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«Азербайджанский Макиавелли»

Как Ильхам Алиев умудряется сохранять баланс между восточной и западной, южной и северной составляющими политики

  10 декабря 2010 г. Президент Азербайджана Ильхам Алиев на заседании совета глав государств - участников СНГ. Сергей Гунеев/РИА НОВОСТИ После Египта и Ливии – Азербайджан, говорят американские аналитики, но, похоже, они ошибаются. Положение Алиева прочно, и он аккуратно лавирует, не становясь полностью на сторону интересов США. Телеграммы WikiLeaks позволяют прочертить основные вехи поворота закавказской политики.

Исраэль Шамир поделиться:
22 февраля 2011
размер текста: aaa

Россия – новый курс в Закавказье?

Главная перемена последних лет – cо стороны Азербайджана тоже происходит поворот от прозападной позиции к более взвешенной, признающей интересы России. В секретной телеграмме 09BAKU109 от 2 октября 2009 года (засекречена до 2019 года) посол США Энн Дерс отмечает, что «Россия предпринимает дипломатические шаги, чтобы переманить Азербайджан на свою сторону, в ущерб множеству связей с Западом в области энергии, обороны и политики. Это – часть всеобщего усилия России вновь занять свое место политического и экономического арбитра в Закавказье. Учитывая, что Алиев больше всего дорожит стабильностью, Россия, видимо, продолжит свои попытки представить Запад в виде ненадежного партнера, утверждая, что прозападный путь и демократизация ведут к хаосу, а Москва предлагает стабильность режима».

Но отношения Москвы и Баку были осложнены упорными слухами об огромной сделке – передаче российского оружия Армении. О подробностях этой сделки посол сообщила в секретной «не для иностранцев» депеше 09BAKU73 от 25 марта 2009 года. Первоначальные сообщения были еще в январе 2009 года. Шла речь о передаче оружия стоимостью 800 миллионов долларов с русской базы № 102 в Гюмри армянским вооруженным силам. В первом отчете перечислялись 21 танк Т-72, 27 БМП-2, 210 ракет СА-6 класса «земля-воздух». Во втором отчете к этому были добавлены 4 пусковые установки СА-11, две системы СА-13 и радарная установка ПВО. Россия упорно отрицала сделку. Азербайджанцы предъявили документ, который они считают секретным приказом генерал-лейтенанта Головченко, и в котором представлен перечень военной техники, передаваемой Армении. По словам азербайджанского представителя, Россия просто оставила это оружие в Армении, перебросив его из Гудауты.

В секретной депеше из Москвы 09MOSCOW313 от 10 февраля 2009 года говорится, что российский посол Юрий Мерзляков убедительно отрицал слухи о сделке, а документы он назвал «грубой подделкой». «В этих документах столько орфографических ошибок, что ни один русский генерал не подписал бы их». Эксперты, собранные американским посольством в Москве «согласились с этим мнением, и поддержали заявление российского МИДа о том, что не в интересах России ставить под удар улучшение отношений с Азербайджаном, затевая такую сделку». «Один эксперт, Алексей Власов из МГУ, заявил, что подделка играет на руку только радикальным группам в Армении». Елена Кравченко, советник МИДа по Нагорному Карабаху, сказала американскому послу, что подделка могла быть использована «азербайджанским Макиавелли» Алиевым. Редактор журнала «Экспорт вооружений» Руслан Пухов сказал, что его организация не обнаружила следов сделки, а если бы сделка была, то были бы и утечки, позволяющие ее обнаружить. По его мнению, стоимость вооружения, указанного в списках, в 5-7 раз меньше, чем 800 млн долларов. По мнению Пухова, документ – «азербайджанская провокация». По мнению американского посла в Москве, такая сделка крайне маловероятна, учитывая усилия президента Медведева привести конфликт в Карабахе к решению путем переговоров. «От этого инцидента выиграли противники урегулирования», писал американский посол в Москве.

 

Сердюков: «Вы исполняете приказы вашего президента? А я исполняю приказы двух президентов сразу»

В конце января Минобороны Абиев отправился в Москву, чтобы разобраться со сделкой. По его словам, министр обороны Сердюков отрицал эту сделку в официальных переговорах, но «за второй бутылкой водки» он расслабился и признался – оружие было передано Армении. Дальше – больше. Сердюков спросил Абиева: «Вы исполняете приказы вашего президента? А я исполняю приказы двух президентов сразу». Это мы знаем в пересказе американского посла со слов Абиева, который процитировал Сердюкова. То есть, цитата могла оказаться и плодом фантазии. Как мы уже заметили выше, американцы, следящие за ходом дел в оба глаза, пришли к выводу, что слух о передаче вооружения основан на фальсифицированном документе, хотя неясно, где фальсифицировали – в Баку или в Ереване.

Несмотря на эту историю, отмечает американский посол, Азербайджан учитывает как большой объем торговли и капиталовложений России, так и миллионную азербайджанскую диаспору в России, и старается сохранять баланс между восточной и западной, южной и северной составляющими политики. Азербайджанцы считают, сообщает посол, что Россия не смирилась с независимостью Закавказья и старается сорвать прозападную интеграцию Баку.

Далее посол впадает в конспирологию: Кремль, мол, составил план подрыва влияния Запада в «ближнем зарубежье. Для этого русские фальсифицируют разведданные, дезинформируют население и влияют на СМИ чтобы запугать лидеров призраком «цветной революции». Эти лидеры «не в восторге от демократии». Посол считает, что «русская рука» разогревает азербайджанский гнев по поводу якобы «двойных Западных стандартов» демократии и прав человека; русские «разжигают подозрения о западном вмешательстве во внутренние дела Азербайджана».

