Aside from alliance with Armenia and dealing with Georgia, Moscow now concentrates on pulling Azerbaijan deeper into its political networks. It is energy interests that drive this policy*.* Azerbaijan is about to become seriously rich with the long-expected inflow of ‘petro-dollars’ but this prosperity, contrary to what models of economic transition postulate, could bring a decline in stability as stakes in many overlapping conflicts multiply and the dispossessed turn desperate. Russia shows few doubts in exploiting and manipulating these conflicts, assuming that its role as ‘energy security’ provider would not suffer. Putin, however, has shown more talent for tactical maneuvering than for strategic positioning – and very little stomach for crisis management. Quite possibly, he will not even be around when the results of his current maneuvering mature, but the heritage of distrust tends to live very long in the Caucasus.
Baev, Pavel K. (2006) Putin Tries to Pull Azerbaijan into Sphere of Influence, CACI Analyst.