The Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov stated that he hopes to succeed returning the Russian citizen Marat Ueldanov-Galsyan from Baku to Russia. Ueldanov-Galstyan has been in an Azerbaijani prison for 2 years. He was charged with drugs, and he and his family believe that the reason is his Armenian origin. Ueldanov is his wife’s family name. In Baku he was arrested in 2016, first he was charged with espionage, then drugs.
Lavrov said that in his meetings with Azerbaijani counterparts they regularly bring up the issue and hope to achieve a solution in the framework of legal procedures.
In fact, it has been two years Russia cannot return its citizen of Armenian origin.
No doubt the citizen is a hostage held by Baku, Azerbaijan is trying to use him in his relations with Russia. The interesting thing is the expectation from playing this card. What does Baku want in return for Ueldanov-Galstyan and is this related to the Armenian side?
In this sense, it is notable that a Russian citizen of Azerbaijani origin Dilham Askerov arrested by the Armenian side is one of the saboteurs of Karvachar who were sentenced for life in Artsakh for reconnaissance-in-force and for killing a 17-year old young man from Karvachar, Artsakh.
It became known that the Azerbaijani saboteur was a Russian citizen. This is an extraordinary situation. The employee of the Azerbaijani special service, special units is a Russian citizen. Was it unexpected for Russia that its citizen, a person with a Russian passport attacks Artsakh on the Azerbaijani side. And are there many such Russian citizens in Azerbaijan?
Unlike Azerbaijan, Artsakh sentenced the Azerbaijani citizen of Russia for life applying all the legal processes and on grounds of proven crime.
It has been a long time Azerbaijan makes all possible effort to get back its two saboteurs. What was expected afterwards is not hard to imagine. After their return Azerbaijan will declare them heroes and at the time it will celebrate a diplomatic, political, moral victory.
In this sense, Baku uses not only the circumstance of the hostages who are citizens of Armenia but also the Russian citizen of Armenian origin, Marat Ueldanov. It is not ruled out that the Azerbaijani government expects support from Russia to return its saboteurs from the Armenian side.
The point is that a few years ago Sergey Lavrov stated that they are working on this. He means the Azerbaijani saboteur with Russian citizenship sentenced for life in Artsakh.
By the way, in February 2015 the press rumored a backstage discussion with Russia, and Moscow is trying to get the consent of the Armenian government to return Askerov.
At that time the U.S. Assistant Secretary Victoria Nuland was visiting the Caucasian region who stated in Armenia that it is worth discussing this humanitarian issue. By formalizing the issue and directing arrows at herself, Nuland prevented a possible backstage process because her statement caused a big public dissatisfaction and drew attention to the issue, making the public moods stiffer.
Why would the American side need such a deal is another question, and the situation includes a wider range of issues.
How long will Baku keep the Russian citizen of Armenian origin as hostage? Lavrov has hopes for a solution. How about a plan that does not limit the Armenian interests?