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Azerbaijani leader Ilham Aliyev is said to have complained to Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin about “Armenian lobbies and individuals under its control in the Russian government” when the two met on July 21.
Aliyev’s press office reported in general terms that the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict was part of the meeting’s agenda. Putin’s office referred more vaguely to “regional problems.”
However, Haqqin.az, a website that serves as an informal voice of the Azerbaijani president’s office, said that “certain international circles were trying to undermine Azerbaijani-Russian relations.” The site went on to say that “ethnic Armenians that occupy senior state positions in the Russian political hierarchy are pursuing the interests of the world Armenians (sic), rather than Russia’s national and state interests.”
Haqqin.az and other Azerbaijani news sites (Minval.az, for example) have pointed in particular to Russia’s foreign minister Sergey Lavrov, known to be of part-Armenian descent, as well as Russia’s ambassador to Iran Levan Dzhagaryan, as “working against Azerbaijan.” They also described the recent closure of the All-Russia Azerbaijani Congress by Russia’s Justice Ministry over registration violations and the Russian Foreign Ministry’s statement on treatment of Russian citizens of Armenian descent by Azerbaijan as examples of Armenian influences.
For their part, Armenian officials and media also focused on problematic aspects in relations with Russia. At the end of June, Azerbaijan publicized the latest receipt of weaponry purchased in Russia. In response, Defense Minister Vigen Sargsyan sais that Armenia regards any weapons sales to Azerbaijan negatively. During inter-parliamentary talks in mid-July, Armenian MPs had a tense exchange with the head of Russian Duma over his suggestion that the Russian language should be given an official status in Armenia, while opposition MPs called for Armenia to withdraw from Russia-led Eurasian Economic Union.