Center for National and International Studies
“The British government shouldn’t bother to think about the sanctions against Azerbaijan because the Azerbaijani government has already imposed tougher sanctions on its people.”
The War in Ukraine. Russia’s Aggression Continues as it Commits War Crimes.
In his social media address, the chairman of APFP Ali Karimli noted that “in the current age of the internet and social media, the Ukrainian people and international community get immediately aware of any inhuman acts carried out by the Russian army against the civilian population.” Karimli wrote: “The Russian government no longer has the ability to hide war crimes. The destruction of peaceful cities and high-rise residential buildings by missiles and bombs has angered the Ukrainian people and provoked the world community to become more determined against Russia. Contrary to what Putin planned, today, cruelty is not feared but hated. All pro-freedom nations and peoples of the world have united to save Ukraine. The time of the current Russian regime, which is accustomed to solving everything with brute force, has come to an end. It will not be possible to cross the Ukrainian wall and take the world hostage in fear. The heroic Ukrainian people will be able to protect their freedom and save humanity from a great disaster.”
In the light of the news of war crimes committed by Russia, and proposed sanctions, professor of History Altay Goyushov argued that “now it is time for the countries to make it clear where they stand.” Goyushov wrote: Either you are for democracy, the rule of law, eradication of corruption, human rights, free and fair elections, or you chose feudalism, which monopolizes the country for the sake of personal interests, and power through falsified elections. The second choice will put you on the side of corruption and bribery, in short, the medieval monarchy. Nothing will be the same. The time of pretended actions is over. It’s time to choose.”
Member of APFP, Fuad Gahramanli said that the war in Ukraine has once again confirmed that Russia’s continued existence is always a great threat to humanity. According to Gahramanli “one of the main post-war strategic goals should be to divide Russia into nation-states.” Gahramanli also added that “through sanctions, the West is turning the Russian people into “a soft army”.
Deceased young activist’s memory was remembered on his birthday
On Tuesday, the birthday of the activist Bayram Mammadov, who died in suspicious circumstances in Istanbul, was remembered by activists and journalists. According to the independent media, there is no doubt that the young activist’s murder was political and ordered by Azerbaijani officials. The young activists Bayram Mammadov and Giyas Ibrahimov, who were known as “prisoners of the monument,” were arrested on trumped-up accusations in 2016. The activists wrote “Happy slaves’ day!” on the monument to former President Heydar Aliyev on the day of Aliyev’s birthday, which was celebrated as “flower festival” in Azerbaijan. Imprisoned for 10 years, both activists had been severely tortured while in detention. They were released on a pardon in 2019 after continuous appeals from international human rights organizations.
Reactions to Sanctions
Sanctions against Russia were discussed in the British Parliament. MP Margaret Hodge asked Foreign Minister Truss if sanctions would be imposed on Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan as well on the grounds that both countries are close allies of Russia. Truss replied that they were preparing sanctions against Belarus and would investigate the case with Azerbaijan and Kazakhistan. Professor Altay Goyushov stated that the alliance declaration with Russia and the corruption scandals that preceded it have already put the government in a very critical position. According to Goyushov, “as of now, the arguments of “the balanced politics” or “the non-aligned” will not help to save the situation.” “Azerbaijan should make it clear where it stands”, added Goyushov. Speculating on the possibility of future sanctions, groups of social media users chose sarcasm to express themselves: The British government shouldn’t bother to think about the sanctions against Azerbaijan because the Azerbaijani government has already imposed tougher sanctions on its people.”
