Center for National and International Studies



“…This government views Azerbaijan as its “object”, or as a source of income…”

Post-conflict situation. The FB community shares and decries facts of Iranian trucks freely passing in Nagorno-Karabagh.  They also share the Iranian documents where the Khankendi is called Stepanakert and indicated as an Armenian city. Osmangizi TV discusses the topic  “ How Aliyev turned Karabagh into a Russia’s frozen conflict”. The civil and political leaders react to the protest of the  Iranian Foreign Ministry agianst the joint Azerbaijan- Turkish maritime exercises in the Caspian. Ali Karimli argues that while these exercises are legitimate, Iran’s protest- is not. He regrets  that Aktau agreement on the status of the Caspian sea has provisions with some  compromises concerning Azerbaijan interests, but the last event is not about deployment of the military base of the third country, but is a joint exercise only. The international law, he argues, is violated by Iran, who supports separatist groups in Azerbaijan. The experts stress that the joint exercises is a response to the rapprochement of Russia-Armenia-Iran. Meydan TV reports the reception of the Azerbaijan Defence Minister Zakir Hasanov and Army Headquarters Chief Kerim Veliyev by the Turkish prime-minister Erdogan. The political commentator, ex-advisor to the late president H.Aliyev Eldar Namazov interpreted the statement by the US Ambassador to Armenia about the status of Karabagh as willingness of the US to strengthen its influence in Armenia. He considers that after the Karabagh War 2nd the US and Russia intensified their struggle for influence in Armenia. He argues, that Azerbaijan, unlike Armenia for some time already was positioning itself as an independent political power, so there is no question of geopolitical struggle over Azerbaijan, he comments, but rather of how to build relations with the country in the new conditions. He considers that the US does not have many instruments of influence left, so Lynn Tracy’s statement is aimed to show the US is a better partners for Armenia than Russia, concludes Namazov. The other political commentator – an activist in exile Ramis Yunus argues, that so much desired by Armenia a Tskhinvali scenario ( like in Georgia in 2008) to be realized in Karabagh is not possible, as the situation is radically different. If in 2008 the main actor was Russia, today she has a powerful opponent -Turkey with the second strongest army in NATO  and Russia will never confront Turkey directly. The status quo radically changed and both Moscow and Ankara are aware of that, concludes Yunus.  Natig Jafarli of REAL in one of his interviews suggested to integrate Karabagh Armenians by supplying them gas, electricity etc. as currently they are supplied illegally by Armenia. Anticipating blocking it by Russia, he proposed range of measures, including buying greater volume of gas from Russia.

Russia and CIS. The media reports meeting of Syria’s Bashar Assad  with Russia’s  Putin in Moscow and Putin’s  appraisal of Assad’s protection of Syria from terrorist groups and control over 90% of the country. In turn Assad stressed the success of the joint Russia-Syrian liberation of the country from occupation. Earlier, the Syrian opposition activists reported the damage to Idlib province by the Russian military planes. The activists share news that the opposition leader of Belarus Tikhanovskaya is invited to France for the two day official  visit. The activists comment with irony on the fact that Azerbaijani MPs will go with observation mission to the Russian parliamentary elections.

Celebration of the 103 anniversary of the liberation of Baku. FB community posts materials- photos, historical data, videos- about the events on 15 September 1918- the day of liberation of Baku from Armenian Dashnak and Bolshevik occupation by Azerbaijani and Turkish – under leadership of Nuru Pasha– forces. Young people- professionals, activists – suggest to celebrate this day as the Day of Baku. The opposition political parties visited the monument  to 1,130 Turkish killed troops at the Martyr’s Alley. Musavat party reported commemorating the victims and putting flowers at the monument in spite of the obstacles created by police. Arif Hajili states, that on the 15th September 1918 not only Baku but other regions were liberated from Bolshevik-Dashnak occupation led by the Boshevik of Armenian origin Stepan Shaumian. As a result of the ethnic cleansing in Guba, Shamakha etc. tens of thousands Azerbaijanis were killed and millions became refugees, who had to escape to Ujar-Yevlakh regions. Under these conditions the government of the Azerbaijan Republic led by M. E Rasulzade signed an agreement with the Defence Minister of the Ottoman Empire Anvar Pasha about creation of the Caucasus Islamic Army aimed at protection of Turkic peoples in Azerbaijan and Northern Caucasus. This army liberated territories by advancing from Ganja just in 3 months. The Azerbaijani government moved to Baku and created such a state, that even the Bolsheviks could not eliminate it after re-occupation in 1920. He stresses, that 15 September is not just the day of the beginning of school classes, but the glorious page of Turkish-Azerbaijani brotherhood, the Day of Unity.

