Russia’s reversal to Islamic world and Azerbaijan’s role in the process
Baku, Azerbaijan, Oct.1
The geopolitical project of the North-South corridor, which is of strategic importance for Russia and which the country is implementing jointly with Azerbaijan and Iran, has its logical continuation to the East.
President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev will take part in the conference “The Dawn of the East and the World Political Structure” of the Valdai Discussion Club in Russia’s Sochi city Oct. 3 this year.
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Russian President Vladimir Putin will speak at a panel session entitled “A New World Order: the Look from the East”. It is expected that President Ilham Aliyev will express his vision of current issues in the world politics, in particular, on the situation in the Islamic world and the role of Azerbaijan in this world. President Aliyev’s speech on the theme of the eastern vector of geopolitics is logical, since Azerbaijan, thanks to its transport and energy projects, is not only a bridge between the North, South, East and West, but also a link to the Islamic world.
Being an authoritative member of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Azerbaijan promotes Islamic solidarity on all platforms, and this position is highly valued in the Muslim world. The task of building a reliable bridge of cooperation between Azerbaijan and the Muslim world is always on the agenda of President Ilham Aliyev, who managed to establish close relations with both Sunni and Shiite states. The role of Baku and its influence in the Islamic world has increased significantly in recent years.
Azerbaijan has turned into an international center, where numerous forums and conferences related not only to Islam, but also to multiculturalism are regularly held. For the first time in the history, the Islamic Solidarity Games were organized in Baku, and they were highly praised not only in the East, but also in the West. International initiatives, which mainly come from Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, receive corresponding appraisal in the Islamic world. In the ranking, which is annually prepared by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre of Amman, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev is named among the most influential and prestigious Muslims in the world.
The actualization of the topic “The Dawn of the East and the World Political Structure” in Russia submitted for discussion by the Valdai Discussion Club is not accidental. Moscow’s reversal to the East, the reasons for which, in particular, include deteriorating relations between Russia and the West, is only a small part of the country’s large-scale international transformation. This deterioration is caused by growing threats to Russia’s geopolitical interests not only from the countries of the Arab Spring, but also from its closest neighbors. It is no coincidence that at the meeting of Russia-Turkey-Iran on Syria during his visit to Ankara, President Vladimir Putin used a quote from the Koran in his speech. This is a kind of message to Islamic countries, a call on them for cooperation with Russia, a significant part of the population of which are Muslims.
Just like it was in history before, Azerbaijan was among the first countries to respond to the call, as evidenced by the participation of President Ilham Aliyev at the event in Sochi. While the West mainly cooperates with those Muslim countries that support radical groups, Russia can firmly rely on Azerbaijan, whose model is one of the most rational in the Islamic world. Azerbaijan is already a connecting link, initiator and full-fledged participant in the trilateral formats of Russia-Turkey-Azerbaijan and Russia-Iran-Azerbaijan cooperation. Moscow has many common points of contact with Azerbaijan and opportunities for closer cooperation with Baku in the eastern direction.
Despite the disproportionate scale of size, we are of the same type of homogeneous countries, with a common history, the presence of influential diasporas and the absence of a language barrier. Azerbaijan, just like Russia, is a multinational, multiconfessional, multilingual and multicultural country. Azerbaijani society, just like Russian one, is tolerant, where not only Islamic values and religion, but also Christianity and Judaism are respected. Thanks to its authority in the Muslim world, Azerbaijan can be a partner in deepening Russia’s cooperation with troubled countries or smoothing out often arising contradictions, in particular, by involving them in its energy and transport projects. Today, the state model in Azerbaijan has similarities with the Russian one, it justifies itself and there is stability in our countries from a religious point of view. Therefore, it seems possible to discuss on the sidelines of the Valdai Discussion Club not only the general difficult situation in the Islamic world, but also those global challenges where Azerbaijan can cooperate with Russia.
It seems that these issues, just like the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict’s settlement that is a topical issue for Baku, will be discussed during a bilateral meeting between Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the Valdai Discussion Club in Sochi.
Being official partners of the Valdai Discussion Club, we wish success to the organizers of the Sochi event.
Head of the Expert Council of the Baku Network, PhD Elkhan Alasgarov