Center for National and International Studies
“Putin wants to show that he is not only involved in Ukraine but also the military situation in Karabakh is under his control.”
(Lack of) Human Rights and Liberties
On International Women’s day, the Azerbaijani Feminist activists organized a rally in Fountain Square in the center of Baku. Participants of the “March 8 – we can not be silenced” rally said that complaints of violence against women in Azerbaijan are not properly investigated, and the police advise the complainants to reconcile with their husbands and return home, which unfortunately most of the cases end with the death of women. Activists successfully managed to march through downtown Baku chanting “Investigate, not Reconcile”, “Violence has no right!”, “Women unite, no silence, but rebellion!”.
Well-known activist Bakhtiyar Hajiyev who posted a poster on the windows of his car demanding his rights in a peaceful manner was violently arrested. The windows of his car were broken, and the police forcibly detained him. While in the detention center, Hajiyev was threatened by the police officers with physical abuse. Hajiyev has long been the target of a series of provocations for his open criticism of the ministry of internal affairs. Active social media users and activists strongly condemn the forceful detention of Hajiyev by the police and the ongoing provocations against him.
Azadliq newspaper reports that the reporter of the newspaper, Tazakhan Miralamli, was detained by police while filming the problems of a veteran family in the Absheron region. According to his colleagues, the journalist was taken to the police station, and no further information about him was provided.
The War in Ukraine. Russia’s Aggression Continues as it Commits War Crimes.
As the war continues in Ukraine, in Azerbaijan, many speculations and theories about the possible connection between the current war and recent cross-border shootings in the Karabakh region. Member of APFP Fuad Gahramanli argued that “Karabakh can be used as a tool by Russia to divert international attention from Ukraine.” According to Gahramanli, the border tensions can also be considered a response to Azerbaijan’s humanitarian aid to Ukraine. Gahramanli also added: Against the background of the war in Ukraine, we see a ceasefire violation in Karabakh, and prior to that, the Russian Defense Ministry spread the news that the so-called regime in Karabakh was sending aid to the Russian army. One of the possibilities is that Putin wants to show that he is not only involved in Ukraine but also the military situation in Karabakh is under his control. The launch of new military operations in Karabakh against the backdrop of the defeat in Ukraine will create divisions in the West, as it did during the 44-day war. At the same time, Russia’s support for Armenia, a serious ally of a European country such as France, could pave the way for Putin to build a bridge with the West. And finally, In exchange for a military defeat in Ukraine, Putin may use the ceasefire violation in Karabakh to occupy Azerbaijani territory.”
Meanwhile, Meydan TV reports that the Azerbaijani government has appealed to the UN, the OSCE, the Council of Europe, and NATO that the Russian peacekeepers use the Lachin corridor for military purposes which is against the bilateral agreement between Russia and Azerbaijan.
Exiled journalist Ganimat Zahid argued that the resettlement of refugees from Luhansk and Donetsk in Nagorno-Karabakh might be one of the reasons for the Azerbaijani government to appeal to the international organizations. Zahid added that in Aghdara, a complex called “Pioneer Camp” accommodates about 100 families from those cities, and this decision was not made by the Russian military contingent Karabakh, but Moscow.
Reactions to Sanctions against Russia
Pointing out the further consequences of the sanctions against Russia, the chairman of APFP Ali Karimli urged the government to sign the Association Agreement with the EU. Karimli wrote: It is time to sign the Association Agreement with the European Union and accelerate the process of European integration. Russia’s attempt to occupy Ukraine has accelerated political processes in the post-Soviet space. Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova have already applied for membership in the European Union. It is clear that these former Soviet republics will not be immediately admitted to the European Union. However, they will be one step closer to European integration. The policy of Ilham Aliyev‘s government to obstruct our country’s integration into the European Union under the pretext of balanced affairs with Russia must finally end. Enough is enough!”
Economist Sabit Baghirov shared a similar opinion arguing that the sanctions against Russia will have an impact on the economy of the neighboring countries. Baghirov wrote: Russia is isolated from the world economy. As a result, it will try to weaken the isolation of a number of countries (including Azerbaijan, Turkey, Georgia, Armenia, Central Asia) in trade, finance, access to new technologies, and other areas. This could pose a risk of sanctions to these countries. Our government must already analyze these scenarios and consider preventive measures.”
Calling the government to change its domestic politics immediately, journalist Seymur Hezi suggested that the current situation in Russia should be a lesson to all dictatorships. Hezi wrote: “Shouldn’t the US renunciation of Russian oil be a lesson to all oil-dependent dictatorships? It is important to clearly understand where Putin‘s path has taken his country and its people. There are still chances to return the wealth that belongs to the people peacefully. Did it become clear which army did Ilham Aliyev invited to Karabakh? It would be even worse if he did it on purpose.”
March 11, 2022