Social issues. FB community is concerned with yet another price rises- on gasoline, the 3d time in 9 months -( AI-95, AI-98  by 15 and  30 gepiks)   and bread.-(by 5-10 qepiks). The MP Eldar Guliyev justified the price rise by the “hard times” for national economy, caused by pandemic and war. The MP Vahid Ahmadov in contrary argued that the SOCARs official explanation of the price rise on gasoline is unsatisfactory, as every time for many years they give one cliché answer “that it is imported by Azerbaijan”, instead of building a refinery in the country. He comments, that despite AI-92 and AI-95 gasoline is the most popular among population, so far there was no attempt to keep prices low by building a refinery in the country. He argues, that the salaries and pensions should be revised in correspondence with this price rise. The MP concludes, that there was no any reason for the price rise on gasoline, as “ the oil price is high, the currency flow is high, the exchange rate of manat is stable”. Zohrab Ismayil compares them with prices in Ukraine, where the price is not regulated, and has dropped lately.  He notes the most expensive gasoline in Ukraine is sold at the SOCAR’s gas stations. The activist Yadigar Sadighly argues, that the gasoline price rise will last while there is a restoration of the liberated territories, as “Ilham Aliyev does not want to spend his billions, so squeezes them out of people”. B. Hajiyev reported to Azadlyg newspaper that the gasoline is supplied to Azerbaijan by the refinery in Romania, which belongs to Aliyev’s family. Some noted that the quality of the AI-92 gasoline was deliberately worsened, against the background of monthly price rise on AI-95- AI-98. Agil Laij, the lawyer, comments that while the price rise is justified by the government that they are bringing the prices in accordance with international standards, the living standards- salaries, pensions, benefits– are not increasing according to international standards. The economist Samir Aliyev comments, that the gasoline price rise makes corruption more expensive, as it increases expenditures of the corrupt people. Natig Jafarli of REAL argues that another gasoline price rise is directly related to monopoly in this area, which does not allow anyone else in this market and dictates the prices. Fuad Gahramanli of PFP observes that instead of conducting reforms the government is rising consumer prices, putting all the budget problems and failed activities of the state companies  burden on the shoulders of population, which will eventually lead to the social explosion.

Meydan TV tells the story of the war veteran Ilkin Abyshov, the father of underage children, who lives with his family in the dire condition with no gas supply, poor roof, which does not protect from rain etc. When appealed for a job, he received an offer of the street cleaner for 200 manats  (100 dollars) monthly salary. Azad Soz reports 54 thousand teachers fired from their jobs.

