Center for National and International Studies
“…10 m people became hostages of 2.2% of insolent elite…”
Post-war situation. The analyst in exile Ramiz Yunus argues that Ukraine should thoroughly study the lessons of Azerbaijan experience in conflict. “In order to be ready to really resist Russian aggression in Donbass, Ukraine needs to strengthen its military-political cooperation with NATO countries that are not members of the European Union and over which Russia does not have a strong influence. These are the USA, Great Britain and Turkey. It is necessary to use the military-technical capabilities of Israel. As for the European Union, led by Germany and France, you just need to imitate these cat-and-mouse games with them within the framework of the Minsk agreements, in no case allowing their implementation into Ukrainian legislation. When the time comes and the political situation both in the world and in the region allows it, to go forward and restore the territorial integrity of the country.” The idea that Minsk group talks and negotiations should be used as an imitation just to use it to prepare to enforce the international law and the country’s sovereignty is becoming more popular among community. The other political analyst in exile Elkhan Mehdiyev has wriiten an article in Turan.az agency, where he argues that reports of the Minks group were corrupt and fake, not reflecting the situation in the ground, because the objective was to make Azerbaijan to submit to Armenia’s claims. The activists consider that for official Azerbaijan Russia is closer than Turkey, and that the government sacrifices relations with Turkey for Russia. Some, such as AG party goes even further assuming that Russia and the West are similar empires and will never let Azerbaijan turn into a strong and independent state. The FB community also finds it contradictory that the supply for the “ peacekeepers” is realized directly on Azerbaijan territory, while the return of the captured Jamil Babayev was brought by plane from Yerevan, instead of being handed over by the commander of peacekeepers Rustam Muradov in Agdam or other region of the country. Tofig Yagublu argues that without decision of the national parliament the presence of the Russian peacekeepers is an illegal and absurd deployment of the military forces of the foreign country. The ex-premier Panah Huseyn quotes the speech of the late president Elchibey of 27 February 1993 about Russian military. The late president mentioned how difficult it is to get rid of Russia’s military presence, although Azerbaijan appeared to be the first among 15 Soviet republics to achieve it. He reported that Russia was insisting on increasing number of its troops in Ganja intending to do it under the disguise of peacekeepers and wants to strengthen at any expense the presence of her army here… But this army is an occupying one.” Azadlyq Newspaper posts the piece where the author follows gradual disappearance of the flag of Turkey from the newly established park after the 44 day war. The opposition activist Azer Gasimli reminded the FB community that Ilham Aliyev brought Russian troops in without consulting with the society or informing the people. The journalist, expert and civil society leader Zohrab Ismayil has told the story of his communication with the Armenian in the café in Georgia, who told him of episodes of them being threatened in Azerbaijan during the conflict. Zohrab Ismayil notes, that his companion was not aware of the similar cases, if not worse, against Azerbaijanis in Armenia and concludes that this proves that situation is indeed difficult. Ordukhan Babirov, an activist in exile, summarized the relations between the Karabagh conflict and power struggle in Azerbaijan. He argues, that similar to Heydar Aliyev, who “ sold Karabagh to Russians in order to come to power”, Ilham Aliyev also gave Karabagh to Russia to stay in power and thus made this bargaining official.
Reference to history. Prof. Jamil Hasanli continues to present the materials discovered in the Russian State Archives. This time these are letters by the congressmen William Ford and Barbara Boxer, sent to Gorbachov on the 7th and 8th of December 1988, where they demand unification of the Nagorno Karabagh, which was “annexed” by Azerbaijan in 1923, with Armenia, and provision for the safety and security of Armenians there, although these were Azerbaijanis, who were the subjects of ethnic cleansing at that time. Basing their demands on the 4 principles by the clearly pro-Armenian Russian Sakharov, they demand Gorbachov to fulfil these principles and even arm the Armenians of Nagorno Karabagh with the purpose of “self-defence”. He comments that it is obvious that the authors were not aware of the situation on the ground and their letters were simply the result of the campaign prepared by the Armenian Diaspora in the US. He concluded that the communication of the Minsk co-chairmen with the leaders of separatist regime , proved that history is repeated.
