Center for National and International Studies


Aliyev‘s repression machine is working at full capacity against the background of military victories achieved under the patronage of Russia, and wars raging in Ukraine and the Middle East…”

(Lack of) Human Rights and Freedoms

Huseyn Malik, a board member of the Azerbaijan Popular Front Party (APFP), was detained on charges of resisting the police. This marks another instance of Hussain Bey’s frequent arrests in recent months. The chairman of APFP, Ali Karimli, expressed his concern, stating that imprisoning a former Karabakh veteran over 60 years old due to his writings and political stance is undoubtedly unlawful and a violation of human rights.

A global webinar is scheduled to advocate for the release of Gubad Ibadoglu, an invited professor from the London School of Economics. This online event, organized by the New University in Exile Consortium in New York City, USA, is expected to draw representatives from renowned academic circles and human rights organizations worldwide. Over a thousand scholars and human rights activists from various countries have already registered to participate in this event.

The webinar is set to take place from 12:00 PM to 1:30 PM EST on October 12. During this online gathering, our esteemed speakers will not only shed light on the imprisonment of academics across the globe but will also spotlight the specific case of Dr. Gubad Ibadoghlu, an Azerbaijani economist and an original member of the New University in Exile Consortium, established in 2018 at The New School. Dr. Ibadoghlu has been unjustly detained in Azerbaijan since July 23, 2023. This event will mark the culmination of a month-long advocacy campaign aimed at securing Dr. Ibadoghlu’s release and will coincide with the 75th anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The Situation in Karabakh and Hama’s attack on Israel

The Russian Ministry of Defense has announced that Russian “peacekeepers” currently deployed in Karabakh are establishing 25 guard posts to safeguard ammunition, weapons, military equipment, and special facilities provided by armed groups in the region. This statement implies a potential prolongation of the Russian military presence in Karabakh.

Commenting on the news, chairperson of the APFP Ali Karimli said that it is only an execuse to keep the Russian army in the region. Karimli’s Facebook post: “At first glance, the excuse found by Ilham Aliyev for the Russian “peacekeepers” to stay in Karabakh seems more serious than the excuse found by Russia. The excuse found by the Russian Ministry of Defense for staying in Karabakh is extremely unserious. They say that they will set up 21 guard posts and keep thousands of their soldiers in Karabakh to protect the weapons handed over by Armenian militants. Ilham Aliyev also sees that keeping the Russian army in Karabakh under this pretext will cause a serious protest by the people, it is absolutely impossible for the people to accept this silly version, so he has come up with a version that allows to deceive a certain number of Azerbaijanis. He said: “According to the information we have, there are still some armed groups hiding in our territory.” However, as I said above, this excuse of Ilham Aliyev differs only at first glance from the absurd excuse invented by the Russians to keep their army in Karabakh.”

Journalist Seymur Hezi argued that by admitting that there are still armed militants in Karabakh Aliyev doesn’t exclude the possibility of another conflict in the region. Hezi’s post: “Ilham Aliyev says that there are terrorists hiding in Karabakh. What does it mean? Announcement of new operations? Or a reason for Russian peacekeepers to stay longer here? In all cases, it is a policy that does not reckon with the people and deceives the society. The main message is that the Armenian issue is not over yet, so Russia should be here as well.”

Exiled journalist Afgan Mukhtarli commented on the possible extension of the stay of Russian army in the Karabakh region saying that Azerbaijan doesn’t have full control over its own territories. Mukhtarli’s Facebook post: “Karabakh was handed over to Russia. Even though the Armenians left Karabakh, their weapons are kept. Azerbaijan does not control those weapons and military stockpiles are not liquidated. The Azerbaijani side has no information about the number and type of weapons. The weapons there were handed over to the Russians outside of public control. The weapons that should be removed from Karabakh are under the control of the Russians. Russian peacekeepers remain in Karabakh with an unknown status. Karabakh was not liberated despite the claims made by the Aliyev’s propaganda machine. As we said on the first day, the winner of the recent war was the Russians. Our youth became victims of Putin and Ilham‘s greed for power.” Mukhtarli also touched upon the current escalation of repressions in the country saying that Aliyev regime uses the outcome of the war to supress its citizens even more. “Aliyev‘s repression machine is working at full capacity against the background of military victories achieved under the patronage of Russia, and wars raging in Ukraine and the Middle East. Despite the demands of the international community, Gubad Ibadoglu and other political prisoners are not released. On the contrary, the intensity of political arrests is increasing. Aliyev demands loyalty from his political opponents. Critics are silenced through blackmail and intimidation. The activity of political parties has been reduced to zero. The country is on the edge of disaster. People should not be silent. It is indeed a very sensitive moment. One should not be fooled by the exodus of Armenians from Karabakh, AliyevErdogan propaganda, dizzying nationalist promises. You need to hear the footsteps of the disaster. Putin and Russia are on a journey to hell, and they have taken us along.”

