Center for National and International Studies
“Russia’s demand means that Moscow is declaring these regions as a zone of its interests and thus violating the sovereignty and independence of the countries in the region…”
(Lack of) Human Rights and Liberties
Political prisoner Saleh Rustamli, who was on hunger strike for more than forty days, is still waiting to be released. Although he was promised by the authorities that he would be released as soon as he was placed in the medical unity still this promise is not fulfilled.
The head of the Turan news agency, Mehman Aliyev, sounds the alarm over the new media law that was described as anti-constitutional by activists and human rights defenders. Commenting on the law, Aliyev wrote: “I have no doubt that the shamefully vague bill gives the state broad powers to restrict and control not only the media but also the entire society of Azerbaijan through its underlying message and the licensing system. I hope the executive branch and parliament will refute these doubts…”
Journalist Seymur Hezi joined the debates around the new media law by arguing that the new law is primarily unconstitutional. Hezi wrote: Firstly, everyone has the right to receive, distribute and process information freely and independently. Secondly, the new law contradicts Azerbaijan’s commitments to the Council of Europe. Finally, it is a backward step in this era of information technology and broadcasting and will hold back the entire society from making progress. This law will create new cases (against Azerbaijan) in the ECHR and a new tradition of information warfare. In this case, the principles of professionalism, code of ethics, and immunity will not work. Our society will lose, but the government will suffer more.”
Governance, corruption, transparency
Russia’s draft “Agreement on Measures to Ensure the Security of the Russian Federation and Member States of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization” that requires NATO members commit to no further enlargement of the alliance sparked outrage among the FB community. The National Council of Democratic Forces released a statement calling the draft agreement a threat to the state independence of Azerbaijan. The statement shared by the head of NCDF professor Hasanli reads: The document “New Agreement on Regional Security” submitted by the Russian Federation to NATO and the United States contains provisions threatening the state independence of Azerbaijan. According to Russia’s proposals, NATO and the United States must suspend all military operations in Ukraine, the Caucasus, and Central Asia and provide legal guarantees that the current independent states- former Soviet republics, will not be admitted to NATO. The National Council states that this initiative contradicts, first of all, the principle of “self-determination of the nations”, the principle of “inviolability of the sovereignty of states,” and the basic principles of international law as a whole. Russia’s demand means that Moscow is declaring these regions as a zone of its interests and thus violating the sovereignty and independence of the countries in the region. No state, including Russia, can veto Azerbaijan’s military cooperation with other countries, including cooperation with NATO. The choice of a military ally is Azerbaijan’s exclusive right.” The National Council called on official Baku to declare such actions unacceptable.
Natig Jafarli of REAL argued that Russia’s ultimatum seems to have won in all respects and is fraught with dangers for post-Soviet countries. Jafarli wrote: “The USSR may reincarnate, our independence and sovereignty may be threatened, and the presence of Russian “peacekeepers” in our lands increases this threat. The liberation of our lands by our heroic soldiers gives us advantages, and therefore today we are in a better position than Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova, but this does not mean that there are no threats.”
In his post titled “secret preparations for the new parliamentary elections”, member of APFP Fuad Gahramanli argued that the government is planning to have a referendum and a parliamentary elections aftermath in the new future. Gahramanli wrote: What does the government want to achieve by restoring the proportional electoral system? According to some sources, the government plans to hold a referendum the next spring and reinstate the proportional electoral system. It is obvious that the issue of holding new parliamentary elections will be on the agenda. The government has seen the growing likes of some party leaders engaged in social media and thinks it could further deceive society if it can take advantage of this situation. On the other hand, the government’s technocrats are well aware that it may not be effective in the long run to stifle growing discontent in the country only through administrative measures. Therefore, in order to prevent this dissatisfaction from flowing into the streets and squares, the government is planning to bring this issue to the Milli Majlis through the “bus opposition” and turn the parliament into a security cushion between the government and society.”
Post War Situation. Problems of veterans and families of the martyrs
Two Azerbaijani servicemen were captured by Armenia and returned to Azerbaijan shortly after. Azerbaijani soldier Hajiyev Seymur was shot in the Sadarak district of the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic. According to his family, he was shot dead by a sniper. There are speculations about the cause of his death that it might have been a suicide. No official information has been released yet. The parents of Hajiyev went to Nakhchivan to bring his body to be buried in the Kurdakhani settlement in Baku. Meydan Tv reported that it was the fourth tragic incident in the same military unit in Nakhchivan in the last ten days, ending in two deaths.
Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said that they had reached an agreement with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev on the construction of a railroad between the two countries. “We are talking about the restoration of the Arazdayan-Julfa-Ordubad-Mehri-Horadiz railway… and we hope to complete this work in 2-3 years”, said the prime minister. Pahinayan also added that after the meetings in Sochi on November 26 and in Brussels on December 14, there are opportunities for Armenia and the region to develop in a new peaceful era.
Economy and Social Issues
According to the draft law “on living wage for 2022” adopted by the parliament in December, the living wage for next year is set at 210 manat- 220 manat for the working class, 176 manat for pensioners, and 193 manat for children. However, considering the soaring prices and inflation, 210 manat could hardly meet the basic living cost. Activist Nigar Hezi shared her concerns about the recent price increase and its impact on people. Hezi wrote: The price of food and other products has risen sharply recently. I’m not even mentioning the cost of utility bills. It is almost impossible to pay the gas bill. Those who steal money from the state budget can not imagine how ordinary citizens live…Ilham Aliyev, who owns properties in London worth more than a billion dollar, is not in a position to bother about social issues when he has already built a fortune for his children. People in this country don’t live, they just struggle for survival. Minister Sahil Babayev’s statement about the child allowance was a complete shame. Because for those in government, children mean their own children and their comfortable lives.”
December 24, 2021