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Center for National and International Studies
The topics of these days are continued repressions of government critics, police and internet harassment of the NIDA movement leader Ilkin Rustamzade and his family, one year commemoration of the suicide of Elina Hajiyeva, the aid package of the government and the social-economic situation in the country.
Khadija Ismayil decribes the developments on her timeline in details:
“The police first came to his parents looking for their son. Earlier he moved to his new place, as he just got married. The police responded that he did not have a right to move without sending an SMS ( although that happened before this rule was introduced). Then his father is taken to the police station practically as a hostage and they demand Ilkin to come there. His father, Bakir Rustamzade is an old man, who just had a heart surgery and belongs to the vulnerable group of people during epidemics. Later he was released, after they have spoken to Ilkin on the phone, who however demands them to post him a written notification, as it is required by law. Now his house is surrounded by the police. 10 days ago he was contacted by the person, who introduced himself as part of special forces and threatened him to publish the intimate pictures of his wife, if he stops petition on the package aid to people during the quarantine. Two days ago they published photos, and on top of that opened a fake e”scort” site on his wife’s site with placing her telephone, name and photo.”
All the leaders of political parties, many public figures, intellectuals made their statements in regards persecution of Ilkin Rustamzade. Altay Geyushov calls it an act of terror toward Rustamzade. He anticipates with irony that tomorrow one local conformist , or a foreign lobbyist will tell that the president is not aware, and that some invisible enemies are to blame. Ali Kerimli of PFP warns about possibility of arrest of Ilkin Rustamzade, informing that his father was taken by 5-6 policemen hostage in the 34 police station. He stresses that the government wants to silence Ilkin, a former political prisoner, who has always distinguished by his principled stance. He calls everyone to protest the persecution of Rustamzade, writing that the government uses the quarantine situation to suppress the opposition. “ You have stolen 6 years of his young life, is not it enough? Leave Ilkin Rustamzade alone!” Isa Gambar of Musavat writes on hist imeline: “ Leave Ilkin Rustamzade alone! Stop repressions of the democratic camp!” Shahveled Cobanoglu : “ A crime is being committed in relations of Ilkin Rustamzade, there is a repressions against himself, his family, his father. By this the authorities are stabbing behind the whole nation in the difficult times of its history” Yadigar Sadyghli writes that the government seems to have forgotten coronavirus, and is fighting Ilkin Rustamzade instead, crossing all the red lines. It is a real shame.”
Seymur Hezi comments: “ By arresting Ilkin you will not help it, you will not feed the hungry ones, neither make unhappy satisfied!” Bakhtiyar Hajiyev writes on his timeline: “ They cannot create a system to give unemployed 190 manats, but managed to surround by police the house of the youth leader Ilkin Rustamzade, took his old father to the police station, have published the photos of his wife, whom he just married, and her phone number on the “escort” website.. And then they declare themselves to be the bearer of the moral values. In fact, they only are capable of such immoral actions. But they are not able to sell 200 apartments ( hint on the private property of one of the officials- L.A) and create a system to give unemployed 190 manats” Rabiyya Mammadova comments: “ While the world is fighting COVID-19 , our government is committing immoral actions in relations to the young leaders, and newly formed families. For a few days already they do disgusting postings on Ilkin’s wife Amina, distributing her photos.Today their house is surrounded by the police.” An activist in exile, Gullu Jangirova comments: “ While the government is arresting the activists, close jobs, commit unlawful acts, the people are keeping silence, although these activists are not sacrificing their lives, health, forces for themselves, but for everybody. Because you are keeping silence, when there are arrested, your turn will come too. Like it is already happening now. They were supposed to give you aid in connection with epidemics, but they are finding thousands excuses not to. Because if you gave support the activists in time, the authorities would not treat you this way.
But it is not late yet. You can still raise your voice.” Gubad Ibadoglu writes on his timeline, that the government should stop using the epidemics to persecute opposition and stop its dirty deeds and leave Ilkin Rustamzade and his family alone.
Ruzgar Movsum commemorates the year since the death of Elina Hajiyeva, who committed suicide as a result of bullying. He writes, addressing her, that nothing has changed since her death- the government saw the way out in eliminating windows at schools, while people tried to discredit her by immoral labeling. And the society is still suffocating of injustice, and the parents are still beating their children. “Do not forgive us, Elina, do not forgive us! You did not manage to be happy in our full of sufferings country, at least let your spirit be happy”
FB users discuss the aid package introduced by the government. Gubad Ibadoglu lists the categories of the citizens, who are excluded from the aid – two times payment of 190 manats in two months for unemployed. He stresses that the aid applies to those, who were registered as unemployed ( including at the opened on 1st of April website “Employment”). The list includes pensioners, insured of unemployment, those, who receive agricultural subsidies, property or land, or targeted social benefits, among others, and in case if one of the spouses receives social benefits.
