Center for National and International Studies
“…The violation of ceasefire has already acquired an intense nature…”
The FB users are extremely concerned with the frequent violations of ceasefire, seeing also Russia’s role there; with the spread of cheap synthetic drugs; sceptical about the creation of the Fund for Development of Education; indignant at the Ministry of Interior’s absence of reaction to the blogger calling for violence against women, and the presidential award to the Minister of Emergencies – keeping at the centre of attention the issue of political prisoners.
Post-conflict situation. The FB community commemorates one year since the fighting in July 2020, and the 12 martyrs, including General Polad Hashimov and Colonel Ilgar Mirzayev. Ali Karimli, the leader of Popular Front Party, states that these were battles in July, which made the 2nd Karabagh War inevitable, and which led to the liberation of the occupied lands. Meydan TV posts a statement by President Aliyev calling those who disagree that the conflict is resolved on a “wrong and dangerous path”. He goes further in asserting that Azerbaijanis will return to their lands, such as Zangezur, Goycha and Irevan. At the same time, FB users are quoting him at the international conference at Azerbaijan’s Diplomatic Academy – that Azerbaijan does not have any territorial claims to any other state, and when he said we will come back to those lands he did not mean return on tanks. The MP Fazail Agamali reported that one should be very cautious with the map of landmines, as in spite of receiving the map of Fizuli region’s land mines, two people had been blown up on mines after that. He states that there should not be any excuse for going to the mined territories, until they all are fully and securely cleaned. The FB community actively shares the video about Iranian Azerbaijanis visiting Yerevan, about crowds of Iranians trying to get vaccinated in Armenia, some of whom even spend the night in the streets while waiting for their turn. From 15th July, Armenia is providing free vaccination for the tourists from Iran who intend to stay 10 or more days in the country. In Iran only citizens over 60 are vaccinated and there is apparently a shortage of vaccines.
Violations of ceasefire. FB users report with concern on the firing by the Armenian military into the Sadarak region of Nakhichevan Autonomous Republic, resulting in the wounding of a military Mahsud Mardanli. The Ministry of Defence also reports the firing over Shusha by illegal Armenian armed forces from automatic guns and machine guns from the territory under control of the Russian peacekeepers. Bakhtiyar Hajiyev lists the cases of violations of the ceasefire in the last 8 days: 6 July – Ahliman Dadashov was wounded as a result of firing of Agdam region AliAgali village, 7 July – Armenian side fired on Garalar village of the Tovuz region, 9 July – Zamanli village of the Gedabey region, 14 July – Shusha city was fired on from automatic and machine guns, 14 July – Sadarak region of the Nakhichevan Autonomous Republic was fired from weapons of various calibres with the result that Mahsud Mardanli was wounded. He ironically concludes quoting the President: “We consider that the conflict is resolved”. Tofig Yagublu of Musavat stresses the contrast of the victorious statements at the official level and continued firing by the “defeated” enemy. He also notes that for the first time since 10th November, the Azerbaijani side has officially confirmed that they fired in response to silence the rival, and that so far there was no statement from the joint Russia–Turkey monitoring group. Fuad Gahramanli comments that this indicates that Russia, by violating the ceasefire on both sides, is definitely trying to control both Armenia and Azerbaijan. In regard to Armenia, this intention of Rusia was generated by the recent election and prevalence of societal trends towards Europe. At the same time, the preservation of military tension makes Kocharian’s party of war more influential. In regard to Azerbaijan, Russia sent a message that it would never be secure in Shusha, in spite of Erdogan’s visit and the Shusha declaration. Russia also wants Azerbaijan to sign a reciprocal agreement on the status of the peacekeepers, as she is afraid they will be replaced by UN peacekeepers. He concludes that brought in as a result of Aliyev’s mistaken policy, Russian peacekeepers in the country allow Russia to keep Azerbaijan under her military control and the intensified violation of the ceasefire testifies that Russia is playing not a peacekeeping role, but rather the opposite. The investigative journalist Khadija Ismayil argues, addressing the President, that while there are armed forces of two states on Azerbaijan territory, the conflict simply cannot be called “resolved”. She notes that he never mentions Khojali, Agdere, Khojavend or Khankendi in his speeches, although before conversations about Zangezur or Irevan, it would be logical to give explanations about the fate of the remaining Karabagh territories. Natig Jafarli comments that Russia should make a statement that everyone who has arms, except for Russian peacekeepers, is declared a terrorist and will be immediately destroyed. He argues that either the Armenians in Karabagh should disarm themselves, or Azerbaijan will start an anti-terror operation on its lands. Seymur Hezi of Musavat comments that only with the support of the people can Ilham Aliyev protect the victories of war. When he relied in this regard on Putin, he should have expected such a result: both Shusha and Agdam would be fired upon.