Reflection on the possible outcomes of the sanctions against Russia, activist Bakhtiyar Hajiyev argued that “it is an indirect outcome of Russian people’s indifference to the politics in their country.” Hajiyev wrote: “Athletes and artists stay silent about all injustices, even though they could shape the opinion of millions of people. The Russian citizens who live as tourists in their home countries do not participate in any political process, vote for Putin from election to election, help falsify votes, or do not go to the polls at all. But if those millions of people do not unite and oppose Putin‘s brutal aggression, they will have the blood of every child who dies in Ukraine in their hands while suffering from the sanctions. The sooner Russian citizens realize this, take to the streets and choose a leader whose psychological condition is not abnormal enough to sit 7 meters away from the Minister of Defense, the sooner they will get rid of these problems and moral responsibility.” Hajiyev also added that there are lessons to be learned for the people of other dictatorships, including Azerbaijan. Hajiyev concluded: “If we continue to pretend like tourists in our home countries, keep silent about injustices, tomorrow we will all suffer when sanctions are imposed on Azerbaijan. Therefore, we must leave the club of dictators and authoritarians and become a developed country.”
Member of APFP Fuad Gahramanli shared a similar opinion when reacting to the sanctions against Russia. Gahramanli wrote: “Now the world has left the Russian people with a choice. Either the Russians must unite with the people who make a huge sacrifice and resist Putin‘s regime and overthrow this war criminal, or they must pay the heavy price for their silence and indifference. Today, the Russian people are not in a better position than the Ukrainian people, who fight a life-and-death war. It is not fair that the Russian people do not stand up to stop their criminal dictator and do not “interfere in politics” as if nothing had happened, while the Ukrainian people are sacrificing thousands of lives when their homeland is being destroyed.”
The majority of the social media users and activists have stressed that the international community’s sharp reaction is just and necessary, as it aims to provoke the Russian people to protest against the Putin regime. The Russians must now understand that this indifferent position is seriously damaging not only their country but all of humanity and peace.
The European Union has announced a new list of sanctions. The list includes several diplomats, servicemen, and politicians from the Russian Federation. Among those sanctioned by the European Union is Lieutenant General Rustam Muradov, a former commander of Russian peacekeepers in Karabakh.
The chairman of ADR Party Gubad Ibadoghlu reported that the members of the party have gathered in front of the Russian Embassy in Baku chanting “No to aggression!”, “Russian army, leave Ukraine!”. Police brutally broke up the anti-war protest of ADR members, and dozens of party activists were detained. Party activists were later released.
The emergency session of the UN General Assembly
On its emergency session on Wednesday, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution demanding Russia to withdraw its troops from Ukraine. The resolution calls on Russia to end the war and withdraw its forces from Ukraine. 141 states voted in favor of the resolution that reaffirms Ukrainian sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity. Five countries – Russia, Belarus, Eritrea, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the Syrian Arab Republic – voted against the resolution. 34 countries, including China, India, and Iran abstained. 12 countries, including Azerbaijan, did not participate in the voting. The Azerbaijani delegation’s absence during the vote was criticized by social media users and activists. Journalist Seymur Hezi explained this with “the Azerbaijani government’s inability to properly assess the current situation.” Hezi wrote: Now, avoiding to take a stand, to remain neutral, to appear neutral, to be afraid of being seen as a party is all understood as being on the other side. In other words, if you are not standing with Ukraine, then you are with Russia.” Exiled journalist Afgan Mukhtarli expressed his outrage with the government when reacting to the issue. Mukhtarli’s FB post reads: Now, at the state level, Azerbaijan does not interfere in politics. Our delegation did not attend the UN meeting when the resolution on Russia was adopted. Earlier, our delegation did not attend the meeting when the Council of Europe voted to suspend Russia’s membership. When the war in Ukraine began, our MPs did not interfere in politics, and Aliyev said he didn’t interfere in politics. First, as a nation, now at a state level, we don’t interfere in politics. Soon we will give up on being a Republic and become a collective farm.”
Azerbaijanis in Ukraine complains about the negligence of the embassy
Social media users report that thousands of Azerbaijanis are left supportless in Ukraine, and the embassy is not providing any assistance. During the ongoing war, the ambassador to Ukraine Elmira Akhundova made only two statements. The embassy doesn’t answer the calls since then. According to the independent media, Akhundova has already left Ukraine and is now in Baku. Reportedly, Azerbaijani students are gathered at the Kharkiv railway station waiting for their return to Azerbaijan, but the government fails to arrange their trip back home.
March 4, 2022