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Center for National and International Studies
The dominating topics these days are frequent reporst about victims died from Armenian snipers on the front line, coronavirus and its effects on Azerbaijan, the women’s status and situation in the country, the feminists rally on the 8th March and its dispersal by the police, post-election investigations, the world price of oil, Russia-Turkey relations and Syria, the US government award Courageous Woman, won by the lawyer Shahla Humbatova.
Activists and bloggers continue to discuss the Turkey Russia policies in Syria. Yadigar Sadyghli of Musavat concludes, that isolated due to the policies of Erdogan Turkey is weak as compared Russia-Syrian alliance. Putin could easily push Turkey out of Syria, but does not want to do it, because this may result in shift of the public opinion in Turkey towards the West. On the other hand, it may result in weakening of the rating of Erdogan domestically and even loss of power, which Putin does not want either. The recent agreement is temporary and will end in Turkey;s withdrawal from Syria and Assad will restore control all over the country.
Gubad Ibadoglu reports that the response to his complaint about organized crime committed on the 9th of February 2020 at the 76 constituency Lankaran -Astara 16 precinct which he sent to the Ministry of Internal Affairs came only 26 days after. There was no response to the other two complaints which he sent to toe President administration and CEC. He posts the copy of the answer on his timeline to demonstrate, that the answer serves one purpose — that there was any injury of Jale Bayramova, so the negative forensic expertise also serves the same purpose.Absence of injury means, that there was not a victim, or the attacker, or the ones who organized it. This is the answer of the ministry of Interior to the millions of people who watched the beating up of the observer at the precinct polling station.
Fb users discuss the fall of the world oil price. Gubad Ibadoglu informs his followers that the world oil price fell to the lowest point during last few years – 45$. Even the decision of the OPEC countries to decrease the daily production to the 1,5 mln barrels did not change the situation. As people from Shaki would say, the oil goes with the bended head.
Seymur Hezi, the jojurnalist and deputy chair of the Popular Front Party, comments on decision of the REAL member to accept the mandate:” If somebody tells you that in order to dry the swamp, he/she has to get into the swamp, do not trust him/her. He/she already made a decision to be crocodile, and to live there. The Azerbaijani government and the parliament is one the same swamp.”
Ignoring the facts of fraud, approved the voting results. He took away the mandates of candidates who received people’s majority votes and give his list of MPs instead. And then he pretends that he is down to earth playing the game with armachair and simple chair ( During his visit to the region, he declined the offer to sit in the armchair and preferred simple char instead -L.A.)… The worst thing about him, is that by considering people stupid, he humiliates them. But they see and understand, and remembers everything.”
The blogger and journalist, the election candidate and ex-political prisoner Mehmah Huseynov congratulates his legal defender ShahlaHumbatova with the US government award. He contrasts high appreciation of her activities by the US government to the exclusion of her from the Azerbaijan Bar Association. He thanked her for defending him in the most difficult times for him.
Tofig Yagublu, the opposition politician, comments with irony about the decision of REAL to give their member Erkin Gadirli a test period in the parliament for one year. And after observing his activities there for a year, they will give the final decision. He called this decision” very creative” and confirms that there isn’t a single legitimate mandate in this new parliament.
Natig Jafarli in turn comments with irony about the “winning” candidate at his constituency Sabina Khasayeva. “I said so many times, he writes, that even google does not identify her, that the government immediately created a Wikipedia page for her”. He also comments on the president’s struggle against corruption. “ Every day I pass by the parking of the Cabinet of Ministers and 4 more ministries. The employees own such cars, that in order to buy them, they should not have eaten for 40 years, did not go to the wedding parties and fune and rals and all life wear only shorts and a T-shirts”
Gozel Bayramili reports about the next victim killed at the front line by Armenian snipers near the Gushcu Ayrim village of the Gazagh region Orxan Nazim oglu Pashazade from the Jafarli village of Jalilabad region.
She also commemorates the year since the PFP’s Agstafa branch head Hamlet Mursaguliyevin death. She recalls that she received the news about this loss, when she was in prison. She spoke about his commitment to the struggle for democracy, permanent care about her while she was in prison, and his integrity.
