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Center for National and International Studies
The most popular topics are the pandemic and extended quarantine, continued arrests of the bureaucrats, situation with political prisoners and petition of their amnesty, the slander campaign, based on fake information of their “Armenian” blood against brothers the blogger Mehman and a journalist Emin Huseynov, the violation of the quarantine rules by the elite at the Fairmont Hotel, social aid to population.
The issue of political freedoms is one of the most popular topics. Ali Karimli of PFP appeals to his followers to join the petition on amnesty of the prisoners due to the alarming threat of spread of virus in prisons. He also reports and condemns on behalf of the party the detention of the activist and journalist Fatima Movlamli on the 2dn of July, who was put pressure on by the policemen of the Binagadi department 43 and conducted a cyberattack of her phone. Jamil Hasanli comments on the attack in the media on him by the authorities and the slander campaign because of his criticism and remarks on the president Aliyev’s speech in Mingechavir. In response to Aliyev’s statements that Nikol Pashinian of Armenia is corrupt dictator, Hasanli said that compared to Aliyev Pashinian is clean and more democratic leader. The official media took his words out of the context and spreads it as “praising of the leader of the enemy -country”. Yet, the number of views of Hasanli’s comments is 207 thousands and 11 thousands likes as compared to 21likes of the president’s speech. Gubad Ibadoglu reports 4 failed attempts to register his movement ADR ( of Azerbaijan Democracy and Prosperity) with the Ministry of Justice, then going to the court and after going through all levels the courts supported the decision of the Ministry. They eventually submitted the case to the ECHR. Nigar Hezi passes the comments of her father – Tofig Yagublu — from prison on the speech of president Aliyev in Mingechavir who suggested that if Heydar Aliyev did not come to power in 1993 the Armenians would advance further. He opposes it and discloses that in the eve of his arrival to power there was already an agreement on withdrawal of Armenians from Kelbajar, and if Aliyev did not illegally transferred power into his hands, none of the other regions were occupied. Ilgar Mamamdov of REAL explains where does the expression “Bakuvians is a special nation” come from. He reminds that in July 1918 that the Bolshevik-Dashnak army was being defeated by the Caucasus Muslim Army in the area of Goychay region. Panicking, Lenin sends a telegram to Stalin in Georgia to ask the German embassy to
make Ottomans to stop its advancement in Baku direction. The German ambassador in turn expresses the Germany’s interest to have Baku as part of Russia. But the Ottomans do not listen to them and continue to Baku and in September liberated the city from Dashnak-Bolshevik forces. So 1st of July is the day of those who wanted to see Baku separated from the rest of the country. We need simply the day of Baku, which will be appointed by the elected by people mayor of the city, concludes Ilgar Mammadov. Yadigar Sadyghli publishes the historical article about the Bayar Menderes government, which two months after coming to power in Turkey issued an amnesty decree, according to which most of the political prisoners were released, including Nazim Hikmet. Leading public and political leaders posted their condemnation of the publication in the 1stnews.az about brothers Huseynovs. FB users report the arrest for 15 days of another PFP activist of its Goyachay branch Gachay Gafarov. The Youth branch of the PFP issued an appeal to the young activists of the party. It urges the young people be prepared for the attacks from the rival- the authorities- to be calm ( as increased pressure shows vulnerability of the rival) keep in mind the historical mission- as you are the only guarantor of the preservation of the traditions of Rasulzade, Musavat, Elchibey, PFP for the future generations, you are the guarantor of the domestic pluralism and permanently learning and enlightening, you are promoter of peace beyond the borders, your concept of justice is based on your believe in humanism, responsibility before the law and the right to live with dignity. Ali Karimli demands Ilham Aliyev to account for the money which were allocated to the fight with the consequences of coronavirus. Jamil Hasanli reports the National Council appeal to the government not to block the extension of the mandate of the Harlem Desire as a OSCE representative on the freedom of media.
