RUSSIA'S FOREIGN RELATIONS WITH AZERBAIJAN: A RESEARCH PROPOSAL
Russia and Azerbaijan both are former socialist republics of the Former Soviet Union (FSU). Within the FSU, Russia was the dominant state, while Azerbaijan was one of the peripheral states.
In the years since the collapse of the FSU and the effective demise of the ill-fated Commonwealth of Independent States, Russia has attempted to reassert its former dominance in relations with most of the former socialist republics. While Russia has had some successes in these endeavors, there have been more instances of a lack of success or outright failure.
The case of relations between Russia and Azerbaijan is particularly interesting because of the proposed development of the petroleum resources located in the Caspian Sea region. Several states bordering the Caspian Sea, including both Russia and Azerbaijan, have direct interests in the development of these reserves. Azerbaijan, with effective control of the greatest volume of these resources, however, is in a critical decision-making position in relation to their development.
Western interests, the United States in particular, pressured Azerbaijan to exclude some countries from and include others in the consortium that will develop the Caspian Sea petroleum reserves. The desires of the United States generally were counter to those of Russia. As a consequence, relations between Russia and Azerbaijan have been strained in recent years. A research study examining post-FSU Russia-Azerbaijan relations is proposed.
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