Center for National and International Studies
“The reason why Russia acts so violently is that historically speaking, Russia has never been punished for its crimes.”
(Lack of) Human Rights and Liberties
Telebe Guc Merkezi (The Student Power Center) shared a statement that a group of professors at Azerbaijan State Pedagogical University (ASPU) planned a provocation against the organization’s board member Shams Abdulrahimli. TGM said in a statement that Shams Abdulrahimli was targeted for criticizing the internal conflicts at the Azerbaijan State Pedagogical University. According to the statement, university teachers Avaz Sadigov, Gulbaba Guliyev, head of the department Eldar Abdullayev, made Abdulrahimli’s groupmates sign a document against him to take the next step to reprimand him. The students who signed the act were unaware of what was written in the document, and the issue, in general, said the organization. As a Student Power Center added that they demand the ASPU bring these individuals to justice, put an end to this provocation, and state that if this continues, they will take all necessary steps as an organization.
Azadliq newspaper reports that Azerbaijan is again among the “non-free countries”. Freedom House, an international human rights organization, has published its annual report on the state of freedoms in the countries. The organization based its assessment on several parameters: political rights and civil liberties, freedom of the Internet, the level of democratic governance, etc. Azerbaijan is among the “non-free countries,” according to the report.
Governance and corruption.
Mahir Guliyev, who was the chief executive of Astara and Bilasuvar in 2006-2020, was sentenced to 11 years in prison. Guliyev was arrested as a result of an anti-corruption operation carried out by the State Security Service. The lawyer of the former chief executive said that Guliyev does not accept charges of embezzlement and other criminal charges. Although Guliyev admitted certain acts of arbitrariness at the Bilasuvar District Executive Power, he disagreed with the accusations of abuse of office, misappropriation of budget funds, and bribery. In November 2018, President Ilham Aliyev awarded Mahir Guliyev with the order “Service to the Homeland” for his meritorious work.
The war in Ukraine. What does Russia’s aggression hold for the future of post-soviet countries?
Chairperson of APFP Ali Karimli said that Azerbaijan urgently needs to modernize and strengthen its air defense. Karimli argued that in such a tense situation in the region, the government must be ready for any provocation. Karimli wrote: We have the possibilities and money to buy modern missile defense systems. In all likelihood, modern weapons must be acquired without delay in order to reliably protect the country’s airspace.”
Ali Karimli also reacted to president Aliyev’s recent public speech in which he scapegoated the government of the early 1990s for the political and economic hardships. Karimli wrote: At this moment when there are so many important issues on the country’s agenda, why does Ilham Aliyev not forget the government of 28 years ago and remove it from its agenda and lexicon? It is impossible to understand with normal logic. Everyone knows how bravely the Elchibey government fought to liberate Karabakh, that half of Karabakh was liberated before Russia came to Armenia’s aid, and that thousands of APFP members fought in that war voluntarily and became martyrs and veterans. There can be no reason for Ilham Aliyev to take personal revenge because Elchibey‘s government did not take any negative steps against him or his father. His problem is not with the past but with the future. He sees that the world has changed. He sees that end of authoritarian regimes approaches, and he is afraid of the followers of Rasulzade, Elchibey, and democracy. But fear is useless. The world is changing, our people want change, and Azerbaijan will change.”
Chairperson of ADWP Gubad Ibadoghlu reflected on the possible scenarios after the war in Ukraine, arguing that regardless of the outcome of the war, a new wave of democratization will begin in the post-soviet area. Ibadoghlu wrote: Even if Russia invades Ukraine and wins the war, it will not be able to bear the consequences of the war’s financial and economic burden. After a while, Russians, especially those accustomed to higher living standards, who feel their living conditions have deteriorated, will oust Putin. Thus, a new wave of democratization in the post-Soviet space will be inevitable after post-Putin Russia. Therefore, the people suffering from the theft, corruption, and mismanagement of the post-Soviet authoritarian regimes must be ready for this process; they must not be apathetic, they must not be indifferent. Because, if look at our modern history, such processes occur only once every 30 years.”
Activist Ilkin Rustamzade argued that the reason why Russia acts so violently is that historically speaking, Russia has never been punished for its crimes. Rustamzade wrote: Russia has never been punished and has never paid for the blood it shed. Not for the massacres in Khatin, not for January 20, not for Grozny. That is why they are so violent.”
Meydan TV reports that Huseyn Amin oglu Abdullayev, an Azerbaijani citizen born in 2002 and a student in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol, was taken hostage by Russian soldiers. As the Azerbaijani ambassador has already left the country and the embassy doesn’t provide any help, the activists called the Azerbaijani government to take immediate action and release its citizen from captivity.
Economic and Social Situation
It has been weeks that the Azerbaijani side does not accept the people on the border with Russia. When the war broke out in Ukraine, ethnic Azerbaijanis decided to flee Russia and return to their home country. According to the independent reporters, at the moment, thousands of people took refuge in a camp near the city of Derbent. Those who can not afford to stay in the hotels spend the night in their cars despite the harsh weather conditions. Despite the numerous calls from activists and journalists, the authorities have not responded to the issue on the border.
Azadliq newspaper reports that the employees of the modular hospital within the Ministry of Emergency Situations in Zykh have not received their salaries since December 2021. Although many complaints were made by the employees, the Ministry argued that the reason for the delay in salaries was the bureaucratic obstacles between the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Emergency Situations.
March 22, 2022