Center for National and International Studies



“Azerbaijan urgently needs a state where the law reigns supreme, not one that condones evil, but one that punishes evil and demands honesty, education, and conscience from its teacher instead of performing a circus act...

(Lack of) Human Rights and Liberties

Director of Baku Research Institute Altay Goyushov said that he had attended a court hearing of young activist Amrah Tahmazov. Goyushov shared a post about his impressions: “We went to the Court of Appeal to attend the trial of Amrah. Despite the court being officially open to the public, they refused entry to everyone except me. The individuals at the door claimed that only the judge could grant access, but the judge denied any involvement in the building’s administration. It was evident that the judge knew about the slander against Amrah and saw no need to review the camera footage. Essentially, the judge acknowledged that the previous judge had endorsed and perpetuated evil. Their sustenance relied on such malevolence, as demanded by the corrupt system. Even the people themselves adapted to this situation. In essence, this is the state we have constructed—a state that desires someone like Afruza to manipulate ballots, a judge who benefits from wickedness, and opportunistic individuals whom you refer to as intellectuals and scoundrels, receiving accolades from those at the pinnacle of this pyramid. Consequently, the collapse and eradication of such a state would only bring benefit to the people residing here and humanity at large. A state that cultivates dishonesty, slander, and lies within society, thereby corrupting it, is a stain on humanity.” Goyushov also added that Azerbaijan urgently needs a state where the law reigns supreme, not one that condones evil, but one that punishes evil and demands honesty, education, and conscience from its teacher instead of performing a circus act. Said Goyushov. “To establish such a state, we must uproot the foundations of the current system. It ought to shame us just like our shameful place in history. Let us bear in mind that the policeman who apprehended a man on the street, the court that knowingly delivered an unjust verdict, and the teacher who falsified the election were all part of this corrupt network. Similarly, those who were rewarded with medals, recognition, and luxurious homes for bolstering its foundations are mere imposters. They are not outsiders; rather, they are individuals who have entered the parliament through deceitful means. The only path to change lies in future generations acknowledging that our ancestors were scoundrels. There is no alternative. Otherwise, we will continue to exist as a repulsive society that disregards conscience and adapts to a survivalist system. In other words, as we grow older, we will become scoundrels rather than decent individuals.”

At 7 o’clock in the morning, Sahib Mammadzadeh, who fearlessly addressed the issues in Dashkasan, was abruptly interrupted by four policemen. He shared this incident on his Facebook profile.

According to political commentator Arastun Orujlu, when a victim claimed that the number of arrested believers reached the thousands (with his prior knowledge of 800-900 individuals), he initially found it difficult to believe. However, seeking clarification, he reached out to his acquaintances within law enforcement agencies. Unfortunately, the response he received was far from reassuring. “It was revealed that over the past 3-4 months, more than 3,000 religious individuals had been arrested, primarily on charges related to illegal drug trafficking. However, this merely scratches the surface of the whole ordeal. A “national security operation” spanning across all regions of the country resulted in the seizure of their properties, money, possessions, and even their homes. Yet, there were also hundreds of religious individuals (the exact number remains unknown) who managed to escape false accusations of drug-related offenses. When considering the immediate relatives and family members of religious individuals who have faced persecution and repression, the numbers reach at least 30,000 to 40,000 people. The objective is clear: to eradicate any organized or potential factions within the country and thereby prevent the socio-economic crisis from escalating into socio-political turmoil. Only time will reveal the effectiveness of this approach, but one aspect is already evident: those who incited religious unrest in the country will swiftly vanish, much like creatures fleeing a sinking ship. Just like it happened in Iran.”

Governance and Corruption

The Milli Majlis is making preparations to pass an amendment to the Law “On the Central Bank of the Republic of Azerbaijan.” Economist Samir Aliyev has provided commentary on the anticipated amendment. It is worth noting that although the draft has been discussed within parliamentary committees, its contents have been withheld from the public. “This practice of discussing laws behind closed doors is a regrettable tradition in Azerbaijan’s legislative body. Unfortunately, public participation in the parliament has reached its lowest point. The media and experts have expressed a diverse range of opinions on the draft, which is why I will not delve extensively into the topic. Instead, I will highlight a few key points that have captured my attention. In essence, the project aims to enhance the authority and flexibility of the powerful Central Bank and tighten its control over the banking sector. The first notable aspect is that the Central Bank will have the authority to establish a legal entity within the country. At first glance, this might appear to be a technical change. However, it will grant the Central Bank greater influence over the education sector. It is highly likely that the Ministry of Finance will establish an institute or center for professional development aimed at enhancing the qualifications of individuals working in financial markets. Alternatively, they may participate as a founder in an existing institute or university.”