Two vessels from the Caspian Flotilla of the Russian Federation’s Navy have arrived in Baku for an unofficial and friendly visit. The crews of these ships were greeted by delegates from the Azerbaijani Naval Forces. As part of this visit, the ship’s crews have plans to tour the city of Baku, exploring its cultural and historical landmarks, and also engage in a friendly sports competition.

The appeal filed by Ruben Vardanyan, the former head of government in the now-defunct Nagorno-Karabakh republic, has been denied by the court. Vardanyan, who was recently arrested, expressed his dissatisfaction with the decision to detain him. His attorney, Afat Gaziyeva, submitted the appeal with a request to revoke the pretrial detention imposed on her client. The case was heard at the Baku Court of Appeal, presided over by Judge Habil Mammadov, who upheld the original court’s decision, deeming it justified.

Reportedly, four individuals of Azerbaijani (Jewish) descent lost their lives in Israel due to Hamas attacks. This information was conveyed by Aykhan Hajizade, the head of the press service at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), in an interview with Meydan TV. Hajizade clarified that among them, only one held Azerbaijani citizenship, while the remaining individuals were originally from Azerbaijan. Elkin Nazarov, who was interred in Kiryat Yam, possessed dual citizenship. Shamil Abbasov, Emil Akhundov, and Roman Gandel were citizens of Israel. Hajizade further mentioned that the deceased individuals without Azerbaijani citizenship would be laid to rest in Israel.

The ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas is generating discussions in Azerbaijan. Many Azerbaijani citizens support Israel due to Israel’s past military assistance to Azerbaijan. Furthermore, on social media, there are comparisons being drawn between this current conflict between Israel and Hamas and the previous war between Azerbaijan and Armenia. These comparisons assert that the Azerbaijani military exhibited a high level of civility, having taken numerous measures to ensure the safety of civilians. According to these social media claims, the Azerbaijani forces conducted themselves in a more humane manner compared to the Hamas and Israeli military, who are often seen as more aggressive. It’s important to note, however, that during the 2020 war, there were widespread reports of Azerbaijani soldiers mistreating Armenian soldiers, even though these claims continue to circulate.

Discussing why a significant portion of the Azerbaijani population supports Israel, activist Ilkin Rustamzade put forth an argument rooted in historical factors. In a Facebook post, he highlighted several key points. Facebook post:  First and foremost, this support stems from the historical context of a war in which Azerbaijan faced insults and land occupation, and then Israel, in partnership with Turkey and Pakistan, played a pivotal role in helping Azerbaijan regain its territories. Additionally, Jews have a long-standing presence in the region, residing there for centuries, and their loyalty and commitment to the land have never wavered. They have embraced Azerbaijan as their homeland, demonstrating a profound connection to the country. This commitment is evident in the fact that they never relinquished their land, even establishing a state and subsequently extending support to Azerbaijan. To the average Azerbaijani, the linkage between Palestine, Hamas, and Iran, which supports Armenia, is established in a similar light. When Iran backs a particular faction, it tends to be viewed unfavorably by the Azerbaijani public. Arabs, viewed as outsiders, are often seen as invaders, with historical examples such as the subjugation of the Turkish people when the Arab conquest of the region occurred. The Turks used to be very brave, headstrong, warrior people until the Arabs invaded the region. The Arabs came, and the turks became slaves.”

October 13, 2023