Failure to deal with the virus is widely discussed by the FB users. Natig Jafarli of REAL lists the reasons of failure: changing of decisions too quickly, inability to assess the depth of the processes, absence of ability to build models. In addition, no accountability, no logic in range of decisions, no normal communication with the society, inability to understand the problems of business. He states that all this resulted in a very difficult situation in the country, quoting one of the people in the street who said their family was starving. People complain about overcrowded buses and metro with the government unable to provide safe conditions for travel. They also complain about uncertainty regarding periodical and unclear imposition of two weeks long quarantine, when the control is very questionable. Yadigar Sadyghli suggests that not the head epidemiologist should be criticized, but the governance system, as they left the main expert outside the system. Fuad Gahramanli of the PFP writes about mysterious nature of the Minister of Health Ogtay Shiraliyev who does not appear anywhere in public and is not visible since the beginning of the pandemic. He argues that other people responsible for the health of the citizens also are hopeless, bringing an example of the head epidemiologist, who said he is not aware of anything in the country, or the head of the child clinic in Sumgayit, who is not only infected himself but also infected the others and forces them to come to work. The FB users speak about discrimination in availability of hospital beds and that majority of people, who have no power connections, are forced to take treatment in their homes. Some conclude, that the science suggests the probability of lethality of the virus is low, but the probability of starving to death as a result of quarantine measures is higher. Gubad Ibadoglu of ADR analyses the issue of lack of beds for the infected in the country. He brings the statistics and puts the question of why in the country with 563 clinics with 44 thousands beds and 8, 031 people being treated in the hospitals there is a shortage of beds for the patients? He starts with the discrepancy between the number 700 voiced by the president and the real number of beds. He also considers that the number 44 thousand is inflated, as the finances are given to the institutions according to the number of beds, so this is then being misappropriated. He shows that the expenses on health compared to the last year has increased almost two times- 873,6 mln manat in 2019 and 1 bln 369 mln manat ( this increase was related to the expected introduction of the mandatory health insurance). So while there is still enough beds and clinics, he also destroys the argument that there is a shortage of doctors and medical personnel, bringing respective statistics – by 1st January 2020 32,5 thousand doctors and 37,630 personnel. He concludes, that all this proves that the problem is in management of resources and the corruption the health system. Habib Muntazir, the activist in exile, lists the peculiarities of pandemic in the country: the most long-lasting quarantine regime in the world – 5 months, 3 types of quarantine, the government calls people egotists, while ignores violations by bureaucrats, the government hardly gave 190 manat aid for two months during 5 months of quarantine, there is no trust in the government at all, it is country which intimidates population, fines it, but without any results, as the number of infected grows day by day. Bakhtiyar Hajiyev compares the coronavirus aid in Georgia to the aid in Azerbaijan. The aid in Georgia with the population of 4 mln people was 2 bln manat (3,5 bln lari) , while in Azerbaijan with 10 mln population – 2, 5 bln manat. The most recent videos about elite resting by the pool of the expensive Fairmont hotel ( which belongs to the family of vice-president Pashayevs) was quickly shared as the proof of inequality and discrimination regarding the rules of quarantine. Ganimat Zahidov explores the income from the coronavirus tests and whom does it go to. He remineds that he reported Ilham Aliyev’s profit at least 2,4 mln from the sale of masks, which is his private business. He argues, that although the name of Ramin Bayramli— the clinic owner is used in connection with the test business, the true owner and monopolist of the test business is Ilham Aliyev. The price of test is 140 manats and so far 516 thousand tests were conducted. The total comes up to 72 mln manats. In Belarus Lukashenka refused of low quality Russia tests and buy more expensive 20 euros per item from Europe. If the expenses deducted the pure profit is 55-60 mln manat. He concludes that the only reason of the high price of tests is that it is private business and a monopoly of Ilham Aliyev. The FB users repeatedly confirm that unless you have connections you will not get into the hospital for treatement. Seymur Hezi reports the medical aid from Turkey: 30 ventilators, 55.000 potective clothes, 50,000 N95 mask, 100, 000 surgery masks, 5,000 medical eyeglasses, 200,000 gloves, 40.000 medicine.