Governance, economy, corruption. The experts quote statistics revealing that the largest volume of the non-oil export in the first 7 months of the year 2021 from Azerbaijan was to Russia, Turkey, Switzerland, Georgia, USA.  The highest increase of the non-oil export as compared to 2020 was to Turkey- by 75% and in the US –  2.3 times. The ruling party’s MP promote quotations from the president’s speech, where he denounced corruption at the local and regional level, resulting in his opinion in under-development of the regions. On the other hand, the AG party‘ leader Tural Abbasli argues, that this government views Azerbaijan as its “object”, or source of income, while the people – as workers at this object, or as servants. They torment people, because they do not like the nation. If they are 30years in power, he continues, this is our fault too.  The media reports release from the prison of the corrupt head of executive power of  Yevlakh region Goja Samadov, as his sentence was replaced by the light one due to the health complications.  He was arrested in December 2019. People react to the official speech of Ilham Aliyev at the appointment ceremony of new heads of executive power to the Shamkir and Jalilabad regions, where he criticizes corruption. Seymur Hezi of PFP describes the system as “ laws of jungles- you are a hunter until you are caught”, as Aliyev appoints the corrupt heads of executive power warning them by informing how their predecessors were sacked. Tofig Yagublu of Musavat and NCDF states on his Fb timeline, that “ In this country the foundation of corruption was laid and developed by Heydar Aliyev, while Ilham Aliyev raised it to the highest level. The greatest and incomparable to anyone else in the world  corrupt person is Ilham Aliyev himself.” The academic Jamil Hasanli asserts that both corruption and monopolies are controlled by Aliyev himself and his family. Yagublu also mentions that while there are hundreds of statues of Heydar Aliyev, there is not a single  monument in this country which Aliyevs would erect to the founders of the first democratic republic, or Nuru Pasha. He concludes, that this is because Aliyevs hate this people and do not want its development. The academic Altay Geyushov comments that this speech is an empty populism and the person who really wants to fight corruption should start with replacement of the old Soviet institution- the heads of executive power – by the elected governors. Activists report the court hearing on the case of Movlam Shikhaliyev, who while working at the National Security Ministry’s chief of the Main Investigation Department got 14 m 292 thousand manat as a bribe, and 5 m 77 thousand worth property as a result of blackmail. Habib Muntazir lists the corrupt bureaucrats who have been in power for years, and it is surprising that the president was not reacting to it. He mentions “the chief of corruption in property area”  Rafig Jalilov, whose patron has been the deputy of the current assistant to a president Karam Hasanov, and who himself was a relative of the scandalous deputy Minister of Communications Iltimas Mammadov.  The journalist Shamshad Aga reports the case of the family of martyr in Astara region, whom the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection built the house for, but who is fined by the Ministry of Economy for  its “illegal” construction. The journalist asks the rhetorical question- why to fine the family, if the house was built by the Ministry of Labour? Agil Laij, the lawyer, summarizes the state of governance in the country:” We live in the country where Ministry of Health does not  deliver health, Minister of Culture does not deliver culture, Ministry of Economy does not develop  economy etc. This unfortunately takes lives, destroys youth and  hopes. “ Eradicating hopes is the greatest crime against humanity”, he concludes.

Human rights and liberties. Tofig Yagublu comments on limitations of the access to information in regards calls to the customer’s phone. He stresses that this limitation seriously complicates the capacity of the activists and their lawyers to collect and present evidence.

Bakhtiyar Hajiyev continues to update FB users on his communication with the Ministry with Internal Affairs. He reminds his followers that the minister did not respond to his complaint about pressure and threats for 50 days, and that he also complained to Mehriban Aliyeva, the vice-president, and also without response. Javid Gara attracts attention to the high level of air pollution of Sumgayit by posting photos with the smog above the area. Ilgar Mammadov of REAL reports the next stage of his party’s participation in the next elections. He informs that responding to the call from the 86 districts of 320 plus citizen on the basis of REAL quota the letters with independent candidates to the electoral commissions were sent to each of the 86 district.