Social issues. E-media continues to cover the dire situation of the war handicapped and families of the martyrs. It covers the case of war hero, who lost a leg in the war, but got only 3d category of the handicap, and lives in the extremely poor condition. The most recent death of the army draftee Malikov Mammadaga in Dashkesan was declared to be a suicide, but the parents consider it a murder, based on the nature of wounds on his body. Meydan TV reports another case of the war hero Layagat Aliyev, who fought at the Karabagh war the 2nd despite 5 dependents. Upon return as a war handicapped he cannot work, in addition his unemployment benefits were cut before the war. He has been appealing for help. The activists spread the appeal of the war veteran Jafar Salimli, who tells that in the situation when the president does not fulfil his duties, “dear Azerbaijani people, dear poor, we need to take care of our lives and find the way out ourselves”. Reacting to the news of yet another fire at the market, Tural Abbasli of AG party comments that none of the fires at the big markets were natural so far. To support his statement, he argues that none of the trade objects belonging to the rich have ever been burned. “ 10 m. population are hostages of the insolent 2.2% of elite, he concludes. The Fb users share video with the protest of population of Bilasuvar region caused by the acute water supply crisis.
News from CIS and other states. People shared the story of the head of the Ministry of Emergencies of Russia, who died in Arctic saving the person. One of the activists finds it ironic, that the Minister of Emergencies of the country, which keeps in fear the rest of the world, cannot be saved at the exercises. He argues that this is a proof of weakness of Russia. They also share the news about statement by Saakashvili on returning to Georgia and “he is not afraid of being arrested, as people of Georgia will liberate him and themselves”. The FB community decries the news about arrest of two leaders of the Belarus movement. The opposition leader Gultakin Hajibeyli calls the sentence of 11 and 10 years in prison to Maria Kolesnikova and Maxim Znak by Lukashenka stupid, as his own political life will hardly extend beyond 10 months. The Fb users with particular interest follow the coup-d’etats in Guinea and analyse the reasons, characteristics of the autocratic rule and its end. Natig Jafarli of REAL argues that because Russia and China started to promote their interests more aggressively the Guinean autocrat using its rich natural resources tried to get closer to these two powers, and as a result faced the coup. The experts attract attention to the domestic political processes in Turkey, which they consider the preparations for the next elections, which in turn would follow a difficult period of pandemic and resulting economic and other problems. The activists share informal news about serious repressions against Azerbaijani minority living in Iran, they report that the authorities are using Kurdish population for the clashes which became violent.
Relations with Russia. The activists continue to compare active reaction of official Baku and controlled public figures to Jirinovski’s calling Ilham Aliyev a dictator – on the one hand, and to the recent quite reaction to naming the Karabagh region – a republic – on the other. They wonder why the protest note was possible in case of Jirinovsly, while not possible in case of the Minister of Defence Shoygu. Ali Karimli of PFP reports that while Azerbaijan authorities were boasting the fact of Russian cancellation of the results of the tender announced on the Ministry of Defence website, in fact, the Ministry mentioned two times the Nagorno Karabagh Republic in this process, which proves it was cancelled not because of Azerbaijan’s reaction, but due to some domestic reasons. He also mentioned that Russia created another negative precedent by meeting the leader of Karabagh separatists Arayik Arutyunian. It was not enough for Russia to deploy its troops in Karabagh, Russia will do everything to drag the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan. They have moved to a new stage in this process- legitimization of the Nagorno Karabagh separatism and attraction of their leader to the international talks. The academic Altay Geyushov continues to follow Putin’s distortion of Russian history with the purpose of political manipulation. This time he shows how Putin in order to strengthen loyalty of his cronies- originally from Tuva Minister of Defence Shoygu- started to publicize and commemorate historic personality Subutay, although he left bloody traces in his treatment of Russian people.
