Russian President Vladimir Putin on short but long-awaited visit to Azerbaijan
Russian President Vladimir Putin recently spoke at the 9th Russian-Azerbaijani Interregional Forum in Baku, where he touched on the positive dynamic between Azerbaijan and Russia. He also placed special emphasis on the importance of the Russian language in Azerbaijan.
“We see this and appreciate this, that is, the interest in the Russian language. Not only the interest of the citizens, but also the aid of the state [in supporting Russian], in the municipalities and cities,” Putin said.
Officially, Putin’s short visit to Baku was meant to coincide with the forum, though this explanation has not satisfied Azerbaijani journalists, analysts and interested members of the public. Putin and Aliyev met in September in Sochi, and many then said that such frequent communication between the two leaders could not merely be for social reasons.
News outlets and social networks put forward vying hypotheses, one of the most popular being that Russia has come closer to Azerbaijan given that Russia’s relations with Armenia have taken a turn since the Velvet Revolution of earlier this year.
Putin was expected in Baku on 25 September. That evening, the media announced that he would instead be arriving the following day. The meeting ended up taking place on the 27th. Putin found time to briefly speak at the forum and also observe the semi-final of the Judo World Championships which were taking place in Baku at the time.