Россия принимает меры к упрочению своего влияния в Азербайджане. Визит президента Медведева в июле 2008 года подчеркнул, что Азербайджан теперь относится к сфере российских интересов. Посол упоминает Московскую декларацию по Нагорному Карабаху, визит Сергея Нарышкина, приглашение Алиева в Москву как признаки серьезной дипломатической оффенсивы.

 

«Красная черта» Москвы

Президент Алиев, по словам американского посла, осознает, что «у России есть законные интересы в Азербайджане: это энергия, это путь в Иран и на Ближний Восток, коридор Север-Юг, соседство с Грузией и Северным Кавказом, Кабала радар. Сам Алиев был воспитан и получил образование в Москве, там у него родственники, и он может сблизиться с Москвой еще теснее, если Запад не будет активно ухаживать за ним».

Россия терпит, когда Азербайджан посылает солдат в Афганистан или включается в южный коридор поставок в эту страну. Но Кремль не допустит размещения американской военной базы или включения Азербайджана в НАТО. Для России неприемлема и прямая политическая или военная поддержка Грузии. Зимой 2007 года готовность Азербайджана сорвать российскую газовую блокаду Грузии была серьезным испытанием терпения России. Россию сердят прямые контакты Азербайджана с Западом в области энергии. Русские огорчаются, что в середине 1990-х, когда они были слабы и погружены в чеченскую кампанию, они не смогли сорвать проект Баку-Тбилиси-Джейхан. Сейчас они определенно собираются не допустить повторения этого фиаско с азербайджанским и каспийским газом.

 «Поколения важных бакинских семей получили образование в русских университетах. У элиты Азербайджана огромные финансовые интересы в Москве. В России находятся 800 000 временных рабочих из Азербайджана, которые переводят деньги своим родственникам в бедные, не связанные с нефтью районы страны. Если Россия погонит этих рабочих или затруднит переводы денег, Азербайджану будет нанесен страшный экономический удар, что вызовет социальное напряжение. Русские уже пользовались этим рычагом давления во время конфликта из-за газа в 2006 году, проведя регистрацию нелегальных мигрантов на московских рынках, где работает много нелегальных азербайджанцев».

Под руководством Алиева Азербайджан проводит взвешенную политику с легким уклоном к Западу. Алиев с его финансовыми интересами в Москве избегает конфликтов со своим северным соседом. Он критиковал Саакашвили и подчеркивал, что Грузия – не пример для Азербайджана. В отличие от своего отца, Алиев избегал конфронтации с Тегераном, несмотря на недоверие к Ирану. Он избегал и открытого осуждения Анкары, несмотря на недовольство ее про-исламским влиянием.

Алиев считает, что сближение с Западом не приносит положительные плоды, судя по Украине и Грузии, где это принесло нестабильность, и по Турции, где результатом стал поворот к исламу. Решение правительства Азербайджана закрыть иновещание на Азербайджан (имеется в виду радио «Свобода») и провести референдум о продлении срока полномочий президента указывают на новую готовность открыто пренебречь западными советами.

Посол заключает: «Азербайджан не уверен, что Запад – надежный партнер. Более того, после войны с Грузией баланс сил в регионе изменился в пользу России, и сейчас у России есть настоящие возможности подорвать основную установку азербайджанской внешней политики последних 15 лет».

 

США недовольны Алиевым

В секретной депеше американского посла 09BAKU749 от 18 сентября 2009 года - засекреченной аж до 2034 года – содержится суровая оценка Ильхама Алиева, президента Азербайджана.

«Алиев совмещает внешнюю прозападную ориентацию с ее прагматизмом и сдержанностью с авторитарной внутренней политикой, с нетерпимостью к иным политическим взглядам». Это усложняет американцам их политику в отношении Баку. Сам Алиев сочетает в себе свойства двух Корлеоне из прославленного фильма «Крестный отец»: он и Майкл (во внешней политике), и Сонни (во внутренней). А его отец Гейдар Алиев – дон Вито Корлеоне, если продолжить кинематографическую метафору.

Впрочем, посол ссылается не столько на сам фильм, сколько на короткое эссе Халсмана и Митчелла об американской внешней политике. Авторы эссе сравнивали Соединенные Штаты, «дядю Сэма», со старым раненым доном Вито, либералов – с приемным сыном Томом, который стремится к полюбовным соглашениям, неоконов Джорджа Буша – с Сонни, который сначала стреляет, а потом думает, а реалист Майкл – это человек, который думает о благе семьи в первую очередь, и готов и стрелять, и договариваться.

«Ильхам унаследовал богатое ресурсами государство, пострадавшее от неудачной войны с Арменией и последовавшей оккупации азербайджанских провинций. Он пришел к власти, хотя многие сомневались, справится ли он – он был относительно молод (41 год), ничем не прославился, считался плейбоем. Но он смог запустить нефтепровод, по которому течет миллион баррелей нефти в день – и горы долларов в казну и в карманы».

«Сейчас президент Алиев и его сподвижники (их он унаследовал от отца) желают стабильности и преемственности, чтобы оградить свое и общественное преуспевание. После референдума 2009 года он может править вечно – все конституционные препоны удалены». Из-за семейных уз, агрессивного подавления оппозиции и системы «крышевания» администрация Алиева напоминает мафиозную структуру, в которой Ильхам – глава мафии, утверждает американский посол в Баку, ссылаясь для порядка на неназванных экспертов. Если внешняя политика Алиева устраивает американцев, поскольку он ищет пути независимости от России, его внутренняя политика остается крайне жесткой, по принципу «Ты только коснись моей сестры, я тебя убью».

