Center for National and International Studies



“The fact that Mehdiyev calls the members of parliament “trolls and fake MPs” is the highest recognition of the truth that has long been known to all.”

(Lack of) Human Rights and Liberties

Activist Bakhtiyar Hajiyev was summoned to the Baku Main Police Office and threatened to stop posting against the minister of internal affairs on social media. The activist was told that “there are many policemen who are ready to take off their service stripes and punish him, which would be worse than going to jail.” Hajiyev’s FB post reads: Although I was summoned to the Main Police Department as a witness in a criminal case, the Deputy Chief of the Department, Colonel Vugar Alakbarov, invited me to his room and asked me about the rhetoric in the recent social media post I wrote about minister Vilayat Eyvazov. Objecting against the usage of certain words, he has threatened me openly. According to him, many people around him appealed to allow them to punish me, but he has refused. Then he added that there are people who don’t like that I refer to the Interior Minister Vilayat Eyvazov with his first name “Vilayet”, because it is disrespectful.” Hajiyev added that instead of being so sensitive to such insignificant issues, the Ministry could have already addressed the serious issues that he has raised months ago. Reacting to what happened to Hajiyev, member of NCDF Tofig Yagublu said that “this once again proves that Main Police Office doesn’t act like a law enforcement agency, but rather a punitive group.”

Head of APFP, Ali Karimli, argued that the current state of indifference among people to political issues should also be blamed on political parties and politically active citizens.  Karimli wrote: As a nation, we have great potential for greater mobilization for rights and freedoms. However, it has not happened yet, and this is, first of all, the fault of us – the politically active segment of society. However, we must admit that neither the recent crackdown on media freedom, the Media law, nor our embarrassing place in the index of democracy has caused a serious public debate or made the headlines in the country. Such fateful issues not only did not occupy the agenda, but did not attract as much attention as the inappropriate statements by an appointed MP or the news of political intrigue. We must not forget that as long as the discussion of human rights, political prisoners, rights and freedoms, free elections, and judicial independence remains the lowest-rated topics in this country, it will be difficult to mobilize the masses for significant democratic changes. In order to be free, first of all, it is necessary to truly understand  the notion of freedom, rights, and their importance.”

Governance, corruption, transparency

President of the Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences (ANAS) Ramiz Mehdiyev has resigned. The decision was made at Monday’s meeting of the Presidium of ANAS. According to the official news, Mehdiyev submitted his resignation and said goodbye to the staff. Ramiz Mehdiyev was the head of the Presidential Administration from 1995 to 2019. He was relieved of this position in 2019 and awarded the Heydar Aliyev Medal. Mehdiyev has been the President of ANAS since then. Mehdiyev’s resignation came after verbal attacks against him by pro-governmental media. In response to those who attacked him, Mehdiyev defended himself with a lengthy article that was shared on the official website of ANAS. Discussions on social networks have been going on since the counter-attack article was published. In his article which was called “great revelations” by many social media users, Mehdiyev stated that the members of the Milli Majlis were not elected but appointed. Member of NCDF, Tofig Yagublu, said that “this is the highest recognition of the truth that has long been known to all.” Mehdiyev has been an ardent supporter of president Aliyev denying allegations of electoral fraud and corruption in Azerbaijan. However, in his recent article Mehdiyev argued that “a smear and slander campaign” is carried out against him by various party leaders, popularly known as the “bus or pocket opposition,” as well as fake MPs such as Fazail Agamali and Etibar Aliyev, “the well-known trolls of the Milli Majlis.” It didn’t take much for the Milli Majlis to react to Mehdiyev’s accusations. Deputy Speaker of the Milli Majlis Adil Aliyev and former Minister Ali Nagiyev accused Mehdiyev of abusing his political power to place his closed ones in public offices. Adil Aliyev issued a statement accusing Mehdiyev of serious crimes, such as ordering the assassinations of political figures. Aliyev wrote: Questions about the mysterious kidnapping of Elshad Abdullayev’s brother and the fact that his body was never found are still relevant today. Ramiz Mehdiyev also has a lot to say about the poisoning of Sevinj Babayeva, who was abducted in Turkey in connection with this incident, and Haji Mammadov and his accomplices, who created a nest of racketeering in the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Ramiz Mehdiyev also instructed the work of the Ministry of Internal Affairs from the Presidential Administration, where he formed a group of supporters around him.” MP Fazail Aghamali made a controversial statement by saying that “Mehdiyev’s family is of Armenian origin, and he has served the Armenians in the world and their strategic goals.” Former Minister of Education Misir Mardanov joined the backlash against Mehdiyev, saying that “Ramiz Mehdiyev would go to work with armed guards, accompanied by the two cars of the Ministry.”

