https://www.turan.az/ext/news-In recent years, interstate contradictions, tension and cooperation in the international arena have entered a new stage against the backdrop of a clash of economic and political interests. At this stage, we are witnessing a revision of interstate relations, the signing of new alliances, treaties and agreements. There are even geopolitical processes, described as the formation of a new world order.
From this point of view, the “Shusha Declaration” signed on June 15, 2021 between Turkey and Azerbaijan, and then between Russia and Azerbaijan on February 22, 2022 in Moscow, the 43-page Declaration on Allied Interaction draws attention. Agreements on political, economic, legal, trade, military and humanitarian ties that still exist between the two countries can be said to have accumulated in one declaration and define a new framework for future relations.
The provisions reflected in the Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Security between Russia and Azerbaijan of July 3, 1997, the Declaration of Friendship and Strategic Partnership between Russia and Azerbaijan of July 3, 2008, as well as in the joint statement of the Presidents of Russia and Azerbaijan of September 1 2018 were included in a single document with the addition of new realities.
The signing of this declaration took place in a very difficult and sensitive period for Russia. We currently have rather tense relations with the US and NATO. Ignoring international law, on the territory of Ukraine after the Crimea, Donetsk and Lugansk recognized the so-called separatist regimes as independent states. More than a hundred thousand military personnel are concentrated on the border with Ukraine. In such military-political conditions, the signing of the Declaration of Alliance with Azerbaijan was more expedient for Russia from a political and psychological point of view.
The signing by Azerbaijan of documents on friendship, cooperation and alliance with Russia in such a tense situation, no matter how important it was, was incompatible from the point of view of time. Azerbaijan has been subjected to separatism and occupation for 30 years with the comprehensive support of Russia. It was in the national interest to keep some distance from Russia, which now openly supports separatism in Ukraine, harshly criticizes the world’s democracies, and faces sanctions. As if by this step, Russia was trying to show the international community Azerbaijan as a country next to it, in its political influence.
It seems that in the face of Russia’s growing aggression, not only the post-Soviet countries, but even the states of Eastern Europe alone are becoming increasingly difficult to resist it. Russia pursues its economic, political and military interests, ignoring international law. Increases military and political pressure on neighboring countries.
Unfortunately, the traditional statements of the West, economic sanctions are not enough to deter Russian aggression. There are no reliable guarantees of regional security and stability for other post-Soviet countries, with the exception of the Baltic republics. A serious problem remains the lack of effective mechanisms to protect the post-Soviet countries that are not under the military-political protection of Russia from the Russian threat.
Russia has long wanted to see Azerbaijan as a member of the CSTO and the Eurasian Economic Union. In the wake of the Arab Spring, the Kremlin sought to take advantage of its military and political position in the Middle East and the post-Soviet space. As a result of the restrained position of the West, official Moscow has largely achieved its goal.
Azerbaijan was able to avoid this pressure through a series of diplomatic steps. To protect himself from Russian irritation, in 2011 he joined the Non-Aligned Movement. He managed to stay away from the military-political and economic associations that were under the auspices of Russia. At that time, Russia was unable to make Azerbaijan a member of its associations.
Russia’s targeting of the latest NATO summit, rising tensions with Ukraine, and unrest in Kazakhstan earlier this year have renewed pressure on Russia’s closest neighbors. It is in such difficult conditions that Azerbaijan’s signing of an allied agreement with Russia should be assessed from the point of view of security. It became necessary to take certain steps to neutralize Russia in its current state, albeit partially.
The fact that this declaration is in the national interests of the country is no less worrying. Russia usually puts aside, like sheets of paper, treaties and agreements it has signed at some point when its own interests so require. Any agreement signed with a country that does not fulfill its international obligations cannot be considered a reliable guarantee of security. At present, the lifespan of most of the documents signed by Russia with its neighbors is as long as the political life of Putin’s rule.
There are a number of positive and negative points that are reflected in the declaration. In general, although this document did not satisfy Russia’s desire to see Azerbaijan in its associations, it further expanded the possibilities of influencing Azerbaijan’s foreign policy. At the same time, he managed to show Azerbaijan as a country that is mainly under his influence.
Clause 1 of the allied treaty can positively assess the assertion that “independence, state sovereignty, territorial integrity and inviolability of the state borders of the two countries are built on the basis of mutual respect, as well as non-interference in each other’s internal affairs, equality of rights and mutual benefit, peaceful resolution disputes and adherence to the principles of non-violence or the threat of force.”
Article 11 also states that “the Russian Federation and the Republic of Azerbaijan resolutely suppress on their territory the activities of organizations and individuals directed against the state sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of the other side”, which is in the interests of our country.
The document also contains a number of general, slippery and dangerous phrases. We can note military cooperation, military assistance in maintaining security, peace and stability, cooperation, taking the same or similar positions on current international problems, interaction in the foreign policy sphere and other economic and political issues.
Although, as we have noted, there are a number of positive and negative points in the document, it is not realistic that they will remain in force in the long term. The points of the ceasefire statement on November 10, which meet the interests of Azerbaijan, have not yet been fulfilled. Russia is taking steps born of its imperialist nature, even without any agreements, documents.
Finally, Azerbaijan will not be able to restrain Russia’s pressure with such documents. Russia is using every opportunity to keep Eastern Europe, the South Caucasus, and Central Asia within its sphere of influence. The analysis shows that US and EU sanctions will not have a significant impact on Russia in the near future.
The Azerbaijani authorities, using the opportunity created, will be able to avoid Russia’s pressure with less losses if they open the front of socio-political participation in society and carry out trustworthy political and economic reforms. At the same time, the attitude towards an independent civil society and the country’s opposition should change radically. It is vital to achieve democratic elections in all instances, standing face to face with local government.