Center for National and International Studies
“Thinking that democracy is dangerous for the family rule, Ilham Aliyev pursued a policy against the interests of this country and took refuge in the Kremlin, which is the stronghold of authoritarianism, corruption and the enemies of democracy in the world.”
“An apology video” by the martyr’s brother
The Military Prosecutor’s Office shared a statement saying that it was continuing the investigation into the video appeals of Ahmadov Sanan Fuad oglu, the brother of the martyr Sabuhi Ahmadov. Sanan Ahmadov shared a post on social networks on September 15, exposing the Ministry of Defence, arguing that his brother had to ‘give a bribe’ in the amount of 6,000 manats ($3,530) to get into the ‘commando’ unit of the Ministry. A few days after the video, Ahmadov appeared in a video, denying the bribe allegations and asking everyone to respect his family. Social media users and activists believe that Sanan Ahmadov was forced by the Ministry to make the public appeal to deny his previous accusations. Social media users condemned the “forced apology” given by Ahmadov, criticizing the authorities for not investigating the corruption cases in the Ministry.
Exiled journalist Ganimat Zahid said that forcing a martyr’s brother to make a public apology after exposing a bribe scandal is an insult to everyone. Zahid wrote: “The process of massively insulting the society in our country has entered into a new level. Do not try to protect yourself because the systems like the one we have in this country do not have recourses for the citizens to defend themselves. Being protected in such societies means the chance to face further insults. Until such systems are destroyed, everyone will face its harsh treatment. Down to the last person. Insulting human dignity is the main practice of such systems.”
Political commentator Arastun Orujlu said that the last “apology video” by the martyr’s brother is a deliberate message by the regime to threaten and intimidate the public. Orujlu wrote: “I said, is not only insult, or humiliation, it is a threat because they wanted to say, “look, we don’t have any limit, and we’ll do whatever we want.” This is a clear announcement of what great danger we are facing and what may happen to us. What I have realized is that we are dealing with creatures that have no moral compass and no concept of limitations. This is not just a case of humiliation and insult. This is a sign of future catastrophic threats.”
Investigative journalist Mehman Huseynov also commented on the shared video saying that the Prosecutors Office should have acted in such a rush when other corruption scandals surfaced. Huseynov wrote: “If you can, hold the corrupt officials responsible, arrest them and investigate all the allegations of bribe and corruption. We have conducted various research on the corrupt and illegal activities by the officials, and the Prosecutors Office never took any of them seriously.”
Activist Nigar Hezi shared her opinion on the subject adding that “everyone, including president himself, is guilty of taking bribes.” Hezi wrote: “Everyone in this country knows that bribes are commonplace when hiring or getting promoted. Why did the government worry and be surprised to learn about a bribe of 6000 manats given by martyr Sabuhi Ahmadov to become a commando? In this country, everyone from Ilham Aliyev to the lowest government official takes bribes. They didn’t have the courage to arrest the person who took the bribe, instead, they resorted to the easiest way. They made an apology video of the martyr’s brother for publicizing the issue of bribery.”
Journalist Shemshad Agha suggested a different reason behind the controversial “apology video,” arguing that the video was recorded in a hurry to clear the name of the army, which is trained by Turkish military experts. Agha wrote: “The Turks build and train the military units in Azerbaijan. But soldiers and officers are chosen by the Ministry of Defense. Apparently, the Ministry was worried that once the Turks learned about the bribe scandal, it would damage their reputation of them, so they quickly released the apology video. They would face a serious reaction from the Turks that the local military personnel is involved in bribery.”
Activist Bakhtiyar Hajiyev said that the continuous silence of the public to the human rights violations created favorite conditions for such humiliation. Hajiyev wrote: “It is the responsibility of each of us to make our own “apology video” for the martyred brother. We have this situation ourselves through years of silence. We should have protested when they made an apology video of those who did not wear masks or who did not commit crimes or harm to anyone. But we didn’t, and we were complicit in our silence. When an activist was kidnapped and urinated on, we should have stood up as a nation. We prepared the grounds for this with our silence when the religious people were stripped and filmed.”
