Russians names Azerbaijan one of CIS leaders
Azerbaijan is well known and very popular among Russians, the director of special programs of the Russia Public Opinion Research Center (VCIOM), Elena Mikhaylova, the director of the Institute of Regional Problems, Dmitry Zhuravlev, and the Director of the Institute of International Studies of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia, Andrei Kazantsev, told Vestnik Kavkaza on the sidelines of the presentation of the annual study of the attitude of Russian citizens to the CIS countries.
Elena Mikhailova drew attention to it in the first place. "In a number of positions, Azerbaijan is among the first five states which Russians like the most, perceiving them as stable countries and our reliable partners. In general, Russians show a high interest in Azerbaijan. We see that there is increasing interest in the republic from potential tourists, it is also obvious that Russians are interested in Azerbaijani culture. All of it allows us to overcome those social distances that arose after the collapse of the Soviet Union, and today the situation is expected to improve," she said.
Elena Mihaylova noted that the attitude of Russians towards certain countries improves when several conditions are met. "The exchange in the educational sphere is very important, joint projects are also needed. As it gives much more powerful effect than just information programs," the director of special programs of the Russia Public Opinion Research Center suggested.
According to Dmitry Zhuravlev, Azerbaijan deserves the third place in the ranking, after Belarus and Kazakhstan. "The level of our relations with Azerbaijan is very high, in particular, the level of Azerbaijani-Russian diplomatic, political, administrative contacts is much higher than between many CIS countries. Our economic interests in the South Caucasus largely coincide. at the level of politics, economy and state relations Azerbaijan's significance for Russia is much higher than such ratings show, but fourth place in the current study is well-deserved, because Azerbaijan was and remains our ally in the South Caucasus," he stressed.
It is possible to even the objective level of relations with Azerbaijan and its perception among the population at the expense of the media. "We need to inform citizens more," Dmitry Zhuravlev expressed confidence.
Andrei Kazantsev explained that Azerbaijan's popularity in Russia is explained by its independence as a state. "Azerbaijan firmly occupies decent economic positions in the South Caucasus and does not need Russian economic assistance. One of the main issues in the study was the stability and success of the country, and by this criterion, Azerbaijan has taken a relatively high position compared with other post-Soviet countries," he noted.
Other factors also play a role. "Russia has a serious Azerbaijani diaspora that supports its country, Azerbaijanis living in Russia positively assess Azerbaijan. In addition, Russia and Azerbaijan have good relations at the level of strategic partnership. As well as there is no negative information about Azerbaijan in the mass media," Andrei Kazantsev concluded.
He agreed that Azerbaijan should increase its visibility in Russia. "Azerbaijan is one of the well-known countries, because the republic was well represented in Soviet culture. And now a certain emphasis should be made on it, developing social, economic, cultural and scientific contacts with Azerbaijan," the expert noted.