The social aid is the subject of discussion both by the experts and general population. Gubad Ibadoglu analyses the new portion of state aid announced by the government in connection with the newly imposed quarantine regime until the 1st if August. It has been decided to allocate 287 thousand manats via card transfers to the respective social groups in 16 regions and cities of the country, where the lockdown was declared. However, not everybody of those who was eligible and received it before will receive this aid, the process of the money transfer will be long, although the quarantine lasted for two more months the aid will cover only one month. He also stresses that there is no any support for the SMEsor their employees is envisioned. Seymur Hezi reports that people cannot get their deposits from the closed banks.
FB users discuss the reasons and nature of continued investigation and detention of bureaucrats by the authorities, as well as their illegal properties. They share the news about arrested head of the department of ministry’s registry Farhad Mollazade, who is a close friend of the minister Mammadyarov, as well as vice-president of the Union of Architects ( since 2000). Along with him the head of the logistics department of the ministry Salim Alizade ( relative of Natig Aliyev) and the head of the legal department of the consulate Nurupasha Abdullayev. They have confessed that they were leaving 20% of the finances for themselves and the rest was given to the projects. They also comment with irony and joke on the reaction of his relative MP Asim Mollazade, who is a “pocket opposition”, that they do not communicate, as one is in opposition and the other- in the government. Habib Muntazir reports arrest of Ildrimzade Ulvi Yunis oglu -the secretary of the closed Amrahbank Supervisory Board chair, whose uncle Yusif Ildrimzade was a prosecutor of the Khatayi district of Baku, who is turn is a relative of the ex-minister of interior Ramil Usubov. Muntazir comments, that first they sack the minister, then closed his bank and now are getting rid of his relatives. Ali Karimli quoting Seymur Hezi his deputy, demonstrates the failure of governance of the current regime by listing all key ministries which turned into a criminal and corrupt structures. He reminds the operation the “Black Belt” which the Ministry of National Security led by Eldar Mahmudov conducted against the organized crime group by Haji Mammadov in the Ministry of Interior. Then the organizaed crime group was disclosed in the Ministry of National Security itself, including private prisons and other things. The president called it the treason against himself. Then there was a turn of the Ministry of Culture, which appeared to sell historical national treasures abroad. And at last- the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where they are looking for the financial reports of the 4mln worth villas of the minister. He concludes, the it is not the ministers, but the people responsible for the governance the result of which was its total destruction. Natig Jafarli adds to this analysis by stressing confusion of responsibilities in the government. The FB users ridicule the list ( near 600 people) which expressed the birthday wishes to MP Aydin Mirza-zade, which he published on his FB page. Gubad Ibadoglu discloses the budget amount 11 mln manat which was allocated to the insurance of the property of the low income families and where did it go. He shows that most of the insurance companies who received this money are customers of the Pasha Insurance company.Even in spite of the 10% shares in the Atashgah Insurance company SOCAR’s property is also insured by Pasha Insurance. He also stresses that the transparency of the SOFAZ is decreasing. He also mentions that only in 2019 the work with diasporas expenses were 3, 5 bln manat, but without any serious effects promoting unification. Ganimat Zahid lists the property of the designer of the “caviar diplomacy” Elkhan Suleymanov. Including in Bilga, Ismayilli, Shamakha, Goychay where are the villas of himself and his sons, numerous factories and companies in avious regions. Only in Agsu region in Alibeyli and neighboring villages they own 1,500 hectares of land.
In reaction to Putin’s referendum Seymur Hezi comments that there has never been the benefit of the fake elections or referenda for the stability of the regime. He reminds the case of one of the victims of the Arab spring the president of Tunisia Bin Ali, who just few months before he was overthrown won high percentage of votes in the falsified elections. He considers that there is an objective basis for resistance in Russia too- such as small and medium business, which is due to the big size of Russia is not fully centralized and controlled.