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Center for National and International Studies
The majority of FB users reacted to the increasing prices that were announced by the Tarif Council. Head of the National Council of Democratic Forces, professor Jamil Hasanli found the justification for the increased prices made by the Tariff Council ridiculous: The Tariff Council has again raised electricity and gas prices. But people should understand that these prices are raised by Ilham Aliyev, not the Tarif Council. Do you know why? “To set the increased competitiveness of the economy as the main strategic goal in our country, to ensure energy security, to create favorable conditions for dynamic and intensive economic development, purposeful and efficient use of resources, to reconcile the interests of consumers and producers, to gradually form market relations.” You see what a “fair” government it is. He reconciles your interests with Rovnag‘s so that Rovnag can buy a new watch at your expense for his son who got his watch stolen in Ibiza, to increase the number of young Heydar Aliyev‘s properties in London, and to increase the secret offshore accounts of Leyla and Arzu Aliyeva. During the first four months of 2021, the price of natural gas in the country increased by an average of 50%, the price of water doubled, and the cost of electricity increased by 20%.”
Professor Altay Goyushov as well chose sarcasm to react to the increasing prices. Goyushov wrote: The people of Azerbaijan suffer twice when oil–gas prices change: when it rises and falls on the world market. This nation doesn’t look like people living in their own country, but more like a mass of captives. Therefore, they are not thinking of improving their condition but of escaping from captivity.
Meanwhile, the FB community continues to react to president Aliyev’s interview with Italian La Repubblica. Former political prisoner Afgan Mukhtarli wrote that it is very hypocritical of Ilham Aliyev to speak about family values. Mukhtarli continued that “A person who values family would not put secret cameras in the house of journalists or political opponents. He would not share intimate images of his rivals and their family members on TV and the Internet. There is no value for him. He is a thief, a criminal who lost his sense of dignity.”
Reflecting on the interview, Bakhtiyar Hajiyev questioned whether Aliyev owns his massive wealth to his successful business as he claims. Hajiyev wrote: With worth more than $ 2 trillion in total, more than 1 billion active iPhone users, and more than 1.65 billion device users, Apple’s CEO of ten years, Tim Cook, is said to receive a salary and bonus of $ 265 million in 2020. His total wealth is about $ 1.4 billion. I am interested in two questions:
1) What is the market value, the number of companies and customers did the businessman Ilham Aliyev, who owns up to half of Tim Cook‘s fortune ($ 700 million) in just one city (London), own? Of course, if the name of this company is not “Azerbaijan” with 10 million customers.
2) If Ilham Aliyev is really such a successful businessman as he and his family say, then why don’t these successful people manage AZAL, SOCAR, and other loss-making organizations, which receive billions of manats in subsidies from the budget and cause hundreds of millions of losses?
Professor Jamil Hasanli drew the attention of the FB community to the articles in the Azerbaijan newspaper. Hasanli wrote: Just as the Pandora Papers and the news about London property set them on fire, the Azerbaijan newspaper, the media outlet of the Milli Majlis, has become a family newspaper for the Aliyevs. Pay attention only to today’s issue of the newspaper. In the left corner of the first page, there is a photo of Heydar Aliyev, and in the right corner, there is a “saint iron fist”. Hasanli criticized the authors of the articles that outrageously praised the ruling family. Hasanli also touched upon the gender issue to question the success of the gender policy pursued in Azerbaijan. Hasanli asked if the government’s gender policy is so successful, as claimed in the newspaper, why female suicides have increased in the country? Hasanli concluded his post by asking a rather rhetoric question: Now tell me, can you find such a newspaper in North Korea that praises Kim Jong Un so vehemently in just one issue?”
Gubad Ibadoghlu informed his followers on FB that, The ADR became the Party. Ibadoghlu wrote: Today, the congress of the ADR Party was held with the participation of 82 out of 88 delegates. The congress, which lasted more than four hours, established the ADR party, adopted its Charter and Program, elected its chairman and members of the NRC, formed the Supreme Assembly, and authorized the governing bodies to complete the elections. I was elected chairman of the party for the next four years. I always expect your support to continue this responsible and honorable work successfully. I believe that our struggle will end in victory, bring democracy and freedoms to Azerbaijan, and improve the well-being and security of the population.”
Azadliq Newspaper reports that APFP activist was detained for 20 days. APFP activist Elkhan Aliyev, who disappeared at about 5 pm yesterday, has been confirmed to have been abducted by the police. About 20 hours later, the APFP activist was able to inform his family that he was at the police station. He was then taken to court and sentenced to 20 days in jail for resisting police.
According to Azadliq, former political prisoner Shamsi Rahimli sewed his mouth shut in a protest against the problem of political prisoners and injustice in the country, including the arrest of Niyamaddin Ahmadov, on a live broadcast on Ingilab TV (moderated by blogger Gabil Mammadov).
Social issues. Political activist Bakhtiyar Hajiyev criticized the government’s lack of attention to the problems of families of martyrs. Hajiyev wrote: Those who lead the parade taking portraits of the martyrs should listen to the martyr’s mother, who wants 30-40 manats of child allowance for young families. Instead of using them four your own propaganda and transferring billions that they and their families are entitled to, listen to them. Not everyone lives in abundance like you, as the mother of a martyr says, they raise their children by selling blankets.”