Reference to history The professor- historian Jamil Hasanli   brings clarity  to the territorial dispute between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the lake Garagol in Lachin region. He writes: “Recently, the process of delimitation of state  borders between Azerbaijan and Armenia has begun. One of the most fragile parts of the border between the two countries passes through the Garagol area of ​​Lachin region. Back in 1921, during the border discussions, there was no dispute that Garagol was the territory of Azerbaijan. During the final demarcation of the borders between the Transcaucasian Soviet Republics in 1927-1929, Lake Garagol fell entirely into the territory of Azerbaijan and was reflected in these newly prepared maps. In those years, the results of the demarcation of the borders between the two republics were approved by the Central Executive Committee of the Caucasus. In the documents approved by the Central Executive Committee of the Caucasus, the name of this area is called Garagol toponym and the surrounding geographical points: Mountains – Kechel mountain, Yellow mountain, Big Ishig, Small Ishig, Iron stone, Gray mountain; Pastures around the lake: Ayi gorge, Ayrigar, Ganlija, Delijali, Boz dag; Place of worship: Mosque; Cemeteries: Gara Mammadli, registered as Ganlija. All these clarifications were confirmed in the maps prepared by the Office of Geodesy and Cartography under the People’s Commissars of the USSR and published in Moscow and Tbilisi printing houses at that time. The State Archive of Modern History of Russia has many interesting documents, letters, appeals and references about Garagol.

However, starting from the 30s of the last century, attempts were made to seize the Garagol settlement by the Armenian SSR. In 1930-1932, the pastures of more than 300 hectares, which were always used by the Azerbaijani livestock, were disputed by the Armenians, and in 1934, half of these areas were taken from the Azerbaijanis. Beginning in the 1950s, it took on an open character. In 1951, the USSR Council of Ministers banned the use of ancestral pastures by Azerbaijani livestock in and around Garagol. Although Azerbaijan resisted for a long time, in 1967 this process was completely completed with the direct intervention of the central authorities of the USSR. Although the second secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Azerbaijan, Pyotr Yelistratov, appealed to the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in June 1967 and May 1968, the issue could not be resolved. Instead, on June 10 and 20, 1968, the USSR Council of Ministers and on June 23, the Central Committee of the CPSU instructed both republics to settle territorial disputes between the individual collective farms of the Azerbaijani SSR and the Armenian SSR. Finally, in 1968-1969, the Armenian side, using the cowardice and obedience of the Soviet Azerbaijani leadership, with the support of Moscow, managed to reconsider the approved in 1927-1929 and confirmed Garagol as Azerbaijani territory,.

So, in 1968-1969, when they reconsidered this issue, they committed a serious fraud. The final decision of the Transcaucasian Central Election Commission to clarify the boundaries was made, and some of the above-mentioned place names and toponyms were removed from the maps. For example, by deleting the “Iron Stone” checkpoint from the map of the 1930s, the Armenians moved the border 7 km in the direction of Garagol. They were able to “slide” to the Azerbaijani side. And this led to the transfer of the Garagol plateau, used by the Telman collective farm in the Lachin region of Garagol, out of their control and into the use of the Gorus region of Armenia. After that, in 1969, Garagol was declared a joint state reserve of the two republics, but after a new inspection, the borders were kept open and Garagol was in fact handed over to Armenia. However, the residents of Garagishlag and other nearby villages, which unite the collective farm named after Telman in Lachin region (the state farm named after Telman since 1976), did not reconcile with this fraud. In May 1969, the Supreme Soviets of both republics approved these changes as a result of falsification of documents.

Since 1972, the residents of Garagishlak have been writing numerous applications and complaints to various bodies of the USSR, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, the Council of Ministers of the USSR, and the Pravda and Izvestia newspapers. they began to reclaim the lands confiscated from them by means of falsified documents. Although parity commissions were established in 1987-1988 with the participation of the authorities of both republics in connection with numerous appeals of members of the state farm named after Telman of Lachin region, the population of Garagishlag village, the issue was not resolved. that is, on November 17, 1987, they decided to keep the territory of Garagol, which was artificially “disputed” by Moscow, as an inter-republican state reserve by the decisions of the Councils of Ministers of both republics. In fact, they created the conditions for the illegal control of Garagol and its environs by the Gorus region, that is, they decided to continue the situation of 1969. At present, there are favorable conditions for resolving the issue in accordance with historical documents, eliminating the falsifications and negligence around Garagol, and  restoring the illegal changes in the maps published in Moscow and Tbilisi in the 1930s. PS By the way, the same problem was experienced in Gadabay and Gazakh districts in those years”.

September 17, 2021