«Алиев и его команда реагируют крайне болезненно на любой вызов его власти. Так, он жестоко отомстил двум молодым блоггерам Эмину Милли и Аднану Хаджизаде. Радио «Свобода» вызвало его гнев тем, что они высмеивали его план соорудить самый высокий флагшток в мире». Параллельное чтение депеш из Еревана показывает, что по части отношения к радио «Свобода» – азербайджанцы и армяне едины. Официальный Ереван ненавидит радио «Свобода» чуть ли не больше, чем официальный Баку.

Во времена Алиева-папы дышалось посвободнее, пишут американцы со слов местных придворных. Подход Алиева-сына таков: «нет, я не хочу всех поубивать. Только врагов». Он принимает меры, чтобы ликвидировать самый малый риск своему политическому превосходству. Он хочет установить политическую атмосферу, в которой правление династии Алиева будет абсолютным. Проведенный им референдум задушил в корне надежды претендентов на трон, в том числе и его супруги, которую воспринимают как представительницу клана Пашаевых.

Американцы удивляются диссонансу между прекрасно сшитыми костюмами, отменным английским и обликом человека большого мира с одной стороны, и неприятной реальностью его внутренней политики с другой.

Американцев беспокоит роль Рамиза Мехдиева – человека, связанного с жесткими шагами отца и сына, но они отмечают: «Мы не знаем, какова роль Мехдиева – кто он, кукловод или кукла? Неясно, к кому обратится Ильхам за помощью, когда Рамиза не будет».

В феврале 2010 года замминистра иностранных дел США Бернс встретился с Ильхамом Алиевым, и тот был очень недоволен ходом вещей. Хотя президент Медведев, по словам Алиева, активно старался добиться решения проблемы Нагорного Карабаха и пять раз встретился с президентами Армении и Азербайджана, армяне не только не пошли навстречу, но даже пошли на попятный и отказались от предыдущих соглашений. Договоренности между Турцией и Арменией продвигались вперед, несмотря на отсутствие прогресса на азербайджанском направлении. Алиев просил у США оказать давление на Армению, но американский замминистра иностранных дел сказал, что улучшение отношений Турции и Армении могут привести к желаемому результату, так как это усилит позиции армянского президента. Алиев был недоволен Ираном – хотя трудно понять, на самом ли деле недоволен, или говорит это, чтобы потрафить американскому гостю. Он был недоволен и Турцией – по его словам, турки на самом деле не хотят заключения договора по «Набукко», так как этот договор может испортить отношения Анкары с Москвой.

Алиев осуждал политику исламского правительства Турции относительно Израиля. Он считал, что портить отношения с Израилем опасно, и это не приносит дивидендов. Эти слова Алиева становятся понятными в свете другой секретной депеши, которая открывает, что Израиль стал главным поставщиком современного оружия Азербайджану.

Беседа с Ильхамом

Редко американскому послу доводится столкнуться с явно выраженным недовольством местных руководителей, обычно покорных воле Вашингтона. Когда такое происходит, это сигнализирует о повороте. Такой была встреча посла Энн Дерс с президентом Алиевым летом 2009 года. Энн Дерс уезжала, а Ильхам Алиев только что вернулся со встречи в Петербурге. Алиев отвел душу, упрекая Соединенные Штаты в пренебрежении интересами Азербайджана, несмотря на помощь Баку по вопросам, интересующим Америку.

Алиева беспокоил процесс примирения между Турцией и Арменией, точнее, не сам процесс, с которым он был согласен, но то, что вопрос Нагорного Карабаха был выведен за рамки процесса. Он признавал, что с демократией и правами человека в Баку не все радужно, но и в этой области есть прогресс, Азербайджан прислушивается к просьбам Вашингтона и заслуживает лучшего отношения.

Цели, которые поставили перед собой США и которые они пытаются достичь за счет Азербайджана, не стоят потери Азербайджана как союзника и как мост в Среднюю Азию.

Одна из проблем Алиева заключается в том, что США (как, впрочем и Россия) не поставляют стране современное вооружение. (В ранее публиковавшейся телеграмме посла в Баку говорится, что этим воспользовались израильтяне, которые не беспокоятся насчет того, что проданное ими оружие будет использовано в войне с Арменией. Но Россия и США задумываются об этом и не поставляют современное оружие.)

 