Meydan TV reported that even though Samit Samir oglu Guliyev from Agdash region received the status of a veteran, the Ministry of Social Protection does not give Guliyev the degree of disability. Being unable to support himself due to his health issues, Guliyev is forced to beg on the streets.
Lawyer Elchin Sadigov was released from prison. On September 17, the panel of judges chaired by Zaki Babayev of the Baku Court of Appeal issued a decision on the home arrest of the lawyer. Although the trial of Elchin Sadigov‘s appeal was previously scheduled for September 15, it did not take place. It was revealed in the court that the case was taken to the Investigative Department of the General Prosecutor’s Office, where certain investigative actions are being carried out.
Pelosi’s visit to Yerevan
U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Yerevan on Sunday. “We strongly condemn Azerbaijan’s illegal attacks on Armenia,” Pelosi said at a press conference. Speaker Pelosi’s statement caused controversy in Azerbaijan, with many accusing her of being biased about the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
Chairperson of APFP Ali Karimli condemned speaker Pelosi’s statement arguing that it would strengthen the authoritarian regime in Azerbaijan. Karimli wrote: “I consider the statement harmful because it partially strengthens the position of those who support autocracy, family rule, and Russian hegemony in Azerbaijan, a relatively large country in the South Caucasus. It creates a lot of difficulties for the political forces fighting for democratic changes in Azerbaijan, who want to see our country as a close friend and ally with the United States and the European Union. This statement, unfortunately, created a good opportunity for the supporters of the regime in Azerbaijan. Those who live off the table of family power, those looking for an opportunity to flatter the regime, the troll army are working tirelessly to slander the USA and the West as a whole, to justify Russian authoritarianism and the repressive and corrupt rule of its ally Ilham Aliyev in Azerbaijan. In my opinion, Nancy Pelosi should have visited Georgia and Azerbaijan as well to demonstrate commitment to this statement and to maintain balance. This visit will bring democracy to the region, and Pashinyan and the Armenian people who support him will benefit the most. I believe that Mrs. Pelosi’s visit will contribute not to the solution of the existing problems related to Karabakh but to their further deepening. After this visit, sympathy for the West will increase in Armenia and decrease in Azerbaijan.”
Karimli also criticized president Aliyev for “pushing the country into the clubs of authoritarian regimes and dictators.” Karimli wrote: “There was a time when we called Armenia an outpost of Russia in the region. Now, Armenians look at us like that. Thanks to Ilham Aliyev, who “knows what to do, how and when to do it,” the country with strength, money, technology and modern management, and that values human rights has sided with Armenia. And Ilham Aliyev insistently pulls us into the club of authoritarian regimes and dictators. He wants to board Putin‘s sinking ship. If we cannot stop this wrong policy of Ilham Aliyev with our joint efforts as a nation, we will once again open our eyes to the fact that we are in the club of regimes that are poor, backward, cruel, hostile to their people, isolated from the world, and dying under international sanctions. All this is happening to us, not someone else, let’s not be spectators!”
Chairperson of ADWP Gubad Ibadoghlu said that “There is no doubt that Speaker Pelosi’s visit to Armenia is symbolic.” Ibadoghlu added that the visit aimed to show solidarity and offer help to Armenia.
Political analyst Arastun Orujlu said that visits by high-ranking US officials to Armenia suggest strong indications of the US foreign policy. Orujlu wrote: “Pelosi is not the only high-ranking US official to visit Armenia recently. Shortly before that, William Burns, director of the US Central Intelligence Agency, also visited Yerevan. This suggests that Armenia occupies a certain place in Washington’s regional policy. Such a policy, in turn, can mean serious challenges and risks for Azerbaijan. Because for a strong country like the USA, it is only a matter of time to raise even a weak and small country like Armenia, and it wouldn’t take decades. If it receives economic, political and military support from the United States, Irevan can change to a very different status in a short period of time. This, in turn, would lead to the emergence of new geopolitical conditions in the region and the emergence of new threats to the countries of the region. First of all, for Azerbaijan. From this point of view, defining our foreign policy strategy in accordance with the current reality and taking effective steps toward its implementation becomes an urgent task.”
