Alternatives: Turkish Journal of International Relations, Vol. 7, No. 2 & 3, Summer & Fall 2008
Russia and Azerbaijan: Relations after 1989
The sudden collapse of the Soviet Union has, on several levels, brought about many novel
complexities to world politics. On the global level, the collapse of the Soviet Union ended the
bi-polar world politics in the dangerous confrontations between Soviet ideology and power
and that of the United States. The impact of the disintegration of the Union of Soviet Socialist
Republics (USSR) has been seen at the regional level as well. In particular, Central Asia and
Caucasus, Eastern and Central Europe, and Baltic countries have escaped from direct Soviet
domination, and so new competitions for domination have arisen. However, the most
important and challenging changes have been witnessed at the individual level, insofar as
fifteen new independent states have emerged post-collapse. After escaping from the
domination of the USSR, these emerging states have been perplexed by the challenges of
nationhood, identity politics, and state-building, re-reformulating their economic system, and
entering into a global situation as independent but weak states. Thus, the collapse of Pax
Sovieticus has raised a series of new foreign and security challenges, posing various obstacles
and dilemmas for them.
Among these many challenges, relations with other states, especially with the Russian
Federation, have posed some of the most problematic issues. Newly independent states were
faced with a paradoxical situation. On the one hand, they were still dependent on Russia as
their new neighbor and the old center of the industrial and economic network, and therefore
they needed healthy relations.
On the other hand, they wanted to avoid a new system of re-
domination by Russia, where a similar situation to the one left behind would be in place.
Their fears were seemingly realized upon Russia’s immediate establishment of the