Депеши

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 BAKU 000535 SIPDIS DEPT FOR EUR/CARC DEFENSE FOR OUSDP DMELLEBY E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/02/2034 TAGS: PREL, TU, AM, AJ SUBJECT: BRINGING ILHAM ALONG: HOW TO CONVINCE AZERBAIJAN TO STOP UNDERMINING THE TURKEY-ARMENIA PROCESS REF: A. BAKU 524 B. BAKU 453 C. BAKU 533 (NOTAL) Classified By: DCM Donald Lu, Reasons 1.4 (b) and (d) 1. (C) Summary: Azerbaijan has loudly and repeatedly complained that the Turkey-Armenia reconciliation process potentially weakens Azerbaijan's position in its conflict with Armenia (reftel a). They have through domestic pressure and threats of a natural gas cutoff tried to force the Turks to back away from the process. This drama has also had a profoundly negative effect on U.S.-Azerbaijani bilateral relations (reftel b). Embassy Baku worries that the current slide in relations with both Turkey and the U.S. could continue to deteriorate. The agreement to sell, admittedly small, volumes of natural gas to Russia this week is evidence of the stakes. 2. (C) Summary continued: Some in Azerbaijan, including perhaps the President, are smart enough to understand that the Turkey-Armenia process is likely to continue with or without Azerbaijan's permission. President Aliyev has signaled his interest in several forms of enhanced cooperation - some of which could have a positive effect on U.S. interests. Embassy Baku believes seriously pursuing one or more of these Azerbaijani priorities would be enough to convince Azerbaijan to remain silent on Turkey-Armenia. End Summary. Why Do the Azeris View it So Differently? ----------------------------------------- 3. (C) Reasonable or not, Baku's policy toward the Turkey-Armenia process is a subset of its policy on Nagorno-Karabakh (NK). Baku deeply fears the loss of its key lever on the Armenians -- the closed border with Turkey -- and sees little incentive for Sargsian to negotiate in good faith in a post-open border environment. That Turkey is willing to give up this leverage while gaining nothing on NK is seen as an outright betrayal. The Turks have blamed the Americans for forcing them into this reconciliation process, so the sense of betrayal extends to the U.S. as well. 4. (C) A key problem is that Baku's analysis is predicated on a much rosier scenario for NK than it has any plausible reason to expect. The advantages that have accrued to Azerbaijan from the border closure have certainly been minimal and if anything the returns are diminishing. Furthermore, Azerbaijan, even with its focus on improving its military capability, is unlikely anytime soon to structure a force large or well-equipped enough to overcome the terrain advantages enjoyed by the NK Self-Defense Force and the Armenian army. Connection with the NK Peace Process ------------------------------------ 5. (C) The Azerbaijanis do not buy our message that progress in the Turkey-Armenia process will encourage progress in the NK peace process. Aliyev claimed to the Ambassador (reftel a) that Sargsian's toughness at the negotiating table at recent meetings has varied directly with the extent to which Turkey appears to predicate a final agreement on a resolution of NK. The Foreign Minister has repeatedly reiterated this (reftel c). The President's staff have noted that domestic controversy over the Turkey-Armenia reconciliation process is evidence that the current regime is not stable enough to sell an NK settlement to its own people. Azerbaijan's negative reactions to Turkey are fueled by Erdogan and Gul's unfriendly treatment of Aliyev. Aliyev believes the Turks would have sold Azerbaijan out months ago without even the courtesy of a consultation. 6. (C) Azerbaijan's trepidation about the process is also magnified by the drift i perceives in its relations with the United Stats, whom Baku perceives more and more to be responible for the Turkey-Armenia process(reftel b). Th government has drawn significant negative infernces from what it interprets as inattention to is priorities and BAKU 00000535 002 OF 003 non-recognition of its contributions to American priorities (reftel a). A prime example is the issue of Section 907, where Baku has inflated the fact that the Obama Administration has not pronounced definitively that it supports repeal, as previous Administrations have. They cite this absence of a public position on Section 907 as evidence of a serious shift in U.S. policy against Azerbaijan. "Non-Interference" Is Not Support --------------------------------- 7. (C) President Aliyev's line on the Turkey-Armenia process is that he is deeply disappointed at Turkish behavior, but Turkey is a sovereign country that can make its own decisions. He adds, however, that Turkey will face the consequences if it delinks reconciliation with Armenia from the NK process, and routinely points to the energy sector. Therefore, while Aliyev has said that he does not intend to "interfere" in the process, his concept of interference is elusive. It is clear that for Aliyev, non-interference does not translate into silence, and certainly not into support. If his quiet acquiescence is desired, it will have to be obtained by an approach different from what we have attempted to date. How Much Damage Can They Do, Anyway? ------------------------------------ 8. (C) The effect of Azerbaijan's disquiet about the Turkey-Armenia rapprochement is reckoned to be a weakening in Turkey's resolve to make the hard decisions necessary to move the process forward, including de-linking the process from NK. It is worth considering, however, how important Azerbaijan's complaining is at this point. Initially, it appeared that Azerbaijan's diplomacy ) sending Deputy FM Azimov to Ankara, and a few staged events by parliamentarians coordinated with the Turkish opposition - had a limited effect. Then the visit of PM Erdogan to Baku on May 13 yielded a statement that Turkey would not open the border until the NK problem was solved. 9. (C) Aliyev told Ambassador at her farewell call that MFA Under Secretary Cevikoz (reftel a) had come to him to inform him that Turkey was about to commit to de-linking NK because of intense pressure from the United States. While the extent of Aliyev's influence on the Turkey-Armenia process is debatable, what is obvious is that the U.S. is steadily losing influence in Azerbaijan as the process moves forward. Righting the Boat ----------------- 10. (C) It is plain that the United States cannot give President Aliyev what he really wants, which is an explicit linkage of the border opening to a solution of NK. Aliyev asked Ambassador Derse to explore whether any of the following are possible (reftel a): -- Progress on walking back Section 907, -- Defensive military sales, particularly air defense, and -- High-level actions to show commitment to solving NK. Either delivering on one of these items or showing a willingness to have serious dialogue on these requests could be enough to "buy" Azerbaijani silence on Turkey-Armenia. 11. (C) Some relatively simple possibilities for rejuvenating our bilateral ties in the near term include: -- (C) A statement from the Administration that supports previous Administrations' positions that 907 unsuitably restricts the President's authority to carry out the foreign relations of the United States, and that the Administration opposes any new conditionality on the President's waiver authority. -- (C) The appointment of a new U.S. Minsk Group negotiator who is of a more senior rank or who already has the BAKU 00000535 003 OF 003 confidence of the government in Baku. Baku might also view positively the assignment of a Minsk Group envoy who had this responsibility as a full-time vocation, as was the case prior to the Bush Administration. -- (C) A senior-level dialogue about the sale of defensive radar equipment or a similar clearly defensive air defense system. The DoD Defense Threat Reduction Agency has already provided Azerbaijan a coastal radar system to detect WMD proliferation across the Caspian. Azerbaijan is looking for systems that could provide early warning of attack from its neighbors. -- (C) A robust training and equipment program for Azerbaijani troops headed to Afghanistan. The government is seriously considering a battalion-sized contribution to Operation Enduring Freedom, but are hoping for a serious, sustained commitment to train the units that are being deployed with American forces in Afghanistan. 12. (C) Each of these suggestions would respond directly to requests made by President Aliyev. Moreover, we are at a point where increasing Aliyev's prestige in a matter that elevates him personally will give him room to show some results for his pro-Western policy orientation, strengthen his position vis-a-vis Russia and the confidence to stay at the table in the Minsk process. Most importantly, it will contribute to preserving Azerbaijan as an economic and security partner of genuine value as the country moves through a transformative phase in its relations with its closest ally. DERSE

