Eurasian Economic Union intergovernmental council to convene

The Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) intergovernmental council will begin a two-day meeting today in Kazan. The summit’s outcome will mark

Photo: Reuters

The Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) intergovernmental council will begin a two-day meeting today in Kazan.

The summit’s outcome will mark an important opportunity to gauge Moscow’s regional influence. Indication of progress towards a Kremlin-brokered peace treaty between Azerbaijan and Armenia will be key. After emerging as the primary diplomatic interlocutor between Yerevan and Baku during last year’s Nagorno-Karabakh war, Russian President Vladimir Putin seeks to cement Russian influence in the South Caucasus.

Significant breakthroughs are unlikely, yet progress towards a roadmap for a formal peace treaty is viable. The initial prospect of Baku’s participation in today’s EAEU meeting strengthened this possibility.

In the short- to medium-term, expect Russia to intensify efforts to cultivate Armenian-Azerbaijani negotiations and court Baku to the EAEU. Managing frozen conflicts while fostering integration between Russia and former Soviet Union states constitute critical foreign policy objectives for Moscow. Despite the low likelihood of Azerbaijani EAEU membership—due to an Armenian veto and Baku’s desire to pursue multi-vector foreign policy—a small breakthrough in Armenia-Azerbaijan relations in the short-term may still represent an important victory for Putin. Amid deteriorating relations with the EU and US, as well as slipping domestic popularity, Putin sorely needs such a diplomatic win.

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