International relations. The media reports that as a result of the bilateral agreement, Turkey and Azerbaijan agreed to raise the current trade turnover from $4b 170m to $15b within 3 years. Natig Jafarli of REAL suggests that the recent article of Putin about Donbass and Russia’s intention to integrate it – is an expression of the “agreement” between the West and Russia. According to this agreement, he argues, Cuba comes back under the control of the US, while Donbass – that of Russia. In this situation he concludes that Azerbaijan should accelerate its relations with the EU and open a Joint Training Centre with Turkey. The local media reports on the Syrian refugees settled in the Hatay region of Turkey protesting at the arrival of Afghan refugees. FB users share news from Afghan Mukhtarli, who informs users about the photo exhibition ‘Political prisoners of Azerbaijan’ in the Berlin office of Reporters Without Borders, the speakers at the panel there including SWR TV channel editor Kai Laufen, journalist Felix Dachsel and Afghan Mukhtarli. The political activist in exile and popular commentator Ramiz Yunus considers that Azerbaijan can be example to Ukraine of how to protect its national interests, in spite of the resistance of the EU and Minsk group of OSCE, by allying with the other states. He mentioned the openly pro-Russian position of Merkel which confirms that Ukrainian leadership should stop living in the “world of illusions” and not rely on the support of Germany and France in the Normandy framework in the resolution of the Donbass conflict.
The spread of drug addiction. The issue of drug consumption continues to be discussed by the FB community. The youth activist Rustam Ismayilbeyli recalls that when imprisoned, the penitentiary administration did not place him in a cell with opposition activists, justifying it by his young age -18 years and the possibility of their negative influence – so put him in the cell with those accused of drug addiction. FB users note that the package of synthetic drug “pati” is only 2-3 manats ($1-1.5), while a single one is 50 gepiks. The youth leaders, activists and opposition politicians continue to alert the population, appeal to individual mobilization to fight the drug spread. Ilkin Muradov reports that of 100 prisoners at least 80-90% are charged with the drug trade and smuggling (mainly from Iran). He appeals to the FB users to take into account the scale of the tragedy and be perceptive about the problem. Seymur Hezi compares the drug strategy of “Bring drugs into the country in tons and sell to people in grams” – to a nuclear attack against the people.
Social problems. The e-media reports social discrimination in the regions, where the allotments of the oligarchs are provided with water, while those of the ordinary citizens are not. It also reports with reference to the Ministry of Defence, the suicide of chief lieutenant Ahmadov Orkhan, who shot himself using a military service weapon. Habib Muntazir shares news on the presidential decree of the allocation of 100 manats per dependent of a person on regular military service. Azadlyg newspaper writes that people will be robbed by the government by means of the new program of support for the education system. The President has started collecting donations for the Fund of Education Development. The author Rahim Hajiyev argues that soon individuals and organisations will be forced to make transfers to the Fund. He reminds that there are many talented people in the country, who are deprived of education because they have opposition views and that there cannot be any high-quality education in the country with systemic corruption.
Governance, economy, corruption. The head of Inform Xabar TV, Azer Kazimov, and the anchor Rubaba Veliyeva were arrested, accused of taking bribes from the families of the war martyrs to make a TV report about them. Natig Jafarli of REAL attracts people’s attention to the decline of agriculture – the crisis of crop development, problems with technology and equipment, no melioration concept – and the threat to food security. FB users are shocked by President Aliyev awarding one of the most corrupt ministers – the Minister of Emergencies Kamaladdin Heydarov – by the order of the 1st degree “For Service to the Homeland”. Mehman Huseynov, a blogger and activist, ironically comments: “We say he should be locked up, instead he is rewarded with an Order of Merit!” The activists share information publicised by the UK on the number and citizenship of the people, who is an owner of the so-called gold visa (which costs £2m). Since 2008 up till now, there have been 121 Azerbaijanis, 28 from Georgia, from Armenia, Uzbekistan -12, and Kyrgizistan – 7.
