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Center for National and International Studies
Post-war situation. The local media ( Zerkalo.az) writes about warning by Russia that if Azerbaijan is too critical of Russia they may get a response like they did in Georgia in 2008. The road Gorus-Kafan is being re-opened – the talks are mediated by the Russian Federal Security forces. The road was earlier closed after stabbing of the Azerbaijani soldier Ruslan Shiraliyev by an armed Armenian. The Fb community decries attempts of the regime in Karabagh to celebrate the day of its “independence”. Ahad Mammadli of AG Party considers that this turns the 10 November agreement into the “toilet paper”. Pro-government sources report visit of Ilham and Mehriban Aliyevs to Hojavend in Karabagh. The experts express their concern with the signed in Moscow on the 25th “ The arms agreement” between Armenia and Russia and intense series of meetings of the defence minister of Armenia in Russia in connection with the military cooperation with its Northern ally. The Fb community shares report about another victim in Karabagh, this time in Shusha direction – Haziyev Chingiz. However the official statement of the Ministry of Defence reports that he committed suicide due the problems in the family.
The FB community widely shares and comments on the case with the Azerbaijani soldier Jamil Babayev, who while on treatment at the Ganja hospital went to the territory of Agdere which is under control of Russian peacekeepers and was captured by the Armenian forces. The community is indignant, that not only structures of “ Artsakh” opened a criminal case against the soldier, but the Ministry of Defence of Azerbaijan too. The former opened the criminal case because of violation of the “borders of Artsakh.” The MP of the parliament of Azerbaijan Agil Abbas decried the case commenting:” We have released the saboteurs of Armenia in exchange for some fake landmine maps. Agdere is part of Azerbaijan. … What does it mean – “the borders of Artsakh”? Russian peacekeepers are not reacting- what are they for? Why was the criminal case opened against him – for voluntary leaving the hospital? Or for going to some region of Azerbaijan?… There should be an ultimatum put before the Russian peacekeepers– you either do your job, or leave the country.” The MP asserted that Azerbaijan should demand a release of the soldier, or in case if they do not – should liberate him. Similarly the other MP Fazil Mustafa argued that this is not the other state’s territory to open a criminal case against the soldier. The greatest crime he says to keep hostage the citizen of its own country who visited one of the country’s regions. Ali Karimli calls absurd the decision of the Ministry of Defence to open the criminal case against Jamil Babayev, who was on treatment of the mental illness, and besides did not violate the state borders with any other country to be criminally charged. Fuad Gahramanli of PFP calls opening of the criminal case by the Ministry of Defence – a serious political mistake of authorities. He argues, that by doing so they help Armenians of Karabagh to legitimze their claims of independence, because the other party declares that it was not a military captive, but a criminal captured by local Karabaghi police. Ali Karimli also discredits the Azerbaijan authorities, who besides not joining Crimean platform, participated in the contest by initiative of Russia in Abkhazia and South Ossetia. He calls Azerbaijan’s participation in the “tank biathlon” a national shame. He argues that as a result of Aliyev’s ineffective and unprincipled foreign policy, Azerbaijan is both isolated of the democratic and developed part of the world, and is a subject of Russia’s disrespectful attitude to its national interests. The diplomat Isfandiyar Vahabzade asks rhetoric question on behalf of people- did the country sacrificed 3 thousand lives just to have Russians come and raise their flag? The foreign policy’s criticism is shared by other activists and journalists. Osmangizi TV guests- Tofig Yagublu, Isa Sadikhov, Fahmin Hajiyev consider unacceptable refusal of participation of Azerbaijan in Crimea platform, but agreeing to join “the tank biathlon” in Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The latter is called by them “ an insult to the territorial integrity of Georgia”. The same TV also stresses that Aliyev congratulated Moldova and Ukraine with the Day of Independence, while ignoring the same day in his own country. Natig Jafarli of REAL argues that the primary purpose of Azerbaijani state should be withdrawal of Russia’s peacekeeping forces” from its territory and all the resources and political forces should be mobilized for this purpose.