Governance, economy, corruption. The FB community keeps in the center of attention the elite in-group struggle. Azad Soz platform reports that the position of the president of SOCAR Rovnag Abdullayev, who seemed to be getting out of favour of the president, improved. He was “saved” as the analyst in exile argued by the Beylar Eyubov, the chief of security of the president Aliyev. ( both Eyubov and Abdullayev are considered to be part of so called Kurdish clan in the government). The Azad Soz reports death in prison of the arrested head of executive power of the Akstafa region Nizameddin Guliyev. The official reason of the death is COVID_19. Ganimat Zahid considers it a symptom of creation of a new system of corruption and of its centralization, “which requires sacrifices”. The activist Elshan Hasanov characterizes the system of governance in the country as the criminal network, reminding his followers that most significant bureaucrats during 20 years were either arrested or fired for the illegal activities in office and there were criminal cases opened against them. At the same time, only for disclosing the true facts or criticism, hundreds of journalists, bloggers, activists were arrested or killed, and thousands- emigrated. He argues, that nothing has changed and this system is preserved today. People share the news that yet another person close to Pashayevs became a minister. Farid Gayibov, who previously was a secretary of the Federation of Artistic Gymnastics, has been appointed the Minister of Youth and Sports. The citizens of Yardimli region ( in the South of Azerbaijan) have been writing letters of protest in connection with a poor fight with drug smuggling in the region, complaining of corruption among the law enforcement representatives. Seymur Hezi observes that bureaucrats who were rewarded by medals and state orders are connected to the foreign countries, and by awarding them president Aliyev sends “positive” messages to those countries. Bakhtiyar Hajiyev, Harvard alumni, and former political prisoner, writes that officials report 80 b dollars spent on state programs of regional development, in average 1 b. dollar per region. He comments that he cannot tell of other regions, but in Ujar this amount was clearly misappropriated – as there is no trace of 1 b worth investment in this region. The blogger and investigative journalist Mehman Huseynov posts the results/video of the investigation of the illegal riches of “an ordinary lawyer” Fariz Mammadov, the son of the Minister of Justice Fikret Mammadov. Huseynov argues, that as each oligarch has a monopoly over certain spheres of economy, Fariz Mammadov controls the “legal defenders’ monopoly”. Mehman Huseynov praises those legal defenders who manage to stay independent under such difficult conditions. He also refers to the latest scandal with the intimate video of the Ramiz Geyushov (the head of Binagadi regional branch of the ruling party YAP) and considers that by circulating sex videos – now already of bureaucrats -the authorities try to distract attention of the population from the real and pressing issues of the corruption and poor governance.
Human rights and liberties. The activists post information about “the consistency” with which the authorities are continuing “fake, unjust and absurd” legal proceedings against the PFP member Niyameddin Ahmadov. The next court hearing was appointed on the 8th September, but was postponed this time due to the sickness of the prosecutor. “ Such a resistance should have been shown to Putin after the 9th November by our authorities”, comments Tofig Yagublu of Musavat. The FB community also ridicules the proposal by some MPs of the Law on Patriotism. Ali Karimli of PFP suggests that if realized the law would promote falsification and rewriting the history of the country and would serve another powerful tool to limit major liberal freedoms in the country. His deputy Seymur Hezi argues that proposal of the Law on Patriotism means creation of the legal framework for fascism. “The law which would be ridiculed in normal states, may become a reason of tragedy in Azerbaijan”. The Channel 13 journalist Avaz Hafizli chained himself to the gates of the Prosecutor General’s office in protest, as his life was threatened after popular blogger Sevinj Huseynova’s video call for violence against LGBT people. The feminist leader Rabiyya Mammadova presents on her FB page the fake document of the organization “National Martyrs Movement”, which unites all the “swindlers and charlatans of the country” by her expression. She reminds her followers that members of this fake organization were sent to attack the participants of the 8th march rally , insult and threaten them. The activists share a worrying information about serious health problems of the imprisoned journalist Elchin Hasanzade.
Democracy and power-society relations. The pro-government forces target on their FB pages Ali Aliyev, who has been particularly critical lately, a frequent speaker on Osmangizi TV. They blame him in unjustified claims and critique, aggressive attitude and open hostility to the people and its leaders, and ignoring their great victories in the war on liberation of the occupied territories. The journalist in exile Afghan Mukhtarli anticipates failure of the authorities to create a competitive Fact Checking site despite millions spent on its creation. He argues, that the government does not understand that without freedom of media and expression, and just by spending millions and copying the name of the brand it is not possible to achieve the goal.
September 10, 2021