Liberal freedoms. The FB community actively discusses the blogger Panturali’s video posts, who is popular among certain conservative and not highly educated circles – his derogatory and aggressive language against women, whom he called immoral. The activists argue with indignation that he should be charged for these calls for violence, but apparently the Ministry of Interior asked him merely to apologise to them in another video. The feminist leader Rabiyya Mammadova states that if adequate measures are not taken, they will complain to all judicial instances. Habib Muntazir in the meantime reports the cases of violence against women – in Sabirabad, the fact of beating up and raping of the woman by two men from her village, and in Shaki region, Kichik Dahna village, another case of marrying off a 15 year-old girl to a 30 year-old man. He also informs users about the beginning of the police investigation. He contrasts the video speech of Panturali about women to the ongoing world progress in the space industry. He comments: “The objective of Virgin Galactic is to reach 100 touristic flights to airspace by 2023. In contrast, Azerbaijan is like a creature emerged from a cave with maniacs who cannot control their passions, discuss how women are dressed and threaten with violence those who are not dressed as men want.”
Human rights. The activists again contrast merciful attitude of the president to the Armenian saboteurs, releasing them or softening their sentences to the cruelty to the local opposition activists. They urge him to demonstrate similar humanitariansm to the member of PFP Agil Mahharamli, who was arrested on trumped-up charges for 4 years with 10 months to the end of the term and release him at the court hearing on the 15 July. When he was imprisoned, he had twin-girls of 6 months old, who are now approaching 4 years. The academic Jamil Hasanli calls him one of the most talented and most patriotic young man. On his FB timeline he reminds his followers of the fates of imprisoned activists of Popular Front Party – Faig Amirli, Ruslan Amirov, Agil Maharramli, Alizamin Salayev, Saleh Rustamov, Mammad Ibrahim, Fuad Gahramanli, Ayaz Maharramli, Bakhtiyar Imanov and others – all accused on trumped-up charges. He particularly focuses on the mistreatment of Niyameddin Ahmadov, who is extremely decent, nice man with high integrity. He got a month of administrative detention just to get unbearable tortures to testify against Ali Karimli and as this did not succeed, he is still in prison, in the absence of any evidence of his “crime”. Jamil Hasanli concludes that the main attribute of the “rule of law” established by Ilham Aliyev is the destruction of people’s lives out of personal enmity and because of their political identity. The activists and journalists continue to discuss and decry the murder of the cameraman in Georgia. Afghan Mukhtarli reports that the Georgian police declared the victim to be a drug addict. He comments that the journalist was beaten, not given treatment in hospital and subsequently died of his injuries, but the police hijacked his body and announced him a drug addict. The Human rights defender and REAL member, Rasul Jafarov, updates his followers on the status of the investigation of violations in Ter-ter case. He reports that the case of the three military – Major Fuad Agayev, Sergeants Gurban Jumshudov and Javid Agadadashov – arrested for giving torture to the victims, due to their light sentence were sent for consideration to the Ganja Court of Appeal, which will meet on 30th July under the chairmanship of Judge Chingiz Mammadov. On the 15th the Baku Court of Appeals should also make its decision on Tofig Yagublu, who is accused of hooliganism.
Democracy, power-opposition relations. The activists, journalists and political leaders continue to express their condolences for the diseased mothers of Ali Karimli of PFP and Tofig Yagublu of Musavat and express their protest at the prohibition on Yagublu to join the funeral of his mother in Georgia. Ganimad Zahidov calls it a symbolic revenge which President Aliyev has taken on Tofig Yagublu. The FB reports that Erkin Gadirli, MP of REAL, visited Turkey as part of the official delegation, where Samed Seyidov and Nigar Arpadarai also participated. The post collected many comments criticising Erkin Gadirli for joining the delegation and in general participating in the Parliament.
The second victory of Shahriyar Mammadyarov over Harry Kasparov. The FB users cheer and celebrate the second victory of Azerbaijani chess player over Harry Kasparov, this time playing with black figures and defeating the ex-world champion in 26 moves.
July 15, 2021