Declaration of Independence Day. People are posting materials related to the independence statement on the 28th August 1991. They recall historical events three decades ago and celebrate the 30th August, when Independence Declaration was adopted. Tofig Yagublu of Musavat recalls that 30 years ago when the Supreme Soviet of Azerbaijan Republic adopted a Declaration of Independence under the pressure of the Popular Front movement the current president Ilham Aliyev was involved in small business and was not even aware of what was happening. However, now he teaches the lesson those, who directly participated in the events. Dashgin Aghalarli, an activist in exile, reminds the readers that after the Declaration on 30th August 1991, the Constitutional Act on State Independence was adopted on the 18th October 1991. He regrets that the current authorities do not even mention important Acts of its own state. Gubad Ibadoglu of ADR stresses that on the 30th f August Azerbaijan declared itself a heir of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic of 1918-1920. He states, that although during the substantial part of lands was liberated from occupation, but the country has never been in such a dependent on Russia position as now. During these 30 years, except for the year under Elchibey, the institutions of the democratic governance independent of executive power , such as parliament, judiciary, central bank– were not built. During these 30 years despite of 200 b. dollars of income generated by the oil sector, the people’s lives did not become prosperous, part of the population never got out of poverty, while the other had to leave for jobs abroad. During these 30 years the middle class, layer of free entrepreneurs, free market were not formed, in contrary- oligarchs, monopolists and corrupt people captured economy, and resources were stolen from people and budget and taken to the offshore accounts. In these 30 years the opposition parties, civil society and free media were destroyed and replaced by the pseudo-institutions loyal to the government. Arif Hajili of Musavat stresses that adoption of the second in the 20th century Declaration of Independence became possible as a result of the numerous and continuous protest meetings arranged by the Popular Front Movement around the building of the Supreme Soviet and the work within it by the deputies struggling for independence. He also reminds his followers that 30 of August is the Victory Day in the Republic of Turkey and congratulates people with these important dates.
Social problems. The issue of reduction of number of recipients of state pension continues to be in the centre of attention. Ali Karimli of PFP states that as a result of the pension reform of the Aliyev government 186 thousand people were deprived of their pensions, which he called big injustice, dishonesty and cowardice. This way, he says, referring to the economist Nemet Aliyev the budget saves 740 m. manat annually, which is factually a theft from the people in need. The economist and a politician Gubad Ibadoglu presents a list of the pension age in the ex- Soviet states with the highest one in Azerbaijan. The local media reports the protest meeting of the group of the employees of Accord company- they protested the unjust firing from their jobs and non-payment of their salaries during their employment. Bakhtiyar Hajiyev summarizes the recent developments in the social situation within 1 year period: the price of the following items increased -communal services, the food products– butter, flour, sugar, gasoline and diesel prices, construction materials. The only thing which did not increase were salaries- he comments. He also responds to the FB users who share the fund raising messages for the ill people whose families cannot afford a medical treatment. He reports that daily he comes across from 5-10 such posts. He urges the citizens rather than initiating such campaigns to demand action from the authorities and state structures and funds, as health care is their direct responsibility. He also decries the state agencies and bureaucrats, who steal billions and have no regrets in contrast with the activists, like Hajiyev, himself who feel bad when they see such requests because they cannot help these citizens. He also notes, that Azerbaijan was left without any gold medals at the Olympics in Tokio, but won 9 golden medals in the Paralympics –among them by Shahana Hajiyeva, Saleh Raman, Dursadaf Karimova, Elvin Astanov, Vugar Shirinli, and 3 – bronze ones. He reminds his readers that the president of National Olympic Committee is Ilham Aliyev, while of Paralympic Committee – another person. Yadigar Sadighli of Musavat party comments that this victory – without foreign legionnaires- proves that the country has significant potential in many fields, including sports, but the irony is that national resources are spent to hire foreigners and prevent this potential from its realization. E-media broadcast the video complain of the sister of the martyr, who reports that the authorities allocated the space for construction of spring in his memory next to the garbage dump. The economist Samir Aliyev warns against the future demographic crisis in the