She also contributes to the debate about the decision of Erkin Gadirli to accept the mandate of the MP. She considers those debates senseless, as it is hard to believe that once in the parliament Gadirli will focus on the issue of political prisoners, will discredit corrupt officials, or will demand return to the country of the stolen milliards in the offshore accounts? What can one expect from the person, who said, that of the elections are falsified I will reject the mandate, and then said- I could not stand by my promise, and was eventually was given a year of a test period?”
Ilkin Rustamzade comments on the feminists’ slogans, which are attacked by the conservative part of the society. “ Those who found Vafa Nagi’s slogan” Freedom for boobs” wrong, were keeping silence when the “ moral” women were ballot staffing taking out extra ballots from their bras or nickers. Although those women who rallied for the women’s rights are those, who has gained their freedoms and rights. But they rallied for the rights of the other women. Those, who took out the ballots from their nickers or forced serving slaves at plazas or 500-600 manats to Rovnag Abdullayev types are condemning those women… What an unhappy country we live in…”
Rabiyya Mammadova follows the argument: “ When the women participating in the falsified elections were taking out extra bulletins from their underwear, I did not notice protesting and speaking about mentality people. But 8th march rally is going on today- in order to give voice to oppressed, discriminated, beaten up and killed ones…And the slogan of Vafa is simply great.”
Javid Gara comments indignantly on the government’s responses to coronavirus spread:” Azerbaijani government officially declared only 6 cases of coronavirus, and it seems is just making fun of us. This is totally shameless. There should be transparency provided to restore public’s trust in state.”
Arif Mammadov, the diplomat in exile comments: “ The “ constructive opposition” has replaced the slogan, that Ilahm Aliyev is good, but the surrounding him are bad” by the slogan “ Mehriban Aliyeva is good, but those surrounding him are bad”
Gubad Ibadoglu comments on the degree of preparedness of the country to the coronavirus. He says that according to the ratings of the Economist Intelligence unit and Johns Hopkins University ratings on Global Health Security index the weakest country in the region is Azerbaijan. The country is worst among the FSU states, and 151 of 195 in the world. In this rating is due to the late reaction of the state and absence of action by the state agencies. For instance, belated closure of the state borders with neighbouring Iran, poor regional infrastructure and inexperienced medical personnell, and most corrupt system is in Azerbaijan. On the other hand, he stresses that of all Turkic states Azerbaijan is the only country where there is a registration and monitoring of coronavirus cases.
As leader of ADR he reports that his movement will go up to the European Court for the Human Rights in their attempt to get a permission to the public meeting devoted to the restoration of the child benefits in the country.
Gozel Bayramli of PFP informs about release from the prison after 10 days of detention of PFP board member Mammad Ibrahim.
Tofig Yagublu reports that on the 5 April there will be a referendum on the amendments to Constitution in Armenia. When prime minister Nikol Pashinian was distributing the campaign materials by the metro station in the capital, one young woman torn it in small pieces and threw it at his face. Can you imagine such scene in Azerbaijan?”
He also comments on the statement by Ilgar Mammadov of REAL that the falsification is usually done by the government, there is no opportunity for fraud by the other forces, so when the authorities give an instruction to “ elect” one – the fraud is committed at all precincts of the constituency. So the idea, that only at 8 precincts the voting results were falsified do not make sense…”
Mehman Huseynov follows the argument: “They say, that Erkin Gadirli was actually elected, it is just in a few precincts they falsified a bit in his favour… I did win the votes and there were no falsifications at all in my constituency in my favour, then why did not I receive a mandate? Erkin Gadrli was not elected, but appointed, it is clear!”. He also addresses the president with the appeal “to stop these games with armchairs and chairs”, the Novruz Bayram is approaching, one should be serious and prepare an amnesty of political prisoners, youth leaders, religious activists. This will be a true action”
Altay Geyushov describes how Ilgar Mammadov managed to preserve his reputation and became famous while in prison. He considers that it was thanks to the 3-4 members of the party, who were skilful in PR, but then left the party.