 

C O N F I D E N T I A L BAKU 000109 SIPDIS DEPT FOR EUR/CARC, INR (PSTRONSKI), DEFENSE FOR OUSD(P) DMELLEBY E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/10/2019 TAGS: PGOV, PREL, AJ, AM, RU SUBJECT: AZERBAIJAN AND RUSSIA: CAN BAKU MAINTAIN THE BALANCE? REF: A. A) 08 BAKU 646 B. B) BAKU 73 Classified By: Ambassador Anne E. Derse, Reasons 1.4 (b) and (d). 1. (C) Summary: Analysts across the political spectrum in Baku suggest that Russia has stepped up diplomatic efforts to lure Azerbaijan away from its political, security, and energy links to the West. They note that this is part of a broader Russian effort to regain its position as the political and economic arbiter of affairs in the greater South Caucasus region. Recognizing the premium the Aliyev regime places on stability, Russia will likely continue attempts to show that the West is an unreliable partner, that westward orientation and democratization lead to chaos, and that the road to regime stability runs through Moscow. Recent allegations in Baku of a Russia-Armenia arms transfer, however, have muddied the waters for Moscow, as has an ongoing lack of trust in Moscow's dealings on the resolution of Nagorno-Karabakh. The GOAJ, recognizing that Russia is an important trade and investment partner and the host of 800,000 or more Azerbaijani guest workers, will likely act to maintain a balanced north-south, east-west foreign policy for as long as it is tenable, even as its giant neighbor more actively chips away at the middle ground Azerbaijan has successfully occupied since the 1990s. End Summary. Privileged Interests and a Subtler Approach ------------------------------------------- 2. (C) Azerbaijani experts across the political spectrum agree that Russia's goal in Azerbaijan and the neighborhood is to maintain or re-establish influence in the Caucasus region, especially following its August invasion of Georgia. Many Russians have not accepted, nor will likely accept, that the South Caucasus countries are fully sovereign or independent. Moreover, they say, Russia worries that given too much leeway, Azerbaijan, like some other former Soviet countries, will move ultimately to integrate into the West. 3. (C) Government contacts and private analysts cite evidence that the Kremlin has a coordinated plan to diminish Western influence in its "near abroad." In addition to significantly intensified diplomacy, this includes the passing of falsified intelligence reports, public disinformation campaigns and other "active measures," they say. Private analysts suggest that the Russians manipulate local media outlets and warn leaders in the region about American intentions to spread so-called "color revolutions," like those in Georgia and Ukraine. This allows, they say, for Russia to stoke and then feed on the fears of regional leaders - whose enthusiasm for democracy is to say the least underdeveloped. In Azerbaijan, there is clearly a Russian hand behind deep- seated Azerbaijani ire over alleged Western &double standards8 on democracy and human rights and continuing suspicions about western interference in Azerbaijan,s domestic affairs. 4. (C) In this vein, Russia appears to be stepping up diplomatic activities to regain influence in Azerbaijan. The historic July 2008 visit of President Medvedev with a large official and business delegation underscored, according to the Russian Ambassador in Baku (Reftel A), that Azerbaijan is now a country of Russian "privileged interest." Intensified business and official contacts followed. Most recently, the November 2 Moscow declaration regarding Nagorno-Karabakh indicates that Russia is trying to position itself as the key mediator for the resolution of this conflict. Moscow's decision to invite Aliyev to Moscow soon after his October 29 inauguration was significant. The Kremlin's decision to send a high level Kremlin official, the Head of the Presidential Administration, Sergey Naryshkin, to visit Aliyev twice within two months after the inauguration was also notable. 5. (C) Local analysts note, however, that Russia's interests and approach in Azerbaijan differ in part, at least, from its approach to Ukraine, Georgia, and Armenia. Russia shares with Ukraine a Slavic heritage, (mostly) common language, and Orthodoxy. With Georgia and Armenia, Russia shares Orthodoxy and relatively strong pre-Soviet ties. Azerbaijan, on the other hand, looks in many ways to Moscow like Central or South Asia ) an area where Russia has some historical ties, but less pre-Soviet influence and cultural congruence. For these reasons, Moscow's intentions toward Azerbaijan tend to be less based on historical and ethnic claims, and are more closely based on calculated national interests. Azerbaijan's strategic location and natural resource wealth are the focus of Moscow's attention. Redlines on Security and Energy -------------------------------- 6. (C) According to local analysts, the "redlines" that Russia does not want Azerbaijan to cross are fairly clear. While it tolerates Azerbaijan's supply of troops to Afghanistan or inclusion in the South Asia supply corridor, joining NATO or hosting a U.S. military base would provoke a strong reaction by the Kremlin. Moreover, Russia would consider overt Azerbaijani political or military support for Georgia unacceptable. In the winter of 2007, Azerbaijan's willingness to defy Russia's natural gas blockade of Georgia tested Moscow's patience. Similarly, Baku's direct energy outreach to the West causes great consternation in Russia. Moscow clearly regrets its inability to halt the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil project in the mid-1990s, a period when the Kremlin was relatively weak and distracted in the region by the war in Chechnya, and appears determined to ensure that the experience is not repeated with Azerbaijani and Caspian gas. 7. (C) Analysts here argue that one of Russia's primary strengths continues to be its vast energy resources, and that it is determined to maintain the monopoly it holds on energy development and transport and the related influence this gives Russia in the region and, indeed, the larger neighborhood. As a result, they say, Russia is concerned with any country, like Azerbaijan, that might challenge Russia's energy dominance, even as a supplemental supplier. Azerbaijan cut imports of Russian natural gas in the winter of 2006-2007, after a dispute with GazProm on pricing. Meanwhile, Azerbaijan,s SOCAR has stepped up natural gas supply to Georgia and invested heavily in that country,s energy infrastructure. Russia has responded with numerous offers to buy Azerbaijan,s Shah Deniz Phase II gas at &market prices8; in the public sphere, at least, the GOAJ, which has struggled to forge a gas transit agreement with Turkey, has not entirely ruled out such a deal. 8. (C) Of particular concern to Moscow right now, many analysts here suggest, is the possibility that Azerbaijan could become a conduit for hydrocarbons from the opposite shore of the Caspian. With depletion of existing oil and gas fields and lack of