Center for National and International Studies
“Russia wants to establish a railway connection with Turkey through the Zangazur corridor to avoid Western sanctions and strengthen its presence in the region by taking this corridor under its military control…”
(Lack of) Human Rights and Liberties
According to the decision of the General Prosecutor’s Office, 21 people accused in the notorious Tartar case were acquitted. Nineteen convicts were released, and two people were given a posthumous pardon after being found innocent. In May 2017, 19 people were arrested in connection with the Tartar case and sentenced to 7 to 20 years in prison on treason and other serious charges. According to the General Prosecutor’s Office, all 19 people were released and were acquitted on charges of treason. Ten of the 19 servicemen released were fully acquitted, and the criminal case against the rest was terminated on non-exculpatory grounds against military service.
Azadliq Newspaper reports that war veteran Dunyamaliyev Huseynalı Sevdimali oglu was dismissed from the military service on the false ground of non-compliance. Dunyamaliyev served in a separate intelligence battalion of the corps during the Second Karabakh War. He took part in the battles in Murovdag, Sugovushan, Talish village, and Tapgaragoyunlu directions, where he was injured. Although Dunyamaliyev, father of three, was diagnosed with severe mental problems caused by the trauma, he was denied receiving an allowance and was dismissed from military service on the grounds of non-compliance. According to the relatives of the veteran, who is not able to support his family has attempted suicide.
Activist Aziz Mamiyev reports that political prisoner Samir Ashurov who has been in prison since April, still waits for the result of the preliminary investigation. Mamiyev’s Facebook post: The preliminary investigation period is underway. The slandering procedure has been going on for months. Since the trial started, two judges died. One died in the summer, and the other died today. Political prisoners spend their years isolated from society. Samir’s two children and his family are also persecuted. Samir is not the only one. There are a large number of political prisoners in Azerbaijani prisons. All of them were arrested on false charges because of their political views. I demand freedom for all political prisoners!”
Azimammadov Nahid Mahir oglu, a soldier of the military unit of the Ministry of Defense in Kalbajar, killed himself by firing his service gun. The information was officially confirmed. In recent days, the number of similar incidents in the Azerbaijani Army has increased significantly.
Governance and Corruption
Minister of Foreign Affairs Jeyhun Bayramov met with his counterpart Lavrov in Moscow. Bayramov stated at the press conference that the implementation of the tripartite statement signed on November 9 is the only formula for achieving peace between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
Meanwhile, Lavrov added that they agreed to hold meetings on regional issues. Moreover, the meeting between the ministers also included an agreement on coordinated foreign policy. Member of APFP Fuad Gahramanli called the said that Bayramov’s Moscow visit is a huge strategic mistake and serves to keep the West out of the peace talks. Gahramanli: “One of the issues that cause concern about this visit is that the document called the consultation plan for 2023-2024 was adopted between the Russian MFA and the Azerbaijani MFA. This means that a legal mechanism has been given to Russia to intervene and make corrections to the foreign policy of Azerbaijan. At the same time, as a result of the meeting, we did not see the expression of dissatisfaction with the reckless actions of the Russian “peacekeepers” against the sovereignty of Azerbaijan and the concern about the protection of the separatists in Karabakh. This format is actually a joint plan of Russia and Iran to keep the West out of the South Caucasus. For this reason and citing Russia’s occupation of its territories, Georgia refused to participate in the first meeting held in this format last year. Now it is known that Azerbaijan also agreed to the implementation of the anti-Western project. One of the noteworthy points is that Lavrov always brings up the idea of opening regional communications, referring to the November 9 statement. This shows that the order for the Zangezur corridor, which the Azerbaijani authorities often demand, actually comes from Moscow. Russia wants to establish a railway connection with Turkey through this corridor to avoid Western sanctions and strengthen its presence in the region by taking this corridor under its military control. Even if there is no agreement on this issue, Moscow’s interests are still considered satisfied. Armenia’s refusal to agree to the Zangezur Corridor is useful to Moscow as a reason for preventing a peace agreement between the two countries. Therefore, the more the Azerbaijani side mentions the Zangezur Corridor, the more it suits Moscow’s wishes.”
