Staunton, Dec. 19 – Last week, Mikhail Aleksandrov, a senior expert at the Center for Military-Political Research at the Moscow State Institute for International Relations (MGIMO), proposed that Russia attack Azerbaijan with rockets in order to disrupt the West’s oil embargo and oil price ceiling arrangements.
He made that call on Rusarminfo.ru, a Moscow propaganda outlet; but his remarks will undoubtedly set off alarms in many places because MGIMO, where he works, is the training center for the Russian foreign ministry (censoru.net/2022/12/19/rossijskij-jekspert-predlozhil-razbombit-esche-odnu-sosednjuju-stranu-chtoby-vyjti-iz-neftjanogo-krizisa.html).
Specifically, Aleksandrov said that “Russia has the means without starting a land war with Azerbaijan to strike at Baku by bombing the Baku oil industry into oblivion and destroying the Azerbaijani energy system … If we do that, then oil will not flow to the West, and that will immediately raise oil prices” there.
The MGIMO expert also accused Azerbaijan of staging a provocation against Russian “peacekeepers” in Qarabagh.” He declared that “we must make it clear that while we may not fight in Qarabagh, we will bomb the entire energy system and Azerbaijan will be left without oil and without electricity.”
It is unlikely that Moscow is going to do any such thing, but these remarks are worrisome because they highlight the ways in which the increasingly aggressive rhetoric of the Kremlin on Ukraine is bleeding into discussions of all other issues, a situation in which resembles that of being a hammer and everything looking like a nail.
At such point, such loose and incautious talk can become the precursor of actions.