investment in infrastructure, Russia relies on Turkmen gas to meet its commitments in Europe. Russian energy policy in the Caspian, therefore, is partly about minimizing the threat of competition, but it also is about covering up its own domestic shortcomings: lack of investment in exploration, development and transport, and inefficient use of energy resources at home. Bilateral Relations: Serious Leverage... ----------------------------------------- 9. (C) At the highest levels, the Government of Azerbaijan often discusses the country's precarious geopolitical position -- squeezed between three historically powerful states: Turkey, Iran and Russia. Because of this tough neighborhood, and to consolidate his power, President Aliyev, like his father, puts a premium on domestic stability and &balance8 in foreign policy. He is also acutely aware that Russia has national security interests in Azerbaijan ) energy, a gateway to Iran and the Middle East, a north/south corridor, a backdoor to Georgia and the North Caucasus, and a military presence at the Qabala radar site. Among international observers here, there is concern that Russia is seeking increasingly to demonstrate that siding with the West did not bring stability or security to Georgia and that the West is not an effective partner in talks to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. That has led to speculation that President Aliyev, who was educated in Moscow and has family ties there, has the ability to drift towards a closer relationship with Russia if he is not actively courted by the West. Azerbaijan participates in the Commonwealth of Independent States, but (unlike Armenia) has resisted invitations to join the Collective Security Treaty Organization. 10. (C) Outside the energy sector, Russia is Azerbaijan's largest trade and investment partner. Azerbaijan's agricultural export production, for example, largely makes its way to markets in the North. Russia traditionally has also been the site of educational and cultural exchanges. Generations of Baku's top families have been educated at Russian universities. Much of Azerbaijan's power elite is known to have enormous financial interests in Moscow. Russia also hosts over 800,000 guest workers from Azerbaijan, many of whom are villagers who find work at Russian construction sites or in street markets. These workers, in turn, remit wages to relatives in some of Azerbaijan's poorest districts. Local economists note that these remittances constitute the bulk of economic activity in rural Azerbaijan ) areas far removed from the new wealth of Azerbaijan's offshore oil fields. Should Russia expel these guest workers or otherwise disrupt the flow of remittances, Azerbaijan would be subjected to an enormous economic blow, and quite possibly significant social unrest. The Russians employed this point of leverage during the fall 2006 gas dispute with Azerbaijan, with a crackdown on registration of illegal aliens in Moscow,s markets, many of which are staffed by ethnic Azeris. ...And Serious Baggage ---------------------- 11. (C) Azerbaijan, however, sees Russia as a defender of Armenia. Stories abound in Baku of Russian historical and current meddling in Nagorno-Karabakh; recently, with new charges, as yet unproven, of large arms transfers from Russia to Armenia. Azerbaijanis are acutely aware of the Russian security guarantee for Armenia based on Yerevan's membership in the Collective Security Treaty Organization. In recent weeks, Baku has buzzed with harsh rhetoric for Moscow over an alleged weapons transfer from Russia's Gyumri military base in Armenia (Reftel B). Some suggest that a strong Azerbaijani lobby in Russia, including several prominent businessmen, presses Moscow to some extent to balance its position in the South Caucasus and not tilt too strongly toward Armenia. Nonetheless, a perception of unequal and unfair treatment, combined with an unpleasant legacy of Soviet domination, taints Russia's image in Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan's Balancing Act -------------------------- 12. (C) Azerbaijan, to date, under Ilham Aliyev's leadership, has pursued a relatively balanced foreign policy, with a slight tilt to the West. Aliyev, who allegedly himself has financial interests in Moscow, has shown little appetite for conflict with his northern neighbor, and indeed is proud of what he considers to be his astute management of this difficult partner. In numerous meetings with foreign delegations, he has criticized Saakashvili and stated in no unclear terms that Georgia is not a model for Azerbaijan. In contrast to his father, Aliyev also has shied away from open confrontation with Iran, despite an intense distrust of Teheran's intentions in Azerbaijan. In spite of much grumbling behind closed doors, he has refrained from public criticism of Ankara, which he privately accuses of promoting an Islamic agenda in Azerbaijan. (Note: President Aliyev and his advisors routinely name Armenia and Iran, rather than Russia, as the greatest security threats to Azerbaijan. End Note.) Aliyev and his government have continued to cultivate ties with the US and the EU, while staking out a much tougher position vis-a-vis Western criticism and alleged &double standards8 towards Azerbaijan on democracy and human rights, with the most visceral reactions following unfavorable comparisons with Georgia and Armenia. 13. (C) Comment. Few in Baku doubt that Russia is actively seeking ways to reassert influence here and concurrently weaken the United States' position. In some quarters, analysts suggest, for example, that Russia could offer to strike a bargain with Baku to soften Azerbaijan's western loyalties and/or cooperation on energy projects for Russia's delivery of progress on a Nagorno-Karabakh settlement favorable to Azerbaijan. Most agree that delivery of demonstrable progress on Nagorno-Karabakh would be the one offer Baku would find hard to refuse. Aliyev has made it clear that Ukraine and Georgia,-- countries that have veered sharply to the West, and where political opening, in his view, has brought instability -- and Turkey, where in his view it has brought renewed Islamic influence -- are not models for Azerbaijan. The GOAJ's recent efforts to close down foreign broadcasts on national frequencies and hold a referendum to remove presidential term limits also reveal a new willingness to more openly break with some of the values of the West, especially where such steps aid in consolidation of the government,s power. 14. (C) Comment Continued. While Baku,s healthy historical mistrust of Russia tends to militate for it to continue its "balanced" foreign policy, in which it tilts to the West, but does not fully embrace or resist Moscow, Tehran, Ankara, or Europe, Azerbaijan,s new uncertainty about the reliability of the West as a partner and the shifting power balance in the region after the invasion of Georgia offer Russia real possibilities to undermine what has been the unifying concept of Azerbaijan's foreign policy for the last fifteen years. DERSE