According to the local media, President Ilham Aliyev is planning to introduce a law concerning children’s rights. He has directed state institutions to prepare the “Law on Children’s Rights” in the years 2023-2024. In response to this anticipated change, opposition leader Ali Karimli remarked that enacting a law would have no impact in a country where children lack fundamental state support. Furthermore, he questioned what rights children can possess in a nation where parents, grandparents, and all adults are devoid of rights themselves. “From the moment a child opens their eyes, they witness schools, which should be temples of education, transforming into arenas of electoral fraud. They observe adults being coerced into flattery and deceit through force and threats. How can a child, raised in an environment filled with fear of the police, prosecutor’s office, court, superiors, and bosses, expect to have rights when they witness those demanding their rights being detained? In other words, in a country where a single individual or family holds sway, discussions and laws pertaining to the rights of both children and adults are designed to deceive. As for adults, we supposedly possess all the rights according to the Constitution. However, have any of us truly experienced and been able to exercise those constitutional rights in reality? Can constitutional rights shield citizens from imprisonment, torture, lawlessness, and poverty? This is why the adults and children of this country have grown weary of legal discourse confined to paper. Instead of granting children false rights on paper, provide them with tangible child allowances so they can at least grow up with a full stomach, a clear mind, and without dependency on others. This is their right.”

The residents of Buzovna have sent a video appeal to the president, expressing their concerns in Russian, requesting his assistance in safeguarding the coastlines and beaches from the unlawful actions of certain officials. When commenting on their appeal, chairperson of Azerbaijan Democracy and Welfare Party (ADWP) Gubad Ibadoghlu said that while the official language of the country is Azerbaijani, it is not understandable why they chose to address the president in Russian. “Although Azerbaijani is the state language, the fact that citizens submitted their application in Russian may suggest that the country’s leader’s mother tongue is Russian and the use of the Azerbaijani language is not given consideration. Nevertheless, it is important to note that one of the official attributes of Azerbaijan as a state is the Azerbaijani language, and citizens are obligated to utilize this language in official correspondence and applications while respecting the state language. Article 21 of the Constitution establishes Azerbaijani as the state language of the Republic of Azerbaijan.”

Arastun  Orujlu said that perpetrators responsible for the heinous crimes in Tartar will inevitably face justice, whether it be sooner or later. “The Tartar crimes will undoubtedly be exposed and brought to light. The perpetrators will receive their deserved punishment, whether through legal proceedings in courtrooms or through public demonstrations on the streets and squares. For some, their ill-gotten gains, acquired through criminal activities, bloodshed, theft, and murder, may be at stake. The mysterious ways the world works remain unpredictable. The victims and advocates of justice in Tartar have chosen the path of legal recourse within the courtrooms. It is up to the other party to decide their own course of action.”

Ali Karimli commented on the war in Ukrain saying that ukrainians fight not only for themselves but for the future of democracy. “The conflict between Russia and Ukraine extends beyond a mere clash between two nations. It represents a broader battle between Western and Russian military capabilities, as well as different approaches to military training and management. This war also symbolizes a struggle between democratic governance and authoritarian rule, between genuine patriotism and imperial ambitions. It is anticipated that the modern weapon systems of the West, coupled with the Ukrainian people’s deep love for their homeland and their commitment to defending it, will ultimately prevail.”

Activist Rashad Aliyev warned about the disturbing demographic situation, saying that many talented youth and experts leave the country en masse. “Hundreds of my relatives, friends, colleagues, and acquaintances have left the country in the last few years. We are witnessing an astonishing outflow of educated, highly skilled, experienced, and prosperous individuals. There is a distressing wave of migration towards Europe, the United States, Canada, and even Turkey. The number of those desiring to flee but unable to do so is even higher. Some lack the means to leave at the moment, while others have reluctantly integrated themselves into this unjust system, saving up to depart in the future—particularly those who advocate for “Motherland-nation” or “Karabakh-Zangazur” or those passionately shouting “Khankendi.” Many of them have already sent their children abroad or made necessary preparations for their departure. Why do these people abandon their homeland? While better economic opportunities do attract some, most individuals I know aren’t solely driven by financial gain. Even those with comfortable lifestyles and exceptional prospects in Baku choose to leave. The primary reason for their departure is the yearning for freedom, which they feel is stifled here. Our country is plagued by a tragic level of injustice, lawlessness, oppression, and ignorance. They no longer envision a future in this nation, neither for themselves nor, especially, for their children. When skilled, experienced, and, most importantly, free individuals leave the country (something the government also desires), it diminishes the prospects for a positive future. A significant portion of those who should be building the country’s future prefers to forge their own elsewhere. This will undoubtedly present immense challenges.”

June 13, 2023