In his article for Azadlig newspaper, journalist Ilham Huseyn reacted to the ongoing debates around Mehdiyev, saying that “authoritarianism has a habit of eating its own children.”  Huseyn wrote: Because its members are united not by moral values, but by material interests. In short, the key to salvation is not the dismissal of any official but the return of the people to politics. Rovnags go, but gas limits remain, Selims go, social disasters continue, Azads go, sports depend on legionnaires, etc. That is to say, those who leave do not and cannot take the”diseases” with them. For the troubles to go away, the people must take control. The “vaccine” of this disease is the will of the people.”

Activist Bakhtiyar Hajiyev joined the discussions about Mehdiyev, saying that Ramiz Mehdiyev was behind his arrest. Hajiyev wrote: After my release from prison in 2012, Ilham Aliyev repeatedly sent messages through various channels and his staff that my arrest was a mistake of the government because Ramiz Mehdiyev had misinformed them. Years have passed, but every time I think of the pain of those days, I relive them. But today, Ramiz Mehdiyev himself has become the target of this disgusting system he has established. Hard to believe that Ramiz Mehdiyev, whose name years ago even the ministers were afraid to mention, is now being criticized by Etibar Aliyev and other fake MPs. One day, everyone, including those who are now at the head of the country, will understand the grave mistakes they have made. I don’t know if it will be too late by then, and I don’t know if we can forgive them…I will not be among those who took the opportunity to join the choir singing today on the instructions of the Administration.”

Former speaker of Milli Majlis Isa Gambar gave an interview to Voice of America Azerbaijani service. Gambar said that during Soviet times, ANAS acted as a mechanism to control scientists.  Reacting to the debates around the ANAS and its malfunctioning, Gambar said that “unfortunately, the Azerbaijani government uses the academy to control scientists and scholars.” “This, of course, is aimed at limiting the intellectual power of the people as a whole and the scientific potential of scientists and centers concentrated in the academy,” added the former speaker. “That must change. The academy must undergo serious reforms. The academy should be built in the same way as scientific centers are built in the modern world. That’s the decent thing to do, and it should be done.”

According to the chairman of ADWP, Gubad Ibadoghlu, although three months have passed since they have submitted the documents of the Azerbaijan Democracy and Welfare Party with more than 1,500 signatures to the Ministry of Justice for state registration, there has not been any news. Ibadgohlu wrote: Apparently, the Ministry of Justice is not interested in registering the ADW Party, although conditions and terms are respected. In fact, a registration certificate must be issued, not a response at this stage. Because article 8.5 of the Law states that if no response is given to the refusal of state registration within the period specified in this article, the body shall be considered registered. In this case, the relevant executive authority of the Republic of Azerbaijan must issue a certificate of state registration to the applicant no later than ten days.”

Post War Situation

President Ilham Aliyev visited the Aghdam region, where he addressed Azerbaijani businessmen: “I call on Azerbaijani businessmen here in front of the Aghdam Juma Mosque to come and invest in Aghdam and all other liberated territories.” Aliyev also added that the government is taking and will take the necessary steps for the reconstruction, and the private sector should be active in this work. Member of NCDF, Gultakin Hajibeyli, argued that the government’s sincerity should be questioned. She wrote: Karabakh has already been privatized and shared by certain people. A very terrible policy of discrimination and favoritism is being pursued against the Karabakh people, and their lands are being appropriated and privatized by the government. Travel to and from Karabakh is carried out with strict restrictions and permits. Seeing this, why would the entrepreneurs invest in the land that is already “owned” by someone else ?!”


February 15, 2022