Russia yesterday extradited the former Prime Minister of Azerbaijan, Suret Husseinov, who is wanted in Baku on charges of leading — or participating in — several coups d’etat as well as for trafficking in drugs. Senior Azerbaijani law enforcement officials flew to Russia to take custody of Husseinov and escorted him back to Azerbaijan. Moscow had harbored Husseinov since 1994 and resisted Baku’s numerous extradition requests. Azerbaijani observers surmise that Moscow’s latest gesture seeks to "conciliate" Baku following revelations of massive deliveries of Russian armor to Armenia, although Russia’s Foreign Ministry rejected that supposition yesterday. More generally, the extradition seems to illustrate a shift in Moscow’s tactics — to using wanted Azerbaijani conspirators as bargaining chips in Russian-Azerbaijani relations rather than as instruments of pressure, as had earlier been the case.
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