What is purpose behind Vladimir Putin's visit to Ilham Aliyev?
Today's talks between the presidents of Russia and Azerbaijan, Vladimir Putin and Ilham Aliyev, in Baku will be devoted to the most important topics of economic cooperation between the two countries, as well as regional geopolitics, the chairman of the Izborsk club, writer Alexander Prokhanov and director of the Institute of Political Studies Sergei Markov told the correspondents of Vestnik Kavkaza, commenting on the Russian leader's visit to Azerbaijan 24 days after his meeting with Ilham Aliyev in Sochi.
Alexander Prokhanov, in the first place, drew attention to Russia's interest in strengthening both economic and political contacts with Azerbaijan. "The frequency of meetings between the presidents says that it is necessary to intensify the relations between Russia and Azerbaijan, not least because the Russia-Turkey-Iran alliance does not explicitly include Russia's cooperation with Azerbaijan, but Azerbaijan is a party to that union concluded by Russia in the Middle East," he said.
The chairman of the Izborsk club also stressed Azerbaijan's growing importance for Russia in connection with Armenia's shift to the West. "There was tension with Armenia, Russia's hidden anxiety caused by drastic changes in this republic and the creation of a serious pro-American political player there. It further increased Russia's interest in Azerbaijan and the establishment of special relations with Baku. I believe this topic will be also on the agenda of the Putin-Aliyev talks today," Alexander Prokhanov said.
The writer attributed the link between the Russian president's visit to a large-scale bilateral economic forum by Moscow's desire to maximize and strengthen economic cooperation with its neighbors, capable of constructive contacts. "Russia has developed a powerful economic expansion, hence the economic forums in Russia and in the nearest states," he said.
Sergei Markov also noted the presence of the Armenian issue on the agenda of the upcoming talks between Vladimir Putin and Ilham Aliyev. "On the one hand, the president's visit to Baku during the forum is a reflection of the fact that the Russian-Azerbaijani relations have been developed. On the other hand, to some extent, it sets an example for Armenia, because there is not progress in the Moscow-Yerevan relations, and it seems to me that this visit of Vladimir Putin to Baku shows Yerevan that Armenia's current leadership's policy has taken the country into a very dangerous zone, when Russia will be ready to consider Azerbaijan as its main ally in the region," he explained.
"In general, the agenda of the talks will include economic relations in the field of energy cooperation, contacts on the Caspian Sea, transport projects such as the North-South Transport Corridor, as well as military-technical cooperation. In addition, the presidents are expected to discuss relations in the region as a whole, because the Middle East is in a state of imbalance, the US is pressing on Iran - Azerbaijan's neighbor - which creates a risk for Baku. Vladimir Putin is one of the main players in world politics, and Ilham Aliyev is very experienced, he has great connections, a lot of information and a clear understanding of what Islamic leaders are going to do. I think they will also touch upon the issue of forming a new organization of the Azerbaijani community in Russia," Sergey Markov said.
According to the political analyst, the frequency of meetings between Putin and Aliyev indicates that the relations between the two countries are developing on a very positive track. "In addition, it is a result of very good friendly relations between the presidents. The frequency of the talks is also caused by instability in the region, the events near the Russian and Azerbaijani borders. In particular, there is instability in Armenia and in the big Middle East," the director of the Institute of Political Studies concluded.