Under the leadership of President Ilham Aliyev, Azerbaijan holds a balanced foreign policy for the benefit of the country, Russian experts say.
"It seems to me that the foreign policy of President Ilham Aliyev is very balanced and systemic, I would even say, with a demonstration of exceptional talent, not to say a diplomatic genius," said Sergey Markov, a Russian political expert and general director of the Institute of Political Studies.
According to him, the Azerbaijani president demonstrates concentrated flexibility in diplomacy, as one of the key characteristics of traditional Azerbaijani culture. The political expert stressed that this quality was developed also owing to Ilham Aliyev's MGIMO education. “It gives us the right to be proud of him,” the Russian expert added.
He noted that the Azerbaijani diplomacy today is expressed in a highly balanced policy.
"Azerbaijan is a unique country where elections are generally supported by geopolitical opponents - Russia and the United States. Azerbaijan manages to maintain excellent relations with the West and Russia. The neutrality and positivity are reflected in the fact that Baku plays a host to many meetings, for example, of chiefs of the Russian and NATO General Staffs," Markov said.
Sergey Markov, Russian political expert and general director of the Institute of Political Studies
The foreign policy of President Ilham Aliyev is very balanced and systemic.
He expressed the opinion that official Baku uses excellent relations with various geopolitical centers for its strength and benefit.
"For example, having good relations with Russia and Turkey, Azerbaijan and personally its President Ilham Aliyev played a role in restoring the relationship between Moscow and Ankara after the known crisis. In addition, Azerbaijan also acts as the initiator and platform for discussing the problems of modernity. Here the key part is played by the Baku Humanitarian Forum that maximally promotes the idea of multiculturalism, which is exceptional for peace. Azerbaijan is one of the standard-bearers of multiculturalism in the modern world," the Russian expert said.
Touching upon the Amnesty Act signed by President Ilham Aliyev on March 16 of this year, Markov stressed that it is a manifestation of "mercy and strength of the Azerbaijani leadership inside the country." He expressed the opinion that this pardon decree also contributes to a certain improvement in relations with the West, which "criticizes Azerbaijan for detaining a number of people whom they consider to be 'political prisoners'."
In turn, another Russian expert, Yevgeny Mikhailov believes that in recent years Azerbaijan has been able to build a stable and progressive foreign policy in the way that is positive for the country.
"It is primarily aimed both at strengthening good-neighborly relations with the closest countries, and at strengthening Baku’s influence throughout the world. We see the active negotiation processes, both with African and Latin American leaders, which primarily means the expansion of the geography of economic and political interests Baku," Mikhailov said.
According to him, Azerbaijan and its leadership have one line and one path - first of all, the security of the country and the economic well-being of its people.
"In terms of security, we are now witnessing a new Azerbaijan with a strong, efficient and well-equipped army. As for the economic component, against the background of many countries, we notice that the population of the republic feels calm and fairly secure. I can confirm this from the personal experience of my visits to the republic," the political expert added.
Mikhailov expressed the opinion that the Azerbaijani army today has become powerful thanks primarily to President Ilham Aliyev and his team.
"As a smart and educated person, Aliyev is, above all, a strategist and does not want the blood of thousands of innocents to be shed. At the same time, in my opinion, it is precisely in recent years that tremendous efforts have been made so that all Karabakh Armenians return to Baku after being tired of instability. It is no coincidence that there are frank statements by Karabakh Armenians and war veterans that they lived well with Azerbaijanis. And in the Soviet times people in Karabakh lived better than in Azerbaijan,” he said, adding that, in his opinion, President Ilham Aliyev is also capable of making tough decisions if the diplomatic outcome of the negotiations reaches an impasse.
Russian expert Yevgeny Mikhailov
Azerbaijani army today has become powerful thanks primarily to President Ilham Aliyev and his team.
According to him, Ilham Aliyev has done a lot for the position of Azerbaijan in the international arena, being "the successor of his great father Heydar Aliyev".
"Having experience in teaching at the best universities, that is, possessing tremendous basic experience, he brought all his knowledge into politics, directing it to the good of his country. At all the meetings of the world level, both international media and politicians in other countries note the equilibrium and stability of holding negotiations by Ilham Aliyev, in which he systematically achieves what is necessary for his people," the expert concluded.