The Kremlin’s partition of Crimea from Ukraine has put other states along Russia’s “near abroad” on edge. But while most of Russia’s neighbors seem to be worried about becoming Vladimir Putin’s next target, one state, Azerbaijan, stands to benefit, at least over the longer term, from the sudden turn of events.
The Crimean crisis has revived fears among European Union states over their dependency on Russian natural gas imports, as well as the reliability of Ukraine as a transit state. This, in turn, is giving greater impetus to energy diversification projects across Europe, creating an opportunity for Azerbaijan to capitalize on its role as an alternative energy supplier at the head of the Southern Corridor energy route.
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Eugene Chausovsky is a Eurasia Analyst at Stratfor [www.stratfor.com].