Publication: Monitor Volume: 5 Issue: 25

According to the influential Moscow daily “Nezavisimaya gazeta,” which is controlled by CIS Executive Secretary Boris Berezovsky, the CIA and U.S. oil companies are using Azerbaijan against Russia’s strategic interests. In a continuing series “on the anti-Russian policy of the United States in the Caspian region,” the newspaper writes that “US special services have consolidated a stronghold in Azerbaijan.” “Evidence” to that effect is Azerbaijan’s support for sectoral division of the Caspian Sea, for the Baku-Ceyhan main oil export pipeline, and for general U.S. efforts to “weaken the influence of Moscow and of Tehran” in the region. Resurrecting Soviet terminology,” The newspaper pillories “American financial capital” and “the knights of cloak and dagger from Langley” for inveigling Azerbaijan into their activities.

Rather than attacking the Azerbaijani leadership, the newspaper implies that it has passively allowed itself to be used by the United States; and cautions the current leadership that it may at some stage be dumped by Washington in favor of the Azerbaijani opposition. This line suggests that some in Moscow have not yet written President Haidar Aliev off, still hoping against hope to gain influence with his government. The allusion to common Russian-Iranian interests fits in with Berezovsky’s stated view that Iran is a promising partner for Russia and even a desirable candidate for CIS membership (“The CIA is Spying on Russia from Baku,” Nezavisimaya gazeta, February 2).