Center for National and International Studies
“There is no need to talk about an effective fight against corruption if there is no transparency, no access to information, and senior officials, including the head of state, do not publish declarations of income and property.”
(Lack of) Human Rights and Liberties
Aziz Mamiyev, a board member of the Youth Organization of the Musavat Party, has been arrested. Mamiyev has been publicizing the provocations and threats against him recently, making official complaints about them to the Interior Ministry. However, the Interior Ministry ignored Mamiyev’s complaints, and detained him on Wednesday while he was trying to hold a one-person rally in front of the ministry building to protest the Interior Ministry’s inaction. Chairperson of the party Arif Hajili shared a statement saying that “Mamiyev’s sharp criticism of the government, his activism on social media, strong support among this audience, and his active participation in the protests resulted in him being the government’s target.”
Ali Azerli Alikram, a social media user who would use his platform to criticize the government’s ineffective policies, was forcefully checked into a psychiatric hospital. His wife told to media that Ali Azerli was taken to Psychiatric Clinical Hospital to silence him.
A war veteran Gazi Ravan Abbasov protested in front of the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection against the incorrect determination of his disability. Abbasov complained about the indifference and neglect on the authorities’ side regardless of his numerous appeals.
Governance and corruption
President Ilham Aliyev signed an order approving National Action Plan for Strengthening Combating Corruption for the years 2022-2026. However, according to opposition leaders, Aliyev’s order raised doubts as none of the previous measures bore any results. Chairperson of NCDF Jamil Hasanli argued that without having a political will to eliminate corruption at the state level, adopting such action plans would not solve the issue of corruption. Hasanli wrote: So far, Ilham Aliyev signed dozens of decrees to combat corruption, and established “luxurious” commissions and committees. What is the result? The result is that in recent years, in international corruption reports, Azerbaijan has fallen, sharing 129th place among 180 countries with Mali, Gabon, Malawi, and Russia. Even in Zambia, Niger, and Gana, the situation is better than in Azerbaijan. The main route of corruption in Azerbaijan passes through the Danske Bank of Estonia. Therefore, this issue does not end with the adoption of the “National Action Plan”. You have to be able to tell your national and transnational appetite to stop, to have a sense of national dignity, to be able to give up on stealing, deception, manipulation.”
Chairperson of ADWP Gubad Ibadoghlu also reacted to the new order by the president, saying that it consists of the repetition of the same or similar measures previously stated in the Open Government Partnership Program, which was passed long ago. Ibadoghlu wrote: For example, one of the articles is on “improving the efficiency and quality of inspections, audits and other control measures carried out in connection with the efficient use of funds allocated from the state budget.” However, to ensure transparency in the use of funds allocated from the state budget, neither the Chamber of accounts nor civil society organizations were included. Currently, the cost of construction, defense, and national security account for the largest share of the state budget. Despite the fact that more than 3 billion manats have been spent in the liberated territories so far, there is no information on where, how much, and by which companies it will be spent, and how these companies will be selected. There is no need to talk about an effective fight against corruption if there is no transparency, no access to information, and senior officials, including the head of state, do not publish declarations of income and property.”
Social and Economic Issues
A war veteran, a soldier of the Special Forces, 22-year-old Ismat Namig oglu Babakishiyev, who was awarded for the liberation of Shusha, Fizuli, Khojavend, Jabrayil, and “Courage medal”, committed suicide by hanging himself. Young war veteran’s tragic death stirred debates about the government’s failure in providing necessary support to the veterans and their families. Social media users stressed that as long as the indifference at the state level continues, this kind of tragedy will happen.
Chairperson of APFP Ali Karimli once again criticized the government for the lack of support for the people serving in the army. Karimli wrote: “Ukraine, a country whose economy has been destroyed and is in need of foreign aid, gives $ 510,000 to the family of a deceased serviceman, while Ilham Aliyev‘s government provides only $ 6,500 (11,000 manats) despite the fact that our country is rich with resources and the price of oil is at a record high. The disabled and wounded servicemen and our war veterans are almost completely ignored. The attention they receive from the government can not be even compared with the attention paid to the war veterans in Ukraine and even Russia. We have always protested against the amount of “blood money” given to the families of martyrs and soldiers. But now, after seeing the high attention paid by Ukraine and Russia to their dead and wounded servicemen, it should become a national demand to increase the allowances for the families of martyrs and veterans. The families of our martyrs, and veterans, who liberated most of our occupied lands at the cost of their lives and restored our national pride, should not live in need.”
Massacre in Bucha
While the world was shocked by scenes of horrendous war crimes in Bucha, Ukraine, Azerbaijani president Ilham Aliyev was harshly criticized at home for sending a congratulatory message to Putin on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the relations between Azerbaijan and Russia.
In a letter to Putin today, Aliyev wrote about the alliance declaration that was signed in February: “This important document has defined a qualitatively new, highest level of relations between our countries.”
The Chairperson of APFP criticized Ilham Aliyev for sending a message to Putin on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the relations between Azerbaijan and Russia. Karimli wrote: If a person who represents our country in the international arena chooses an alliance with Putin against the whole civilized world, humanity, ignores the crimes against humanity committed in Ukraine, openly sides with those who violate international law, how can we expect justice from the international community tomorrow? will we demand respect for international law? We must know that at this crucial moment, Ilham Aliyev‘s sympathy for Putin, international authoritarianism, rather than a free world governed by the rule of law, is a huge blow to the national interests of our country.”
Nigar Hezi also reacted to president Aliyev’s controversial congratulatory message to Putin. According to Hezi, by ignoring the Putin regime’s war crimes in Ukraine, Aliyev goes against the national interests of Azerbaijan. Hezi wrote: How will Ilham Aliyev demand justice for Khojaly now? The atrocities committed by the Russian Nazis in the Ukrainian city of Bucha are blood-freezing. At a time when the whole world is spitting on Putin‘s face and cutting off all relations, Ilham Aliyev sent a congratulatory letter to Putin on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of Azerbaijani-Russian relations. The country could not be humiliated more. To send a letter to Putin at such a time is to be complicit in all the crimes committed in Ukraine with him. It is to turn a blind eye to the genocide committed by the Russians in Khojaly. With this letter, Ilham Aliyev once again showed that he has the same essence as Putin. The world must pay special attention to dictators like Aliyev in the new historical period. They must prevent them from becoming Putin in the future.”
Member of APFP Fuad Gahramanli reacted to the segment on social media who were criticized for expressing pro-Putin views. Gahramanli wrote: “Let’s ignore the nonsense arguments of Putin‘s supporters. If the Azerbaijani government changes its position against Russia, these people will immediately change their minds. They are flattering the government through Putin, not Russia, and pursuing their own interests.”
Peace Talks between Armenia and Azerbaijan in Brussels
Azerbaijan and Armenia agreed to prepare a peace agreement after the second trilateral meeting in Brussels. A meeting between the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and Armenian prime minister Nicole Pashinyan was held in Brussels yesterday with the mediation of the president of the Council of the European Union. At the meeting, both sides agreed to prepare a peace agreement between Armenia and Azerbaijan through the foreign ministries of the two countries and to establish a joint commission to determine the borders by the end of April. According to the Statement of European Council President Charles Michel, Armenia and Azerbaijan will ensure the delimitation of the bilateral border and a stable and secure situation along the border. Moreover, the leaders also discussed the restoration of communications lines and infrastructure between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
April 8, 2022