(Jamestown Foundation) Several key developments in 2012 had a tremendous impact on Azerbaijan and its foreign policy. First of all, the “reelection” of Vladimir Putin as president of Russian could be considered one of the major events that influenced Azerbaijan. Putin’s triumphal return buried the last hopes of some Azerbaijani idealists that Russia would take a neutral position in the resolution of the Karabakh conflict. Instead, the negotiation process on the resolution of the Karabakh conflict stalled and reverted to where it was four years ago.
Moreover, Azerbaijan’s stance over the Gabala Radar Station greatly irritated the Russian establishment. Azerbaijan had been leasing the Gabala site to Russia since 2002. The lease expired in 2012, and the Russian side was urging Azerbaijan to extend it for another 25 years. The Russian government intended to substitute the old station with a new mobile, modular station, specifically mentioning that the new, second station would be the property of Russia. In response, Azerbaijan then increased its proposed leasing fee by 40 times, demanding $300 million from Russia instead of the current annual rate of $7 million. However, none of the visits by high-ranking Russian authorities were able to force Baku to yield to Moscow’s demands. Finally, Russia gave up all efforts and withdrew from Gabala by the end of the year (http://jamestownfoundation.blogspot.com/2012/12/russia-to-cease-using-gabala-radar.html).
Another important event that affected Azerbaijani politics was the agreement signed between Azerbaijan and Turkey to construct the Trans-Anatolian Gas Pipeline (TANAP) with further connection to European markets. Natural gas shipments through TANAP would disrupt Russia’s gas monopoly in Central and Eastern Europe and diminish Moscow’s role as energy supplier to Europe. With this pipeline, Azerbaijan will thus be able to help bolster the energy security of Eastern and Central European countries.
Last but not least the election of Bidzina Ivanishvili […]
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