In recent days, the tensions between the Azerbaijani government and the Russian peacekeeping contingent in Karabakh have increased. Concerned about Armenians’ illegal use of copper-molybdenum deposits in the territory of Khojaly, Azerbaijan said that it would launch an investigation. ITV correspondent had an argument with the Russian soldiers while filming in the territory of Karabakh, which is currently under the control of the Russian army. In the video shared on social media, the journalists were stopped by the Russian soldiers. Commenting on the subject, chairperson of APFP Ali Karimli said that he applauded the bravery of the journalists and demanded an explanation for the activities of the Russian contingent. Karimli wrote: “This video reveals how big a mistake Ilham Aliyev made by bringing the Russian army to Karabakh. And now the question is, with what logic did Ilham Aliyev repeatedly thank the Russian “peacekeepers” who created an occupation zone right in the middle of our country and did not even let our journalists into the lands of Karabakh? Ilham Aliyev should explain to our people, by what logic and with what right did he instruct the Minister of Foreign Affairs to coordinate the foreign policy of our country with Russia? Russia, which is sabotaging the peace agreement that provides for Azerbaijan’s sovereignty over Karabakh, does not allow peace in the region, so that its army remains permanently in Azerbaijan. Ilham Aliyev should explain to the people that by what logic did he declare the occupying state, which took Karabakh from us and kept it under de facto occupation, and protected the Armenian armed forces there, as an “ally” of our country?”
The threshold of criterion for the minimum living wage for 2023 has been determined in the amount of 246 manats per month. However, the minimum amount of pensions remains at 240 manats, the allowance for old age at 180 manats, and the allowance for the veteran at 80 manats. Speaking on the discrepancies, the chairperson of ADWP Gubad Ibadoghlu said that it is “unfair and does not make any sense from the economic point of view”. Ibadoghlu: “According to the new threshold, there cannot be a payment lower than 246 manats because it is impossible to cover the costs of a month with an amount lower than that. Do you think a size 40 foot can fit in a size 38, 37, or 32 shoes? This is what this government shamelessly makes the elderly people and war participants who receive old-age benefits and pensions around the minimum pension do. I believe that in order to eliminate this social injustice and economic disparity, the allowance of war participants should be increased to 160 manats, the age allowance to 250 manats, and the minimum pension to 300 manats.”
President Ilham Aliyev signed a law amendment to the Code of Administrative Offenses, which introduces administrative charges for the persons who are involved in the illegal transfer of up to 50 thousand manats from Azerbaijan to foreign countries or from foreign countries to Azerbaijan. According to the new changes made to the Criminal Code, illegal money transfers of over 50,000 manats can be punished with imprisonment. The government explains the new decree as part of its goal to fight against dirty money and prevent corruption. According to the decree, the preliminary investigation of those criminal cases will be conducted by the Ministry of Economy and the State Security Service.
Chairperson of ADWP Gubad Ibadoghlu expressed his criticism of the degree, saying that it will only strengthen authoritarianism. Ibadoghlu’s Facebook post: “In fact, if this law is applied correctly, the ruling family, ministers, and their associates should be arrested first. This decree, based on the current authoritarianism in Azerbaijan, is aimed at restricting the free circulation of money, establishing a dictatorship of capital, and ensuring a centralized control over financial means. At the same time, the decree will also lead to the selective prosecution of unfavorable persons and will create additional problems for those who want to earn money legally, study abroad and finance other activities. As a result of this decree, the flow of foreign investment and the activities of foreign investors will be further limited. In other words, the interests of power and capital control will take precedence over the interests of the state. Finally, this decree can also be considered as preparation for the devaluation of the manat.”
Member of REAL Party Natig Jafarli said that “such prohibitions and restrictions will not have any effect in the fight against dirty money circulation and corruption”. Jafarli: “They only will lead to two actual results: First, the document doesn’t clarify what illegal money transfers means, and there is no clear explanation and classification of it. So, this gives additional opportunities to the supervisory bodies to create more headache for ordinary citizens and businessmen. In other words, it will lead to corruption. Secondly, as a result, the “pocket-to-pocket” and “hand-to-hand” money flows will increase. It is no secret that a certain system and network have been established in the country through which it is possible to transfer any amount of funds from Azerbaijan to any country in the world for a certain percentage. The new law changes will significantly increase the volume of the black market and black money transfers. Our government has the Soviet way of thinking and behaves in inertia caused by that mentality: during the USSR, even the strictest laws and punishments could not prevent either “trafficking” (in fact, the traffickers were real businessmen) or the black currency market, because it is impossible to prevent ideas and money by administrative means. Smart countries and systems try to manage what they cannot prohibit -and our system is not capable of it.”
December 9, 2022