The year 2013 may be a critical one for Azerbaijani-Russian relations. Last year’s re-election of Russian President Vladimir Putin, the end of the lease of the Gabala Radar-Location Station (GRLS) to the Russian military, and the reluctance of Baku to join the Moscow-backed Eurasian Union are defining issues between the two states. Moreover, Azerbaijan’s presidential election in October of this year makes the political situation in the country fluid and open to manipulation. The political establishment in Baku believes that Moscow will try to do everything possible to capitalize on Azerbaijan’s vulnerability to secure concessions and so interpret most political events in the country through the prism of Russian intentions. Despite the fact that on the surface, the two states have friendly relations, Russian authorities view Azerbaijan as an unreliable partner and will exert efforts to check Baku’s regional ambitions.
PONARS Eurasia Policy Memo No. 270
by Anar Valiyev