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Minsk proves the status of a reliable partner of Baku

Interview Caliber.Az with Anatoly Boyashov, Candidate of Political Sciences, Chief Adviser of the Belarusian Institute of Strategic Research.

Анатолий Бояшов

— The state visit of the President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko to Azerbaijan was very intensive in its program. Obviously, we are witnessing an active expansion of the Baku–Minsk partnership. What aspects, in your opinion, can be highlighted here, what is of strategic importance?

— First of all, I would like to note that the state visit of the President of the Republic of Belarus is a landmark event that confirms fraternal friendship and close interaction throughout all years of independence. Alexander Lukashenko maintains warm, trusting relations with Ilham Aliyev, was familiar with and worked closely with Heydar Aliyev. Last year we celebrated the 100th anniversary of the birth of the national leader of the Azerbaijani people.

In my opinion, agreements on expanding industrial cooperation and the launch of joint ventures for the restoration of Karabakh and Eastern Zangezur are of strategic importance. In general, Baku and Minsk have agreed on many things: for example, work is underway to launch joint productions of complex mineral fertilizers, fire equipment, elevator equipment, medicines, it is planned to increase the production capacity of joint assemblies of the Minsk Tractor Plant and the Ganja Automobile Plant, expand the production of electric buses and combine harvesters. There is an agreement to increase Belarusian exports of cattle and dairy products, and expand exports of timber.

Humanitarian cooperation will also be strengthened, in particular in the field of vocational technical education. New universities are being built in the liberated territories, where the experience of Belarusian specialists will be useful. In addition, it is expected to intensify the development of contacts in sports, especially in the field of martial arts, for example, taekwondo, sambo, judo and hand-to-hand combat.

— The visit of the President of Belarus to the liberated territories covered several districts at once. The leaders' visit to Shusha was very memorable for its intensity. How does Belarus feel about the liberation by Azerbaijan of its territories? What of the visits to Shusha would you highlight in particular?

— Indeed, the acquaintance with Shusha made a deep impression on President Lukashenko. There is no doubt that Shusha has become a model of creative policy and the launch of a peaceful agenda for the region development. Apart from critical infrastructure, logistics and military importance, Shusha stands out as the cultural and historical center of Azerbaijan. This forms the basis for creating a kind of standard for the revival of the liberated territories, a special regional identity for the country, the Azerbaijani people. It is for this reason that the visit of the presidents to the Creative Center, restored by the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, in my opinion, emphasized the high importance of museums and monuments and, as a result, historical memory in the development of the liberated area. I think that the reference character of the development of Shusha includes well-established management mechanisms, that is why the presidents, during their trip to Shusha, focused on modern technologies of public transport and unified public service centers. In this case, it is the launch of electric buses in Shusha and creation of public service centers "Asan Hidmyat".


— The Belarusian Institute of Strategic Research has been actively cooperating with the Azerbaijani Center for International Relations Analysis (AIR Center) for several years, including a joint analysis of the logistics potential in the liberated territories. Can you tell us about this in more detail?

— The Belarusian Institute of Strategic Research (BISR) was established by the President of the Republic of Belarus on February 12, 2019 in order to provide information and analytical support for the activities of state bodies and officials in strategic areas of foreign and domestic policy. Already in 2019, on November 5, a Memorandum of Cooperation was signed between BISR and AIR Center. Since then, we have maintained regular interaction at the management and analyst levels. We greatly appreciate the opportunity to share our experience with Azerbaijani analysts directly and without intermediaries to ensure the strategic national interests of our countries. We thank all the expert community of Azerbaijan, with whom we work, for their cooperation.

In early 2024, BISR and AIR Center analysts conducted a joint study of the prospects for connecting international transport corridors involving Azerbaijan and Belarus. The result of the study was an analytical report on the transport and logistics priorities of the two countries, the potential for interfacing international transport corridors, as well as directions for enhancing bilateral cooperation. The report, in particular, is published on the AIR Center website. In general, we came to the conclusion about the expediency of holding an interregional forum between Belarus and Azerbaijan, favorable prospects for launching joint production of containers and rolling stock, studying risks and conflict prevention models. We are ready to further develop our expert cooperation.

— Judging by the results of the visit, Belarus intends to engage in a large construction project in Karabakh. Minister of Architecture and Construction Ruslan Parhamovich speaks about Belarus' plans to build a settlement in Karabakh for 420 families. What kind of know-how in this area can Minsk share?

— In Belarus, special attention is paid to the balanced development of urbanization processes. Over the past 20 years, more than 60% of the housing stock in rural areas has been built in Belarus. We have an experience in creating the infrastructure of satellite cities and so-called small towns. In particular, an original model has been developed for the construction of such a type of rural settlement as an agro-town; here we are talking about a comprehensive study of the connection of the settlement with the district, the construction of a developed economic infrastructure, not only housing. This implies comfortable transport links, easy access to public buildings, taking into account the needs of residents in kindergartens, schools and modern polyclinics. So, Belarus has something to offer Azerbaijan in this area.


— At the start of the visit, analysts said that the topic of regional security, where the leaders have something to discuss with each other, could become an important point. In this regard, the military component of cooperation between our countries is probably also important…

Without saying too much, the wise policy of Ilham Aliyev has turned Azerbaijan into a key player in regional integration processes. I think that in the future Baku will maintain its leading position thanks to political stability, an effective system of public administration, professional diplomacy and well-established mechanisms for the revival of the new Azerbaijan. I have no doubt about one thing: Belarus and Azerbaijan will always give each other a shoulder. And Minsk consistently proves its status as a reliable partner in the field of military-technical cooperation again and again. Given that Baku has real combat experience and the need for new weapons, the highly developed and proven military-industrial complex of Belarus will continue to be in demand for the systematic modernization of Azerbaijan's defense capability and the confident consolidation of the peaceful development agenda.