Azerbaijan-Poland: Return to the Kaczynski era
2017 June 29 ( Thursday ) 12:34:47
After a long pause in the scope of his visits to Poland, President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, made an official visit to Poland on June 26-28, which among the post-socialist states is the most zealous supporter of the entry of the former Soviet republics into the orbit of the West.
In his speech at the joint press conference with President Andrzej Duda, the Azerbaijani leader called the current Azerbaijani-Polish dialogue at the highest level "the logical continuation of the era of President Kaczynski."
"During the time of President Kaczynski, numerous visits were held: my visits to Poland, his visits to Azerbaijan. During these visits, we strengthened our friendship, talked about joint projects, launched some projects, "Aliyev said.
Indeed, only for the period 2004-2009 the times President Ilham Aliyev five times visited Poland, and three times the head of the Polish state Lech Kaczynski visited the capital of Azerbaijan. At that time Azerbaijan had no had such an intensive frequency of contacts at the highest level, except for some post-Soviet countries (Russia, Georgia, Ukraine), as well as Turkey.
In July 2009, during the visit of Kaczynski to Baku, the parties signed the "Charter of the Consultative Committee of the Presidents of Azerbaijan and Poland", "The Protocol of Intentions between SOCAR and Grupa Lotos", as well as the "Cooperation Schedule for 2009-2010 between the Security Council of Azerbaijan and the National Security Bureau of Poland. " For special merits in the development of friendly relations and cooperation between Poland and Azerbaijan, President Lech Kaczynski was awarded the Heydar Aliyev Order. In the final phase of the visit, the heads of state issued statements for the press. Ilham Aliyev noted the successful development of bilateral relations, which reached "the highest level".
However, after the death of Kaczynski in a plane crash near Smolensk in April 2010, the level of Azerbaijani-Polish ties has significantly reduced. The Poles still accuse the Kremlin of an intentional plane crash in order to liquidate Kaczynski, who was acting on the spearhead of Russian Anti-Russian policy. The aggression of Russia against Georgia in August 2008 and the catastrophe near Smolensk apparently signaled the alignment of the pro-Western tilt of Azerbaijan's foreign policy.
The subsequent maneuvers of Aliyev between Russia and the West demonstrate a more balanced course with a shift towards a demonstrative confrontation with European democracies, mainly in the issue of European integration and the promotion of democracy. It would be naive to say that it was the Russian factor that moved Aliyev to this policy of distancing. Here, it would be most appropriate to talk about the entry into conflict of two lines - the Western strategy for the democratization of Azerbaijan and the policy of Aliyev to strengthen his own authoritarian power in the conditions of the rapid growth of oil revenues.
The subsequent chain of events: the Warsaw Eastern Partnership Summit 2011 with promising prospects, the refusal of Ukraine and Armenia to sign an association agreement with the EU at a summit in Vilnius in 2014, Azerbaijan's rejection of an agreement on a strategic partnership with the EU at a summit in Riga in 2015, also affected the strategy of the Azerbaijani-Polish relations.
In Warsaw, both presidents admitted that the trade turnover of 100 million does not reflect the potential of the two countries, which also indicates the state of blocking the once ambitious plans that the parties, as they indicated, are ready to unblock. This can be facilitated by such factors as the economic crisis in Azerbaijan, the strengthening of the western dominant in the Eurasian region, the economic weakening of Russia, the implementation of new transnational communication projects.
The upcoming Brussels summit of the Eastern Partnership to be held in November, which is expected to sign a new framework agreement with the EU, will show if they will become the attendant factors of the logical continuation of the Kaczynski era.