Seymur Hezi ridicules the decision of the government to exclude long list of categories of citizens from the social aid. He reminds that now the matter is not a targeted social aid, but about basic nutrition for millions, who cannot go out for a daily work and face real threat of hunger. “These are all meaningless excuses for exceptions- those, who have piece of land, or gets pension are not eligible for aid. Lets take the pension. If you consider subsistence minimum as 190 manats, then for two- it is 380 manats. How many people in the country gets pension higher than 250 manats? Does not it mean to let millions of families starve to death? How can people, who are not able to leave the house and who have plots of land sell them and support themselves? In other words, the government says- I am not giving aid to anyone- those are are meant to die, let them die, those who survive- are all ours!” He continues on the issue of aid and repressions:” Of all the financial reserves the government is not planning to give people even 1/50th, this makes 1 bln of 52 bln dollars. Instead they put people, who come for 190 manat aid, in groups of 3-5 people in the police cars and arrest them This puts health of both the civilians and the police under risk”
Arif Mammadov comments with irony on the substance of the declared aid : “ Because of the high number of unemployed, poor and with no salaries the aid will be given just to the 5 families : Pasha Holding, Ata Bank, Kapital Bank, Azal and Silk Way. Let Allah not give our people patience. It is enough of being patient!”
Bakhtiyar Hajiyev comments on numerous complaints that none of the sites in connection with rules during epidemics and aid package function properly. He suggests that because the cadre policy is based on proxies principle, there is a serious lack of professionalism among bureaucracy, which is reflected in the work of the state institutions. He brings the example of the minister of high technologies, which is a member of the “cartel of reformers”, who was born in Baku, graduated from the University, then there is a gap, and after that 10 years working in the H. A. Foundation ( although it is not indicated, which work he was doing) and because he knows someone there he suddenly becomes the minister. Majority of contemporary cadres are appointed this way. Very often to promote a proxy for the government position, even the fake CVs are submitted to the president. Then people are surprised why the site to register for receiving 190 manats is not working. He ask a rhetorical question:” I wonder whether those members of “cartel of young reformers” who stored billions of petro-dollars in their offshore accounts are ashamed a bit of that they created just 1 day schedule to register for 190 manats aid, which demands passport and driving license for identification, exclude those, who have one recipient of social benefit or stipend in the family, those, who have 1 acre of land, has the ID expired, or telephone number not associated with the applicant, not given to this one, or another one…??” He continues: “ If they really want to support people- they have such a rich data base- open it, calculate unemployed and just give it to them, why do you need their telephone numbers, or foreign passports?”
The FB users also share and comment on the quotation from the Russian president Putin’s speech at the 8 th April meeting with the regional leaders comparing coronavirus with the threats -the ancient enemies in the times of the old Rus – pechenegs and polovets. One of the bloggers Kass Bay comments with irony: “ Were pechenegs and polovets also managed by Americans?”
Some Russian speaking groups are sharing and commenting on the interview of the former minister of Foreign Affairs Tofig Zulfugarov about Karabagh and Russian relations with Azerbaijan and Armenia. The participants expressed varying views on possibility of Russia to get annoyed by Armenia and helping Azerbaijan to get Karabagh back.
FB users share an information about EU aid 140 mln euros for the most immediate needs of 6 countries of Eastern Neighborhood, including Azerbaijan, as well as 700 mln euros to help mitigate the socio-economic impact of the coronavirus crisis along with other amounts.. ( total 962 mln).
AZPOST.info reports about 100 mln dollars given to Azerbaijan for the unemployed. The comments under the reports discloses the disbelief that this money will reach the unemployed. The FB users comment: “ And this one will follow the fate of 2, 5 bln . Even this virus works for them ( elite-L.A)”, “ they will eat everything”, “ Now you can give 10 mln of this to the people” “ How they will give it to the people? What are the mechanisms?”
The FB users widely share the heartbreaking interview of BAKUTimes with the mother of a few children, who is crying saying that her children have been hungry for 20 days, and the government does not help.