 

Conversations With Serdyukov ---------------------------- 5. (S) Abiyev told the Ambassador about his late-January trip to Moscow to discuss Azerbaijan's allegations that Russia had made extensive weapons transfers to Armenia throughout 2008. In formal meetings, Abiyev said, his Russian counterpart stuck to the talking points and denied any involvement. However, "after the second bottle of vodka," that evening, he said, the Russians opened up and admitted to having transferred weapons to Armenia.In an interesting side note, Abiyev quoted Serdyukov as saying: "Do you follow the orders of your President?...Well, I follow the orders of two Presidents." DERSE

 

S E C R E T BAKU 000073 NOFORN SIPDIS DEPT FOR EUR/CARC, DAS BRYZA DEFENSE FOR OUSD(P) DMELLEBY E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/29/2029 TAGS: PGOV, PREL, AM, AJ SUBJECT: BAKU UP IN ARMS OVER ALLEGED RUSSIAN WEAPONS TRANSFER REF: USDAO BAKU IIR 6 941 0173 09 Classified By: Deputy Chief of Mission Donald Lu, Reasons 1.4 (b) and ( d) 1. (S) Summary and Comment: Official Baku has expressed vocal concerns since January 12, when press reports surfaced that Russia allegedly had transferred a quantity of vehicles, weapons and ammunition worth USD 800 million from the Russian Base No. 102 in Gyumri, Armenia to the Armenian armed forces. Initial reports in the press listed significant items such as 21 T-72 tanks, 27 BMP-2 armored fighting vehicles, and 210 SA-6 surface-to-air missiles. A second list, circulated first by the Ministry of Defense and later made part of a GOAJ intervention at the OSCE, was more extensive and also alleged that among other systems the transfer included 4 SA-11 launchers and the associated fire control radar as well as 2 SA-13 systems. The Azerbaijani MFA summoned the Russian Ambassador January 15 to demand an explanation, and Russia answered with a note of denial to the Azerbaijani embassy in Moscow January 21. Embassy's current evaluation is that the GOAJ genuinely believes the accusations it is making and that there is unusual coordination between Ministries to disseminate the information. End Summary. What Happened ------------- 2. (S/NF) After the initial reports in the press (January 12, beginning with the news Web site www.mediaforum.az), MOD provided Baku DATT with a document purported to be a copy of a secret order by Lieutenant General V. Golovchenko, Deputy Commander and armaments chief of the North Caucasus Military District, listing military equipment transferred from Russia's Base No. 102 at Gyumri to the Armenian military. The list includes 69 items, (details Ref IIR). MOD asserted to DATT at a meeting that the weapons were already in Armenia. A section chief from the security affairs department of MFA told Emboff separately that the mechanism for the transfer was that Russia simply left the weapons in Armenia in the process of removing them from the former Russian military base in Gudauta, in the region of Abkhazia. He said the list represented a cumulative list of what Russia had provided throughout 2008. 3. (S/NF) Emboffs separately met with the Minister of National Security on January 29. The Minister told Emboffs that the MNS originally obtained the document that MOD passed to DATT, and that the Ministry was completely certain of the accuracy of its information. A senior MNS official alluded to another, more specific and even better-sourced report that he would share with the Embassy when he had permission to do so. 4. (S/NF) The Minister of National Security also gave Emboffs a readout of the Foreign Minister's meeting with the Russian Ambassador, which he said began with the Ambassador not taking the matter seriously at all - but ended with him at a loss for a good explanation. GOAJ Coordinates its Story ... ------------------------------ 5. (S/NF) The GOAJ's approach has been unusually well-coordinated. The Embassy strongly believes that this story found its way into the press as the result of a government leak, either from MOD, MNS or the Presidential Apparat. The ministries, (with the exception of MOD, who sent the list to us) while not reaching out directly to the Embassy, have been ready to talk and have provided consistent, detailed accounts of what happened. That three Ministries - Foreign Affairs, Defense and National Security, and the press, have coordinated so well clearly indicated orchestration at a level higher than an individual ministry. Russia Fails to Respond ----------------------- 6. (C) By contrast, Russia's response in Baku's eyes has been uneven and equivocal. MOD spokesmen have contradicted each other on whether the transfer took place (initially it was basically confirmed, then angrily denied), and then the Russian MFA took almost a week to formulate a very narrowly worded denial. On January 27, the Russian Ambassador in Baku said that a meeting of the Russian and Azerbaijani Defense Ministers would resolve the problem once and for all, but did not announce that a meeting had been scheduled nor give any idea how the meeting would be useful. Is There Fire to Go With the Smoke? ----------------------------------- 7. (S/NF) While not providing definitive intelligence, some parts of the story seem plausible, and the case that the story is totally fabricated is difficult to make. The GOAJ's theory of how the weapons came to be in Armenia is consistent on its face, and Russia's responses to Azerbaijan's charges have been contradictory, delayed and unconvincing. 