FB continues to reflect the divisions within opposition. Seymur Hezi comments: “ Ilgar Mammadov hates the government because he does not belong there, hates the opposition- because does not belong there too, hates the people, because he is not a good communicator, and because he stuck between all of them — thinks that he belongs to the middle class”. Natig Jafarli of REAL in turn complaints to the biased and abnormal communication due to the lack of freedom of expression. He comments that people do not even listen to the interviews, or read the texts, judging by the short excerpts.
He analyses the substance of the regime: “ If you want to understand the authorities, look at how they elevate up to the skies the people like Ata Abdullayev, Hafiz Hajiyev and others.. They simply hate Azerbaijani people. Not a single politician, who is tied to his people would make a use of such personalities..
The enemy is ruling Azerbaijan…”
And continues: “ By allowing Ilham Aliyev to occupy power in 2003, we agreed to self-degeneration and self-degradation. What goes around, comes around..”
Ali Kerimli posts the picture of the small house of the recent victim of the Karabagh frontline sniper’s shooting. He comments that “our people already used to the idea that these are the sons of the poor households who are being killed at the front”, but it should not be like that. During the last year protest rally on the 19th October we were surrounded by the 60-70 policemen in the civilian clothes, and after that our journalists identified these people. They were all relatives or family members of the bureaucrats- such as police chiefs, heads of executive power etc. Majority of them owned the restaurants, celebration houses, shops etc. It is like the labor division. The government sends the guys who grew up in the poor families to the front -fight the enemy, while those who grew up in the plenty of the rich bureaucratic families — to fight opposition”
FB users, especially younger generation, journalists, women, praise and widely share photos of the 8th March feminists rally. Ilkin Ristamzade comments on the rally: “ Our women were outstanding today!”
Nurlan lIbre posts the list of 12 detained men, who participated at the rally. He also reported that to disperse the rally the government send the provocateurs. He reports, that police forcibly pushes the activists to the underground stations, insults them and beat them up.
Ali Kerimli of PFP made a statement where he categorically condemned the violence applied by the police during dispersal of the peace marches devoted to the 8th of March. He called the government to join the Council of Europe Istanbul convention about prevention of all forms of violence against women. He reminded that of the 47 CE members, only two- Azerbaijan and Russia did not sign it.
Khadija Ismayil and some other activists analyze the positive sides of the rally and mistakes. Especially, that some feminist slogans with sexual context caused controversy and negative reaction in the social networks from more conservative part of the population. Khadija Ismayil considers that these slogans marginalize the movement and push away certain layers’ of women, who otherwise would join them. Bahruz Samadov calls it a tactical mistake, but other women support it, such as prominent writer in exile Gunel Movlud, calling it sexual revolution.
Rabiyya Mammadova appeals to the network for the help with the cars, as the police again took the detained to the distant regions, and left them in the nowhere.
Gubad Ibadoglu of ADR posts his article about women in the country. He calls it How free is modern Azerbaijani women and where is she? And devotes it to the international women’s day. He brings statistics, that women constitute by now 50,1% of all population and 48, 6% of economically active population. Of all registered unemployed 37,7% are women. They constitute 80,7% of primary school teachers, 78,9% of professional education teachers, and 54,7% of the high schools/university teachers, 66% of the health sector, and 58,2% of science. But among public servants there are only 28,5% of women, while in business 21,7%.
Of 64 heads of regional executive power only one is woman ( Absheron region). Theer are no women among ministers or city mayors, and only one woman is the head of the Committee on Women, Children and Family. Because of discrimination the number of women of unemployed is 57,6% in 2018 according to the International Labour Organization. Overall, occupation of women is 6,4% less than of men. Ibadoglu particularly stresses that Azerbaijan is one of the leaders of the FSU countries with the highest number of works prohibited for women.( 678 in 38 fields)
Azerbaijan according to the gender development index occupies 78 place of 188. He also brings worrying increasing statistics of the violence against women, early marriages, exploitation of children, on the basis of the data collected by the NGO Women for Rational Development and urges the government of the country to join the Istanbul Convention, along with the cancellation of the law imposing limits on the type of works allowed for women. He stresses the factors which contribute to such a situation with women in the country, including absence conditions of work for NGOs, absence of state policy in the conservative regions with the influence of religion, such as Southern regions, and absence of the fundamental freedoms.