country, presenting statistics, which shows that the decrease of population growth 2 times in the last 5 years, increase of mortality by 25%., decline of marriages and growth of divorces. The leader of the PFP Ali Karimli compares the decision of the Georgian government to cancel the fines of its population for the violation of the rules of quarantine ( to 245 thousand people and 344 thousand of organizations) to Azerbaijani government ‘s decision to include the citizens who have fine debts in the police records. He answers to the paradox of these decisions of the poor Georgia to cancel the debts- on the one hand, and oil rich Azerbaijan to chase those who did not pay fines – on the other, by pointing to the difference in the nature of political power in two states. While in Georgia the political leadership is elected by people, in Azerbaijan – it is captured and is transferred from the father to the son, which is the reason of disrespect and cruelty to people
Situation in Afghanistan. The FB users comment, that the terrorist explosion in the airport of Kabul proves futility of the US–Taliban agreement, as it did not protect either US citizens, or Afghan people. Some recall the first statement by Joe Biden about the objectives of the US not the state and democracy building, but fight with terrorism, which they achieved. However, they comment, the explosion in the airport proves that they did not. Besides, during 16 years while the US were present in Afghanistan its leaders stated many times, that they help locals to build secular and civilian state. The second contradiction in the speech of Biden which is noted by the local activists is in the statement that the US cannot fight instead of the Afghani people. Some argue that the US was interested in preserving the clan based structure of Afghanistan, power. which blocked development of democracy, modernization and people’s government in the country. Besides, it was corrupt.. It was also not correct to present the opposition to religion as secularism. So Taliban at least was not corrupt and was not based on the agreed coalition of clans, that’s why was not resisted by the population. Natig Jafarli of REAL considers that situation in Afghanistan is a manifestation of the global crisis of leadership and vision. He argues, that there is a crisis of democracy and liberalism mainly because the role of business, finances and corporations during the last 30 years has significantly increased, which attracted young people- with a potential to become politicians with vision. They prefer to work at Google, where the annual income might reach few millions, rather than at the US State Department where the salary of the head of the department there is only 80-120 thousand dollars – as a department head at the US State Department. He argues, that as a result the number of intelligent people in politics is decreasing, as they move to business. “The times of kissingers, thatchers, gandis, roosevelts have gone, the last of Mohican was Merkel, but she is leaving too. The crisis of leadership and vision will only aggravate, neither Putin nor Comrade Si are proper candidates, and even Biden is not the same Joe..”
Human rights and liberties. Popular Front Party activists report the Court of Appeals upholding the decision on Karabagh prisoners by the previous instances and retained it in force. People widely share and grieve the news that the blind cat of Bayram Mammadov who mysteriously died in May in Istanbul also died. Bayram Mammadov ( who was called a “graffiti prisoner”) has brought the blind kitten from the prison upon his release. The investigation of his death so far has did not clarify its causes. Natig Jafarli of REAL reports his party’s policy in regards elections and the course of the preparation to it. He says that REAL has always been in favour of pro-active attitude to elections rather than “just waiting when YAP will create fine conditions for elections”. He reports that REAL secured membership in 36 constituency election commissions and aims at reaching 1000 members in precinct commissions. The e-media reports that the Ombudsman office has arranged the administrative detention of Niyameddin Aslanzade who is the brother of the political prisoner journalist Polad Aslanov. He was kept incommunicado and his family did not get the answer why was he arrested and for how many days. Prof. Jamil Hasanli discloses the system of slander and utilization by the authorities of the criminals in order to accuse the political activists. He reminds his followers the case of Ganimat Zahid, ex-editor in chief of the Azadlyg newspaper, who was arrested in 2007 based on the fake testimony of Sevgilada Guluyeva, who was later arrested herself for serial theft. He comments that this is how the system of fake accusations of activists works – the authorities use the accused of drug possession and small theft criminals for a fake testimony against the opposition activists. But after some time they “forget” about their “service” and arrest them too. Last time it happened, as Prof. Hasanli recalls, with Majidov Rufat, who during the court hearing of Seyid Bakuvi case gave fake testimony, but later was arrested for the drug possession in large quantities.