8. (S) Aspects of the Azerbaijani case do leave questions unanswered. The document provided by MOD, according to an informal analysis obtained by DATT from JAC Molesworth (Ref IIR) exhibits certain minor inconsistencies with known exemplars of Russian documentation, although it is not difficult to imagine that MNS would try to disguise its sources by packaging its intelligence, which may have come from disparate sources, for maximum effect. Embassy is also skeptical about the claim that the equipment is worth USD 800 million, but the possible exaggeration does not necessarily discredit the existence of an arms transfer of a smaller amount. It could possibly be intended for domestic consumption to raise comparisons to Russia's provision of USD 1 billion in weapons to Armenia in the aftermath of the Karabakh war - a point the Russian Ambassador raised defensively at a press conference 27 January. Why This, Why Now? ------------------ 9. (S/NF) The reason the GOAJ is aggressively pushing this story in the media is unclear. While over time it may be used as a pretext for a CFE-busting arms purchase, to justify a hardening of its position in N-K negotiations, or shown to be for domestic political purposes as the referendum on eliminating presidential term limits on March 18 approaches, none of these reasons are particularly compelling. Azerbaijan is already pursuing across-the-board upgrades in its military capability (although the President,s rhetoric has vastly outpaced the results), its position on N-K is already basically absolute and the government is handily suppressing opposition to the referendum. 10. (S) It is likely that the GOAJ will later use this story as a lever on the United States to argue for increased military support and to accuse the West of ignoring Azerbaijan,s legitimate security problems. However, it would be strange if that were the only reason for a fairly elaborate disinformation ploy. A more direct theory is that if this were simply GOAJ disinformation it would be directed at Russia. Baku may, for example, be laying the groundwork for a foreign policy decision against Moscow,s interests and thus is establishing a solid pretext for this, but this is doubtful. It could be a negative reaction to Russia's role in convening the recent Armenian-Azerbaijan Summit in Moscow that appeared to result in pressure on Azerbaijan to renounce the use of force to retake Nagorno-Karabakh. 11. (S/NF) The apparent coordination and readiness to respond to our inquiries on the part of the GOAJ is notable. Embassy believes this indicates very high-level, i.e. above ministerial-level coordination, but it is unclear who is pulling the strings. The issue is confused by the fact that the Chief of the Presidential Apparat, Ramiz Mehdiyev, is almost the only official who could be expected to organize on this level, yet his pro-Russian proclivities are well-known. We note that President Aliyev has made no public statement on the matter while traveling, but has been in Baku during some of this time and has apparently done nothing to throttle back the GOAJ's expressions of displeasure. Comment ------- 12. (S) On balance, it appears - based on our outreach to the Foreign, National Security and Defense Ministries - that the GOAJ does believe its claims that Russia has recently provided Armenia a major military boost. If the GOAJ is correct, then Russia - a Minsk Group co-chair country - has given a military boost to one of the sides in a conflict it is supposed to be mediating. While the most serious effects of a Russian arms transfer to Armenia would be felt in the context of the N-K negotiations; there would almost certainly be a CFE issue. If any of these arms ended up in N-K, ironically they would be counted against Azerbaijan's CFE limits. The Embassy expects the Ministry of National Security to provide soon a more detailed account of the intelligence on this alleged arms transfer. The Embassy welcomes a rigorous Intelligence Community evaluation of this information as well as the arms transfer document passed by the Ministry of Defense. 13. (S) Azerbaijan believes the essence of its charges and has dressed them up for domestic consumption and to lend credibility and specificity. We do not believe that this arms transfer, if the list is accurate, would decisively alter the military balance between Azerbaijan and Armenia, but nor would it be insignificant. Its greatest significance, if true, would be in what it would reveal about Russian intentions. Embassy does not believe that Moscow's denials (which, depending on the source, have been far from consistent) are the end of the story. Russia should be asked, as a Minsk Group co-chair, to explain what has happened. DERSE

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