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Center for National and International Studies
The most popular topics these days were the situation with pandemic in the country and incapacity of the health system to cope with it, incident on Russia-Azerbaijan border, corruption, persecution of activists, including detention ( and by now release) of Bakhtiyar Hadjiyev and extension of detention for Tofig Yagublu, intra-elite struggle – the wave of criticism against Ramiz Mehdiyev, women’s rights.
The Fb users comment on incapacity of the system to cope with the challenges of pandemic, that if the government did nothing it would achieve better results, than when implementing measures. They also reveal the role of corruption in this failure. Gubad Ibadoglu of ADR stresses that The State Agency on Medical Insurance acquired 41 ambulance cars Fiat. However, there is no transparency on the price, contractor, etc. regarding this acquisition. He notes, that most of the budget money are spent on buying the cars for the medical purposes. The quarantine was extended: while the public transport, parks and boulevards, will stay open, the exit home will be with SMS permission, the exam sessions are cancelled, the state borders will stay closed until 1st of August, beaches closed, the usage of private cars will be limited. Bakhtiyar Hajiyev compares the virus statistics in Georgia and in Azerbaijan, showing that the number of infected in June in Azerbaijan exceeded that in Georgia 55 times.(5,805). He proposes the government to compare the country not to Armenia, or Italy, or to Georgia. Altay Geyushov comments, that by logic of our government that people who live in Georgia are more disciplined and responsible than people in our country. Natig Jafarli comments on the inconsistency of the TABIB agency to deal with challenges of pandemic. One day- June 17- they declared that the newly built hospital in Goranboy will be only accepting and treating COVID-19 patients and made all other patients leave it, but few days later reversed their decision and returned all the patients back. He concludes by blaming them for not having any serious prognosis and scientific approach. Isa Gambar reports the participation in the ZOOM session organized by Emin Huseynov of IRFS, where he came up with the proposal to create a Public Committee consisting of prominent medical, economic experts, psychologists, sociologists and political and civic leaders, whose functions would be: 1) analysis of the international experience of the fight with pandemic 2) to compensate the lack of trust in the government of the population by convincing them to follow the rules 3) to realize the public oversight of the government policies. He states that the following tasks should be fulfilled: 1) The Azerbaijani citizens hundreds of whom are on the Russian border should be immediately brought to the country. 2) The aid of 190 manats should be increased few times and given to much more people. 3) The salaries of the doctors fighting the virus should be increased 4-5 times. 4) the political detentions should be stopped and prisoners should be released. Ilgar Mammadov of REAL comments that so far the authorities did not need the public opinion- they falsified elections, the rest was solved by force and bribe. That’s why TABIB is not in a position to come up with credible statements.
The intra-elite struggle – wave of attacks on the media and by the officials on Ramiz Mehdiyev attracted a lot of attention this time. It is a subject of multiple interpretations. Fuad Gahramanli of PFP considers that MP Fazil Gazanfaroglu critique of Ramiz Mehdiyev ( ex-head of Presidential Administration, currently the president of Academy of Sciences) is caused by the necessity to neutralize loyal to him people still remaining in power — a potential source of sabotage. As a sign, he continues, was an article written by Ramiz Mehdiyev about lack pf experience of the younger newly appointed cadres. He calls it transfer of power from one clan to another. Refusal of Ilham Aliyev going to the celebration- military parade of the WW2 victory to Russia is also interpreted in this limelight. While Aliyev himself is quite close to Russia, but Putin never misses an opportunity to have a network of his “ agents” to keep the situation under control. He concludes that besides pandemic, social economic crisis official elite is also preparing itself to the geopolitical tension. The opening of the criminal case against Ali Hasanov, considers Ganimad Zahid ( the ex-editor of Azadlig newspaper in exile) is not about financial tax debts, but about where and how anti-Mehriban Pashayev propaganda is prepared. In turn Ali Hasanov points to Ramiz Mehdiyev – as the man who requests it.
Persecution of activists remains a highly discussed topic. Most recent – the 22 June detention of Bakhtiyar Hajiyev was widely condemned, commented and shared. The other important issue is the extension of the detention term for Tofig Yagublu of Musavat party for another two months, although he has asthma and other health problems . Many activists are concerned about the pressure on Vafa Nagi, who is prevented from her activities in the local self-governance body in the region by the head of it – whom Ilkin Rustamzade calls “Alibala- the dictator”. Isa Gambar has participated in the dialogue with the ruling party MP Zahid Oruj n BBC under the title “What to expect from the reforms of the government?” Isa Gambar stated that there are no reforms in the country – only reform rhetoric and imitation. Because the main problems in the country are: corruption, falsified elections, absence of political and economic freedoms, repressions and political prisoners- but none of them were touched or changed by the cadre replacements or other steps by the government. He concludes that without solution of these problems neither Karabagh issue, nor the prosperity of the citizens will be achieved. Ali Karimli reports that the French e-publication New Dissidents have published the story of Agil Humbatov, who was put in the psychiatric clinic in Mashtaga village for his criticism of authorities, and that they trace it to the ex-KGB boss Heydar Aliyev governing style, which the current president has inherited. He also lists recent failures of the official policies-increase of infected, the humiliation of the citizens on the Russian border, the fall of police reputation, the water rebellions in the country. Gozel Bayramli quotes the letter of the political prisoner , member of the PFP Board Agil Maharramli, where he stresses, that for years activists are being arrested, tortured, broken and killed. This is because the majority leave them alone
The social-economic issues and economic policies continue to be in the center of attention. The lack of compensation and care to the business by the authorities during pandemic is explained by Natig Jafarli of REAL. He asserts that this is natural because there is no free market and all business belongs to the bureaucrats and they do not need compensation from the state, but the employees and small business are left without any care. He also points to the short-sighted policies to artificially preserve the value of national currency by making the rules of currency sale strict to the absurd level. They still do not understand that the movement of currency and thought is not possible to stop by order.These measures will result in the following: 1) The black market will emerge again 2) there will be two rates in the country – official and the market one, (which was even rejected by Uzbeks) 3) There will be shortage and deficit of the imported goods 4) the economic activities will decrease in the country 5) while the Central Bank is happy that at the last auctions there amount of sold dollars has decreased, they are not aware that this in an indirect indicator of the economic stagnation and fall of the purchasing capacity of the population.