Governance, economy, corruption. The academic and politician Jamil Hasanli gives the description of the corruption network, as disclosed by the deputy Minister of Culture accused in corruption Rafig Bayramov at the next court hearing. The latter reported that the monthly “income” of the local branches of the Ministry of Culture which was sent to Baku was dependent on the number of musical schools and teachers in these schools in each region. This monthly income sent to Baku varied from 500 manats to 13 thousand manats. Monthly bribe thus was around 60-65 thousand manat while the yearly – 720-780 thousand. “And this is only in the Ministry of Culture– one can only imagine , what’s happening in the other ministries. Created by Ilham Aliyev the “networked corruption” is destroying the country from inside, “ concludes Prof. Hasanli. The Azadlyg newspaper author , the expert on agriculture, Vahid Maharramli writes that frequent visits of the president to the liberated regions are of a “show” character, as they are widely publicized, but nobody lives there. He stresses meaningless nature of these visits, as the population with its problems is left aside. The investigative journalist Mehman Huseynov posted the advertisement of his next investigation of corruption– this time by the State Sea Agency under the Ministry of Transport, Communication and High Technologies, which used fake personalities and companies to misappropriate millions of manat.
Reference to history. Historian Prof. Jamil Hasanli reports results of his work in the archives. This work shows that the Karabagh movement was a controlled process. The Armenian diaspora has sent telegrams of particular content to Gorbachov, Catholicos Vazgen I and others. This process was carefully prepared up to the cost of each word of the telegram. These telegrams discovered in the Russia’s Recent History Archives appeared of the same content and were centrally planned and controlled. In 1945-1947 the same way Armenian diaspora sent letters and telegrams to the UN, foreign states, with their text being prepared and the process being controlled by the Foreign Ministry of the Soviet Union. He also posts the copies of the similar letters sent to Moscow by the members of the US Senate, such as sent on the 24 March of 1988 by the senator John Chafee, who demands Gorbachov to satisfy legitimate claims of “the proud nation Armenians” to annex Nagorno-Karabagh and unite with Armenia. The senator even ties the fate of Soviet-American agreement on medium range missiles to the demands of Armenian to annex Karabagh. The second letter was sent by the group of senators- members of the Congressional Committee on Foreign Relations- Larry Pressler, Clyburn Pell, Jessie Helms, Paul Sarbanes. The third letter was sent to Moscow on the 24th March by the member of Congress Jack Camp, who referring to the events in Sumgayit, connects the respect for people’s right of self-determination to the fate of the Soviet-Western trade, but avoids mentioning the Helsinki Final Act’s provision on inviolability of state borders. Prof. Hasanli notes that these letters are only a small part of all campaign documents. The academic also posts the information- excerpt from his new book, which was published in Hong Gong in Chinese language. He presents the history of Uygurs and the Eastern Turkestan of 1945-1946 and its leaders, its talks with Chinese government and other previously unknown episodes of history.
Relations with France. The Azadlyg newspaper publishes the news under the title “ The court of France made a decision related to Karabagh in favour of Azerbaijan”. This is about the Lyon’s Court of Appeal retaining the decision of the previous court instances to abolish the cooperation agreements between the municipalities of the cities of France with the “ administration” of secessionist authorities of Shusha and Hojavend. Tofig Yagublu recalls that this is the second decision in favour of Azerbaijan people, as few years ago the French Court rejected complaint by the Azerbaijani government against the French journalists who called Ilham Aliyev a dictator.