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Azerbaijan States Intention To Join BRICS

The Pro-Russia BRICS bloc has soft power control over the Caspian and Red Sea supply chains 

Azerbaijan, which has been attending the annual Heads of State meetings of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in Astana has expressed interest in joining the BRICS grouping. 

The BRICS includes Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, while Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the UAE joined from 1st January this year. Azerbaijan’s intent was signalled through cooperation documents it signed with China at the SCO meetings. Baku and Beijing adopted a joint declaration “On Establishing Strategic Partnership between the Republic of Azerbaijan and the People’s Republic of China” at the SCO summit, which states, amongst other Sino-Azeri bilateral developments that “Azerbaijan expresses its desire to join the BRICS, and China welcomes Azerbaijan’s participation in BRICS cooperation.”

Russia is also likely to be supportive as Azerbaijan’s involvement would create an additional link between it, Iran and the Middle Eastern region via road, rail and Caspian Sea access, while neighbouring Turkiye has also expressed interest in joining the BRICS. It would make the Caspian Sea region very much a pro-Russian regional trade and supply chain play.

This geopolitical influence also extends to the Red Sea, where the BRICS group, which now includes Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran and Saudi Arabia, also effectively possess soft control over the Red Sea supply chains – and especially now that Iran and Sudan have recently signed bilateral trade and investment agreements.

According to Azerbaijani Deputy Prime Minister Shahin Mustafayev, Russia’s 2023 bilateral trade with Azerbaijan reached US$4.4 billion and is expected to grow significantly during 2024. He said that “Serious headway was made in the past few years in practically all areas of cooperation, including investment interaction, industrial cooperation and cooperation in the transport and energy, agriculture, cultural and humanitarian, and many other spheres. Azerbaijan has invested more than US$1 billion in the Russian economy, and Russia has invested more than US$8.7 billion in the Azerbaijani economy. A large package of investment projects with Russian capital is now being implemented in Azerbaijan.”  

Azerbaijan is additionally a member of the Commonwealth of Independent States, (CIS) a trade bloc of ex-Soviet states that also includes Armenia, Belarus, Kazkahstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. All these countries Heads of State are also at the SCO event. 

Further Reading

Russia-Azerbaijan 2024 Trade & Development

This subject is extensively discussed in our 2024 Russia’s Pivot To Asia guide. This is a complimentary download and can be accessed in English here and in Russian here

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