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Center for National and International Studies

 

FB Digest@VoxPOPULI

02.04.2020

The dominating topics these days are continued economic and social consequences of pandemics, arrest of the activists, fall of the price of oil to 10 dollars in Russia, losses of state oil fund, details of the aid package of Azerbaijani government to the population and business, sign the petition about aid and concessions in connection with pandemics.

Gubad Ibadoglu the economic expert and the chair of ADR states, that the currency reserves are being exhausted,  SOFAZ  started to spend its assets, the depreciation of manat is approaching quickly. SOFAZ declared that it sold 1, 928, 3 mln dollars at the currency market only in March this year. Before that it sold in February  534 mln dollars, in January -300, 2mln. All together in 3 months this year it sold 2 bln 771 mln 900 thous. US dollars. He suggests that the increased demand for the currency was covered at the expanse of assets. However so far SOFAZ did not give any public report about that. At the same time, the reserves of the Central Bank increased by 135,8 mln dollar. All this points to the approaching depreciation of manat. He also comments on the Reuters information that the world demand in the light oil of Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Nigeria had significantly decreased. Ibadoglu stresses, that in addition to the general fall of oil price, Azerbaijan light oil was used for the airplanes and because most of them are stopped, this adds to the country’s losses.

He also contrasts the behaviour of the internet providers in a number of foreign states to Azerbaijan. He lists concessions by the providers to their customers in the US, Uzbekistan, Hungary, while stressing that in Azerbaijan providers – Azercell, Baksell, NAR mobile  cut telephone service to the debtors. “So far “– he concludes – “having made their profit at the expanse of people, the companies did not make any concessions to their customers, which at least could be made to the retired people and students.” He also lists among measures in connection with epidemics, which the government should adopt  – the instruction for the police not to stop the cars ( as for instance is the case in NY where 700 police officers are infected). He continues to attract the attention, that Minister of health is not visible during this crisis at the official meetings. He comments, that while Ilham Aliyev met with Minister of Economy Mikayil Jabbarov  and the Minister of Labor and  Social protection Minister Sahil Babayev, he should not forget to meet with the Minister of Health too.

Hikmet Hajizade posts official statistics on coronavirus with reference to Turan news agency. The number of infected is 298, of them 26 recovered, while 5 has died. 267 are still in the hospital, of them the condition of 11 is hard, of 15 – medium, while 4602 are in various quarantine zone.

The FB user Ali Inglabci comments with sarcasm “ Once we will witness the decree by the president about 250 manats transfer to population. But while reading the text we will understand that this is a tricky decree, full of deceptions. We will see, that this decree is applicable only to 4 people. One is Emir of the Seljuk state, two- from the Ottoman Sultanate, and other two – from the army of the Safavids.”

Seymur Hezi, the opposition activist and journalist, writes quotation about the good societies, who can unite in the times of crisis- on the one hand, and insatiability in the others from Michael Sandel’s  Lectures about political justice.

Javid Gara, an ex- candidate in the parliamentary elections of 9 February after revealing how much the organization he owns Camping Azerbaijan paid in taxes in 3 years (7,010 AZN) suggests to all other enterprises to declare how much taxes they paid.

Ordukhan Babirov reports about the irony of the Coronavirus Foundation collections bringing an example of Lenkoran officials, which are deducting 50 manats from the salaries of their employees ( in this case, the water supply department) to donate to the foundation.  He also stresses that there was no official reaction to the “elections” in  Nagorno – Karabagh.

The academic and opposition leader Jamil Hasanli comments that so far there are three authoritarian states which used COVID-19 pandemics to fight their political opponents. The leader in this troika is Ilham Aliyev; while of 80 mln wise population of Egypt, the president Sisi arrested 7 opposition activists, Ilham Aliyev after his infamous Novruz holiday appeal arrested 10 opposition activist of 10 mln wise of population, and put the father of 3 underage children Agil Humbatov’ in the psychiatric clinic for demanding the child benefits.

Ali Kerimli of PFP calculates the state aid package in concessions in communal services to the population and reports that this aid is 1 manat 80 qap. The government plans to increase the amount of electricity sold with  the discount  of 4 manats to population from 300 to 400 KWper hour per family.

