Center for National and International Studies
“Gorbachev remains in the memory of Azerbaijanis as the main perpetrator of the January massacre in Baku.”
(Lack of) Human Rights and Liberties
Former political prisoner Aziz Mamiyev said that “all those who criticize Aliyev’s policy are unemployed.” Mamiyev wrote: “They fired everyone. We struggle with financial difficulties. Our friends say they have to find a job that pays daily as there is no guarantee for long terms jobs. Because once the regime arrests them and puts them in jail, the work remains unfinished. There are friends who are very talented, but they can’t find a job. I have been to prison three times. No one wants to hire us anymore. That’s why we are left in a desperate situation. They don’t give any chance to live. They have officially turned the country into hell.”
The appeal filed by currently imprisoned human rights defender and journalist Elchin Mammad on conditional early release against the decision of the local court was not granted. “Legal Education of Sumgayit Youth” Public Union reported the requirements of the legislation were violated by the local court in the case under the chairmanship of Baku Court of Appeal judge Rashad Abdulov. Journalist Mammad believes that as a result of this illegal action of the local court, his right to access the court was violated. Mammad has been detained for two and a half years.
Activist Punhan Karimli’s court hearing for determining his refugee status was scheduled on Tuesday, although Karimli is already deported to Azerbaijan and is in prison. Exiled journalist Afgan Mukhtarli said that the fact that the German court does not know about Karimli’s current location shows that he was deported for political reasons. The police and the Ministry of Migration deported him without considering his appeal to the court. “It’s a shame, it’s a blatantly illegal act, and it’s the manifestation of dirty business between the government of Azerbaijan and Germany,” said Mukhtarli.
Governance and Corruption
On Monday, at a court hearing in the Baku Court of Serious Crimes, it was revealed that the former minister of labor and social protection, Salim Muslimov, embezzled part of the seven million manats allocated for the construction of houses for the martyrs’ families. According to the court, Muslimov seized a total of 13 million manats from the state budget.
Chairperson of Azerbaijan Democracy and Welfare Party (ADR) Gubad Ibadoghlu said that after the state registration of the Party was declined three times, they appealed to the Baku Court of Appeals against the Ministry of Justice. The court hearing is expected to be held on September 12.
Journalist Mehman Huseynov shared his latest investigation on the corruption case involving Niyazi Bayramov, the head of executive power of Ganja. According to Huseynov, Bayramov’s son Bahram Bayramov has a car collection with a total cost of 2 million manats. Museynov wrote: “The official state salary of Ganja city executive is 1280 manats. Do the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the General Prosecutor’s Office not see these facts? The people of Azerbaijan are wondering why the price of bread is increasing day by day.”
Dangerously close relations with Russia
Azerbaijani government’s recent foreign policy has been widely criticized on social media. Criticizing the government’s decision to send troops to participate in the military trainings in Russia, the chairperson of APFP Ali Karimli said that Aliyev risks the sovereignty of the country for his own political gains. Karimli wrote: “Unfortunately, Ilham Aliyev insists on boarding our country the sinking ship of Russia at the expense of keeping his chair. What is the role of the Azerbaijani servicemen in the military exercises to be held under the leadership of the Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces? Regardless of their status, Azerbaijani servicemen should not participate in the exercises of the occupying army. However, unfortunately, the Azerbaijani military will take part in the training that will be held in the distant Primorsky Territory of Russia and in the Sea of Japan. Ilham Aliyev is creating a real threat to the independence of our country.”
Chairperson of ADWP Gubad Ibadoghlu said that “there is no chance for development together with Russia, therefore, sacrificing the strategic interests of the state to the interests of the current government is treason.” Ibadoghlu said that the public should be informed about future plans.
Member of APFP Fuad Gahramanli said that such geopolitically serious mistakes would affect and change the country’s foreign policy orientation. Gahramanli wrote: “We don’t know what Ilham Aliyev thinks about this, whether Putin forces him or puts pressure on him, or Aliyev takes such steps because he has tied his power interests with Russia. However ironic it may seem, the leadership of Azerbaijan and Armenia are conducting parallel politics between Brussels and Moscow. Therefore, if the West wants to participate in the establishment of the security scheme of the South Caucasus and achieve a lasting peace between Azerbaijan and Armenia, it must first of all take real steps to remove these countries from the influence of Russia.”
Member of NCDF Tofig Yagublu said that “Ilham Aliyev‘s dependence on Putin is a serious threat to Azerbaijan’s independence.”
Mikhail Gorbachev, the former USSR leader, died in Moscow at the age of 91. Gorbachev’s legacy is controversial due to his economic policy and the January massacre in Baku. In his Facebook post about the former Soviet leader, the chairperson of NCDF Jamil Hasanli said that “Gorbachev remains in the memory of Azerbaijanis as the main perpetrators of the Baku massacre”. Hasanli wrote: “Official propaganda mostly targets him for removing Heydar Aliyev from the Politburo in October 1987. The people of Azerbaijan are right to blame him for the rising sepratism in the Karabakh region and the tragedy of Black January. Probably these issues will remain in our memory for a long time. There is no excuse for the massacres of January 20. Facts and documents confirm Gorbachev‘s direct participation in this matter.”
Former chairman of the Milli Majlis Isa Gambar said that “Gorbachev’s perestroika allowed Azerbaijan to regain its independence, but at the same time, it created the threat of aggression against Azerbaijan and the occupation of an important part of Karabakh by Armenia.”
Economy and cost of living crisis
According to the Statistical Committee of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), in the first half of this year, Azerbaijan was one of the last n in the CIS region in terms of industrial output index. In the first half of this year, the industrial output in Azerbaijan increased by only 2.1%, while it increased by 17.3% in Tajikistan, 14.1% in Kyrgyzstan, 5.8% in Armenia, and 5.1% in Uzbekistan. Commenting on the statistics, chairperson of APFP Ali Karimli said that almost three decades of family rule is to blame for the current situation. Karimli wrote: “Thanks to 29 years of family rule, the times when we made sad comparisons with developed and developing countries have passed, and now we are comparing ourselves with Central Asian republics with the same bitterness.”
Meanwhile, for the first time after the devaluation, the State Statistics Committee announced a double-digit inflation index. According to the Statistics Committee, in 2022, food products increased by 21%, and the overall price increase for the country is 13%.
According to the decree signed by Prime Minister Ali Asadov, the monthly salaries of registrars, supervisors, and household workers (housekeepers, gardeners, etc.) who are not civil servants working in state bodies will not be increased. Commenting on the prime minister’s decision, chairperson of ADWP Gubad Ibadoghlu said that “it is an insult.” Ibadoghlu wrote: “How do you think 315-370 manats can be enough for a month? They have lost their sense of reality. They are really mocking the people.”
The wildfire in Zagatala mountains has spread to a wider area, and the Ministry of Emergency was unable to localize the fire. According to the fire department, about 300 people and two helicopters were involved in extinguishing the fire.
September 2, 2022