert noted.
“We also need constant updating, renovation, and updating means not only repair, but also the modernization of technical parameters, adding some newest additional systems that improve the quality characteristics of weapons,” the expert added. “Such cooperation, providing not only arms trade, but also its active after-sales technical maintenance, has been established between Moscow and Baku, which allows further strengthening Azerbaijan’s defense potential. At the same time, it is appropriate to mention that Russian weapons, as you know, are of very high quality, and they cost much less than US or French ones.”
Factor 3 - Agricultural industry and investments
“In economic sphere, it is worth noting such important points as Azerbaijani-Russian cooperation in the field of agriculture and Russian investments in the Azerbaijani economy,” the expert noted.
“Agricultural cooperation is, first of all, access of Azerbaijani agricultural products to the Russian market,” Grevtsova said. “Certain barriers still exist, however, the presidents of the two countries should minimize these barriers for access of Azerbaijani agricultural products to the Russian market. Here the question arises that these barriers are, in many respects, not only Russian ones, but within the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU).”
“Azerbaijan is a partner and ally of Russia, but not a member of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) and the EEU,” the expert noted. “Why is there such a contradiction? That’s not only because Armenia is a member of the EEU, but also because the products of Azerbaijan are, first of all, oil and gas, energy resources, and they don’t require favorable conditions for access to markets. Oil and gas are such goods that easily pass through all customs barriers, therefore, those who work in the non-oil sector and produce finished industrial goods are interested in accessing the EEU markets. Therefore, an agreement with Turkey and Iran on their association membership in the EEU will be reached much sooner.”
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