Altay Geyushov announces that due to the closed Universities the project Online Academy offers few courses online, the Theories of Freedom, Introduction to the Economics. The Philosophy of Law. It will include 5 lectures in each topic ( twice a week and will increase the number of topics and lectures. He attracts attention to the poor condition of the buses in the country contrasting it to spending on  “watches, foreign sportsmen, destruction of people’s houses, offshore accounts, European Games, buying off the US and European politicians, bought half of London, and gave money to the foreigners to run Formula One in the country”.

He comments with irony that the Georgian government has delivered the population from 3 months of communal services payments. But not to Azerbaijani population, because they do not get involved in politics. “ But if Azerbaijani government will follow the example of the Georgian one- then you will have to thank the Georgian population for involving in politics

Khadija Ismayil informs the FB users that Agil Humbatov, a father of 3 underage children,  who recorded a video appeal to Ilham Aliyev demanding child benefits was taken to the psychiatric clinic and is forcibly treated there. His family is left without any support. “ The Soviet Union returned in Azerbaijan”- comments Khadija Ismayil.

Nigar Hezi posts a message about her father state of health. She comments that its been 10 days since her father was arrested at the  time of epidemics. She was worrying especially because of the pain in the arm, which was almost constant after the tortures he experienced during the previous arrest.

Gozel Bayramli reports the release of the member  of the Majlis of the PFP Anar Melikov after 10 days of arrest. She at the same time analyses the situation with repressions during coronavirus stressing that states one after another release prisoners  with the next one being Turkey, which released 45 thousand prisoners completely , and 45 thousand – to serve the rest of the term in isolation at home. Azerbaijan government before the eyes of international community has turned the pandemics into the excuse to persecute its political opponents. The head of the state openly declares and implements it, the speaker of the ruling party Siyavush Novruzov calls the opposition “ the virus” , while Ali Ahmadov calls the opposition the main target of its struggle, following the example of officials calls the opposition members the virus  etc. The prisons turned into the business structures, with billions of manats being misappropriated and stolen through these structures. The court does not make any concession to the accused without a bribe. Those 200 were released exactly based on that principle. Because of corruption prisoners do not get normal food in prisons. She appeals to people to raise their voices in support of release of prisoners.

Ilkin Rustamzade writes that this is heart breaking to see how people are crowded in buses going to earn daily subsistence money, people who cannot afford buying  even bread for their families, not finding masks in the drugstores but forced to go out to earn money and being fined by the police. But on the other hand, 3 months ago during the election campaign they almost proudly were saying that they do not get involved in politics, and when he sees the number of views under certain singers, or infamous personalities – he thinks – this is their choice as this is the result of their apolitical stance.

In  spite of the petition which was widely signed and shared by the FB users for the government to freeze communal payments, transfers of 300 manats per citizen etc., the revealed details of the aid package of the government had a much more modest target.

Natig Jafarli comments on the state plans of the aid package for the population and business. He likes certain aspects of it, but considers the overall philosophy wrong. The package is given to the law abiding citizens- those, who signed the contracts, paid taxes in time etc.  Jafarli considers this is not a right time to teach the population a lesson. There are 1,5 mln people who work on the daily basis without contracts there are thousands businesses avoiding taxes, what to do with them, he asks.  This turns into a problem of national security! In this situation, as he refers to his writings for almost a month already, there is no place for complex solutions- but simple ones, which would reach any citizen.

The FB users widely share and comment attracting attention both local and international organizations of continued arrests, first of all prominent human rights defender from Sumgayit Elchin Mammad.  They also share an information  about new draconic measure by the government to restrict movement of the citizens during the quarantine, according to which any citizen who wants to leave the house should send SMS to the policeman with explanation of the reason and only after that leave the house.

The information about 1.500 children ill of thalassemia who might be a victim to the quarantine situation is spread and commented by the FB users.

The activists and journalists also discuss the issue of the fall of oil prices in Russia ( reaching 10, 54 dollars per barrel for the Urals) and Azerbaijan and its economic and political implications.

 


Апрель 2, 2020