Ali Karimli reacted to the increased gas and electricity, calling on his followers to protest against the ongoing repressions and price increase. Karimli wrote: As winter approached and people were worried about rising gas bills, they raised the price of both electricity and gas again. Aliyev’s billion-dollar properties are being discovered in various parts of the world, and instead of taking a step towards the people and winning their hearts, they are shamelessly raising the prices. As corruption is exposed, they intensify repression. Another APFP functionary, Elkhan Aliyev, was abducted by police yesterday. Only recently has it become known that he has been detained by police and administratively detained for 20 days. The regime believes that it can intimidate others by arresting the brave people who are leading the struggle. Our people must protest against the price increase and illegal arrests and torture. The regime must be shown that not only thousands of political activists but all of us want freedom, justice, and prosperity. We want to live in our homeland not as slaves but as citizens. We do not support the greedy and repressive government, and we will fight together for the salvation of our people.”
Post War situation. Azad Soz reports that martyr Rahib Babayev’s family lives in the basement in Sumgayit without any support from the state. Babayev’s wife said in the interview that it is extremely difficult to live under such conditions with three young children. Azad Soz also shared a video in which martyr Ruslan Abbasov ‘s mother asked the authorities to give child benefits to the families. Abbasova said that she raised her son with difficulties and did not receive any help from the state, and therefore she wants the other families to receive support.
It is reported that Mammadov Namin Ruslan oghlu, a sergeant of the Azerbaijani Army, committed suicide. Mammadov served during the Second Karabakh War and was awarded the Medal for the Liberation of Sugovushan. The suicide took place in a non-military environment. No official information has been shared on the matter.
Hamzayev Afgan Bahram oglu, a soldier of the Azerbaijani Army, was killed as a result of sniper fire by illegal Armenian armed groups in the region under the control and protection of Russian military units called “peacekeepers”. The Russian army was stationed in the region after the war to restore the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan and maintain peace, according to the authorities.
FB users reacted to the death of soldiers questioning the credibility and the professional ethic of state-owned media. The majority of comments read: Thousands of soldiers and officers of our army, consisting of children from low-income families, risked their lives to liberate our lands from occupation, but the government media, government trolls, and government henchmen call Ilham Aliyev Muzaffar, giving all the credits for the victory only to him.
Seymur Hezi shared on his FB post that the water fountain which was laid in memory of martyr Khosrovzadeh Ilkin was destroyed by a tractor at night. Hezi concluded his post with the following remarks: “The fountain was destroyed because the martyr was from Lachin, not Sumgayit. When will these officials that this country is not their property?…I demand the restoration of the monument to the martyr immediately!”
Reaction to the rallies in Georgia. Reflecting on the rally in the Georgian capital demanding the release of former president Saakashvili, deputy chairman of Popular Front Party Fuad Gahramanli said that there is no point in comparing the Georgian opposition with the opposition in Azerbaijan. Gahramanli wrote: “The Georgian people took to the streets not only to support Saakashvili but also to support the policy they believe to be right and the position of the leader they consider to be right. That is why, if 700 million $ of the Georgian people had been stolen, instead of keeping silent, they would hold rallies and demand their rights. The people that keep silent about the 700 million corruption do not support the rightful position of the leader, although they know he is right, close their eyes to the violation of their rights. If a society that is silent on price increases, indifferent to the government’s robbery of citizens under various pretexts, and does not object to the cut of social benefits, does not demand its rights, then that society will not stand with any opposition leader either. If Saakashvili were in Azerbaijan today, these silent, indifferent people would probably have left him unsupported in prison. Or, if these indifferent people were in Georgia, they would not defend Saakashvili under the pretext of “I do not interfere in politics.” The truth, unfortunately, is so simple and bitter.”
Journalist in exile, Ganimat Zahidov, also shared a similar opinion on the rallies in Georgia and opposed the idea that Azerbaijani political opposition is weak. Zahidov’s FB post reads: Who can say what Saakashvili did in his country as an opposition leader that Ali Karimli did not do in Azerbaijan? If it was for a rally, Ali Bey has repeatedly organized and led such a rally. If you say a sit-in, Saakashvili decided to hold a sit-in with 300-500 people in 2003, and then the number increased. Ali Karimli decided to hold a sit-in rally with 30,000 people in 2005, and he remained in the square with the people. If you say that Saakashvili returned to his country after 8-9 years abroad without fear of arrest in Georgia, which is much more democratic than Azerbaijan, Ali Karimli never left his country. For at least 15 years, he has been under house arrest. So far, ten people have been tortured into giving false testimony against Ali Karimli. Why do I mention these? I have nothing against Saakashvili. He has done a lot for Georgia. I also understand those who are jealously watching the rallies in Georgia. I just do not understand the people who say, “we need Saakashvili.” I wrote this post to ask you, are there still many idiots in the country who hide their cowardice and blame others with the nonsense “we need Saakashvili“, or do the people understand that there is a leader, but the people are needed for victory?”
Gultakin Hajibeyli touched upon the rallies in Tbilisi and the passive attitude of the Azerbaijani people. Hajibeyli wrote: “After it became clear that at least 1.2 billion manats were invested in London alone, the people of Azerbaijan had to take to the streets to protest and hold the government accountable. However, it was not us, but the Georgian people who took to the streets to protest …We are still busy giving thanks. Thanks to God, we are not Syria, there could have been bombs dropping on us from the sky…They have stolen 400 million of our wealth, our lives, our happiness, our future, even the future of our children, but these are small issues. The main thing is that after waiting in line for several months, with the help of bribes and acquaintances, we can take an excursion to Shusha! Let Georgians and Armenians deal with boring activities such as rallies and protests, not us…”