Russia waiting for the final decision of Azerbaijan – interview by Razi Nurullayev

Razi Nurullayev, Chairman at "REGION" International Analytical Center (RIAC)
Razi Nurullayev,
Chairman at “REGION” International Analytical Center (RIAC)

My interview with “Azadlyg” newspaper on Azerbaijan-Russian and Azerbaijan-EU relations as well as on a political situation on the whole (if any fault with English translation, forgive me, as it was done by a friend of mine and presented to me as a bonus).

«Selection of Customs Union model of Russia by Azerbaijan will be downfall of this government»

Razi Nurullayev: «Russia waiting for the initial steps from Azerbaijan for cooperation with Customs Union»

In spite of the fact that the ongoing tense geopolitical situation in the region requires active foreign policy from the countries of this region, Azerbaijan’s policy does not correspond to these realities. Demand of definite position from official Baku by the West, as well as Russia during European Union’s Vilnius summit threw Azerbaijan into dilemma. Most experts say, Azerbaijan will not be able to conduct maneuvers between these two centers of power. All these questions were addressed to Razi Nurullayev, deputy-chairperson for Foreign Affairs of the Popular Front Party of Azerbaijan and head of “REGION” International Analytical Center (RIAC) :

– I think, Azerbaijan government will give preference to neither Russia nor EU. Declaration of position of Azerbaijan about the process of its integration with EU, can be accompanied by unprecedented attacks of Russia to Azerbaijan. Hereafter Azerbaijan will not intent to take risks. On that score, Azerbaijan is expected to sign a document concerning the simplification of the visa with European Union in Vilnius . To sign associative membership with European Union seems less convincing. Since, nothing has been done in this field. An agreement was reached on visa issue only. No any consent dealing other issues has been gained from Azerbaijan. Ukraine can be the only country which can expand cooperation with Russia. Georgia can be the second one in this field. It is true that, both Russia and European Union wating for final decision of Azerbaijan. However, Azerbaijan is not ready for this cooperation. Therefore, both organizations will be in the dependent position from Azerbaijan and Azerbaijan will not declare its position.

– However, it will be difficult for Azerbaijan to stand at the same distance from Russia and European Union. What it will result with, if Azerbaijan keeps no clarity in its position?

– It is much easier for Azerbaijan to cooperate with European Union. Azerbaijan could prolong negotiations conducting with European Union, can hold negotiations with this organization. European Union stands more tolerant in these issues and allow time to Azerbaijan to find its own path. From this point of view, Azerbaijan can not take this position in cooperation with Russia. Azerbaijan has less chance to declare its acute position against Russia. Russia waiting for acute position of Azerbaijan. However, Azerbaijan will not be able to declare its acute position to Russia. It is not convincing Azerbaijan to adopt final decision on being member of the Customs Union. a number of agreements have been reached and negotiations carried out during Putin’s visit to Azerbaijan before presidential elections. Taking great interest from these matters Russia continues to put pressure against Azerbaijan. However, selection of Customs Union model of Russia by Azerbaijan will be downfall of this government .
“Russia waiting for the position of Azerbaijan”

– At the moment, Russia puts a range of pressures on Azerbaijan. Deportation of immigrants is clear proof. Currently, Ukraine is also encountered with Russia’s pressures. What happening? Though,before the elections the relations seemed to get normal, this view was lost after the elections. What is your viewpoint about the ongoing process?

– According to the calculations made by Russia, Azerbaijanis living in this country send a large amount funds to their home country during the year. Taking into account this factor, Russia thinks Azerbaijan will be a member of the Customs Union of Russia. Russia intends to influence Azerbaijan from this side. The biggest pressure to Azerbaijan is the pressure put to immigrants and deportation of immigrants. For this reason I think Azerbaijanis will be deported from Russia due to not achieving consensus between Azerbaijan and Russia. Since, agreements had been reached in this field since Putin’s visit to Azerbaijan, and obligations were expected to be fulfilled after the elections. Allusions were made related to the obligations. Therefore, Russia demands Azerbaijan to demonstrate its position. However, Russia expects initial steps of Azerbaijan to participate in some projects of Customs Union. One of the pressure means in the hands of Russia is Karabagh Card. Russia can use Karabagh Card against Azerbaijan. One of the pressure cutters of Russia against Azerbaijan is to mutiny in the regions of the country by subversive groups. Should Russia fail to reach any agreement with Azerbaijan, he will use these pressure means.

– White House has congratulated the newly elected president of Georgia using special statements. Appreciating the elections as the victory of democracy, White House specified Saakashvili and Ivanisvili’s services. This congratulation completely differs from the one which had been addressed to Azerbaijan. What is the reason?

– U.S. Embassy, European Union, U.S. Department of State declared their agreements to the comments of OSCE on elections after the presidential elections in Azerbaijan. In that statement, it was emphasized that elections hold in Azerbaijan did not meet international standards. It means, USA is dissatisfied with the results of elections hold in Azerbaijan. USA don’t believe the elections being democratic, though it was obliged to recognize results of the election in the congratulation letter. In his speech to the press Embassy Morningstar emphasized dissatisfaction of USA with the results of election. However USA continues its cooperation with Azerbaijan government in order to build a democratic society in the country. Therefore, there was no the word “congratulation” in the letter addressed to Ilham Aliyev. In the letter they just wished success for Ilham Aliyev. This results from the election process not being democratic. Irregularities in counting votes, did not escape from the attention of USA, as well as international community.

“Promoting democracy and human rights”

– Democracy and human rights will be one of the most important points in relations with USA, the embassy emphasizes. What is your viewpoint for this opinion, while democracy and human rights are roughly violated by Azerbaijan government?

– Interesting point. USA embassy, generally USA officials have interesting points of view on recently happened issues. American diplomats put forward human rights and democracy in their speech. They are close to be the first priorities in USA policy related to Azerbaijan. Since, USA has a number of priorities related to Azerbaijan. Those priorities also support human rights and democracy. Today USA intends to make human resources and democracy priorities related to Azerbaijan. This explains a lot of issues. This means, USA will increase its influence to the democratic process, try to work with civil society and exert much pressure to the government. Since, at the end of 2014 USA military contingent will be withdrawn from Afghanistan. From that time, using Azerbaijan territories will be diminished. This means, importance of Azerbaijan in this field will be weakened. On the other hand, relations between USA and Iran is increasing gradually. In such a situation importance of Azerbaijan may go down. Democracy and human rights problem and safety problem change positions in the priorities of USA’s attitude to Azerbaijan. We already observe this change.

– What are the pressures against free press after the election process related to? What is the reason of aggressive policy of government against the press? The government creates additional international problems smothering freedom of speech and press. Does the government need such development of events?

– “Azadlıg” newspaper is the target point for its role in preventing illegal events and shaking foundations of government . It is the only paper, which delivers to the public what they observe without any hesitation and fear to say names. Therefore, – “Azadlıg” paper has great role in disabusing the citizens about the ongoing processes in the country. “Azadlıg” has recently become one of the readable newspapers. Thousands of people read some of the articles in the site of “Azadlıg” paper. Government has adopted a decision to depress the newspaper. The purpose is to prevent “Azadlıg” paper from delivering its voice to the public.

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