Azerbaijan warned not to follow Baltic path

  • 2008-07-29
  • Mike Collier

Photo: Behzad Rahmati

BAKU- Russian political scientist Zurab Todua has accused the Baltic states of "restricting the rights of Russians" and "trying to do everything possible" to restrict their dealings with Russia.

Furthermore, Todua believes that choosing a democratic western orientation rather than cozying up to their former occupier is costing each country up to $2bn per year, which he sarcastically characterizes as "the wise policy of Vilnius, Riga and Tallinn."

Interviewed on Azeri website Today.Az, Todua warns that Azerbaijan's warming relationship with the West could have serious consequences and draws a parallel with the Baltics' experience.

"The Baltic states have long tried to make everything possible to limit relations with Russia, trying to hurt it. They have been restricting the rights of Russians residing there. Last year Estonia passed a decision on the transfer of the Bronze soldier," the Central Asian expert said.

"In the end, Russia got sick and tired of it. It ceased oil transit via the ports of Estonia and Latvia (65,000,000 tons of oil per year), rejected the services of the Majekae (Mazeikiu) oil refinery in Lithuania. Now, oil will be transported via the city-port, which is under construction 40 kilometers away from the border with Estonia. The gas transit will be conducted by the North European gas pipeline by the floor of the Finnish gulf.

"The irreparable losses of the budgets of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia makes from $1.5 to 2 bln per year for each of these states. Now terminals in Latvia and Estonia are idle, the oil refinery in Majekae is just a piece of corroding iron. But Baltic states create fantastic and unreal plans of their use, though they are not interesting for anyone, except for themselves. Who will dare to state that this was the result of the wise policy of Vilnius, Riga and Tallinn?"