by Analytical Service Turan
Analysts of different countries note, it is no coincidence that before the tour to the Caucasus, Merkel met with President Putin – a German-speaking Russian leader, an adherent of Peter's imperial culture. It is not excluded that during the meeting the Chancellor and the President agreed the depth and breadth of German expansion to the South Caucasus, of course, taking into account traditional Russian interests.
In Yerevan, Merkel made a hidden message to Russia, calling Armenia a successful model of relations with the EU and Eurasia at the same time: "Armenia can be an example of successful cooperation, both with Russia and the EU."
The Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan also made it clear that Armenia is not going to take sharp steps between the two poles: We intend to develop relations both with Russia within the framework of the EAEC and CSTO, and with the EU, in particular Germany.
Indeed, today Russia and Germany are the main economic partners of Armenia. But Merkel is impressed by the actions of Pashinyan's government in the field of democracy, fighting corruption, transparency, which further croaks the South Caucasian ship towards European civilization.
Two hundred years ago, the Russian empire granted the German burghers the opportunity to colonize the Caucasus when German settlements appeared in Georgia and Azerbaijan, and the oil boom of the second half of the 19th century exported substantial German capital and engineering thought to Baku. This fact was emphasized especially in Georgia, which could be regarded as an invitation to the next German expansion in exchange for de-occupation of part of Georgia, where Russian troops are quartered and puppet regimes are proclaimed. Merkel hinted that for her the themes of the 200th anniversary of the resettlement of the German colonists, deoccupation, Georgian European integration are of no small importance and are the tip of the South Caucasus policy. It is no accident that due to the historical and geographical realities, Georgia is a window for Western expansion into the Caucasus and further to the Caspian region, especially in the conditions of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict, when all regional projects are regulated from Tbilisi by circumstances.
The tour of Merkel to the South Caucasus tour Merkel finished in Azerbaijan. This is the traditional route of all European politicians who arrange similar regional visits. Next, the Caspian, which divides the second echelon of the struggle for influence – Central Asia. The European and mostly German assessment of the place of Azerbaijan in the Caucasian trio is regarded as communicative. If Georgia is seen as a window of Europe, then, in Lenin's words, Azerbaijan is the gateway to the East. Pipeline, transport corridors are beginning to gain increasing importance on the eve of the big economic boom, which the world economy is pregnant with. Cross-border projects – the Trans-Caspian gas pipeline, the railways, the East-West, the North-South and others, where the key place is occupied by Azerbaijan, comes to the fore in the post-Soviet policy of Germany, which is called the economic locomotive of the EU.
These issues could be at the center of attention of the Putin-Merkel meeting and act as bargaining chips of Russian pipeline expansion to Europe. It can be assumed that the implementation of the Nord Stream-2 gas pipeline, which is being lobbied by Germany, will open the way for the Trans-Caspian gas pipeline, the realization of which has been impeded for a long time by Moscow.
President Ilham Aliyev, as one of the players of the communication policy in the post-Soviet space, realizes the importance of the location and role of Azerbaijan in this matter. Taking it into account, he manages to defend his interests, which does not include tasks for any hasty integration. On the eve of Merkel's visit, discussions began in Azerbaijan about the need to join the CSTO, which could be viewed as the unwillingness of the Azerbaijani elite to discuss democracy and human rights issues in an accelerated mode, and even more in the revolutionary vein of the change of vectors in Georgia and Armenia. After long exhortations by the West, the authorities released the opposition politician Ilgar Mammadov. Observers regard this gesture as a curtsey towards Germany, no more. The alleged large amnesty did not follow. Aliyev offered to be satisfied with step-by-step solutions in bilateral and multilateral relations.