Russian President, Dmitry Medvedev, paid an official visit to Azerbaijan last weekend and added to all the protocol ceremonies an exchange of political gifts.
This Caspian diplomatic offensive is due to continue this week as Medvedev travels to Kazakhstan where President Nursultan Nazarbayev also has security matters at the top of his agenda. There is equally a problem with command over energy forces and resources. Western counterparts are still inclined to give Medvedev the benefit of the doubt with his “modernization” ambitions, and the South Caucasian and Central Asian leaders are taking him semi-seriously in security discussions, but on both accounts his credit of confidence is running thin. In the opening of the new political season, Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin, will likely find a suitable moment to inform his junior partner about their joint decision on reshaping the leadership by 2012, and after that all energy-security deals would have to be re-negotiated anew.