Member of ReAl Party Natig Jafarli argued that “this visit may cause some rhetorical problems between Azerbaijan and the US (West).” Jafarli wrote: I hope that Pelosi will not worsen the relations between Baku and the West, just as she did mistakenly bring China and Russia closer together – logically, the US should not want that. If this visit increases the Kremlin’s anger towards Armenia, so be it, there are ways to turn this anger into a dividend for us.”
Member of NCDF Tofig Yagublu criticized president Aliyev’s foreign policy, saying that his attempts to preserve the family rule would eventually lead the country into disaster. Yagublu wrote: “While the state interests of Azerbaijan require establishing good relations with this world’s superpower and gaining its patronage, Ilham Aliyev, thinking that democracy is dangerous for the family rule, pursued a policy against this country and took refuge in the Kremlin, which is the stronghold of authoritarianism, corruption and the enemies of democracy in the world. After Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, correcting this wrong policy, instead of gradually moving away from the Kremlin and turning to the progressive world, Aliyev went even furth with this wrong policy.”
Chairperson of the Musavat Party, Arif Hajili, also criticized the foreign policy of the government saying that the current mistakes in foreign affairs will become hugely costly in the future. Hajili wrote: “Joining the world powers to protect the territorial integrity of Ukraine would strengthen our position in solving the problem of Upper Karabakh, which is a similar problem. The West insists on bilateral peace talks and the conclusion of a peace treaty. At a time when Russia is isolated, Armenia, its main ally, faces a difficult choice. Instead of taking advantage of all these advantages, presenting Azerbaijan as a friend of Putin‘s Russia by pursuing a wrong policy is a mistake. In addition to remaining a military ally of Russia, Armenia also tries and succeeds in obtaining the patronage of the anti-Russian coalition, using various political maneuvers and the inability of the Azerbaijani authorities to break away from the Kremlin. Being seen as a supporter of Putin‘s Russia can cost Azerbaijan dearly.”
Member of APFP Fuad Gahramanli commented on president Aliyev’s participation at Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Samarkand, Uzbekistan. Gahramanli wrote: “The fact that most members of the organization are undemocratic and have problems with the West does not mean that they can compete with the West as a bloc. From this point of view, I think that in the present case, as the state of Azerbaijan, we should be able to benefit from opportunities that do not harm the process of integration with the West and our strategic cooperation. Unfortunately, Azerbaijan is not in the SCO today because of its interests, but as an ally of Russia.”
Activist and journalist Tural Sadigli announced his recent investigation of the properties belonging to president Ilham Aliyev‘s sister Sevil Aliyeva and her children. Sadigli wrote: “Sevil Aliyeva and her children. Jiraf, Azer, and Zarifa Aliyeva have properties in Paris and London. There will be reports covering at least five properties belonging to them. All are documented. They have properties in these two cities worth a total of 100 million. When it comes to the war, let the poor go and become martyrs so the motherland will be safe and may the money and wealth of the country fall into the hands of the few.”
The Ministry of Defence shared the number of people injured on the Azerbaijani side in the military conflict that took place on the Azerbaijan-Armenia border on September 12-14. According to the information released by the Ministry, 282 servicemen of the Armed Forces were injured and received various degrees of physical injuries. Out of 282 injured servicemen, 43 returned to the ranks of the army after first aid, 115 are in moderate condition, 103 are in medium-severe, and the condition of 21 are assessed as severe. “Moreover, same time, as a result of the provocation of the Armenian armed forces, two civilians were injured. One of the injured civilians was discharged home after first aid, while the condition of one person is assessed as medium-severe.”
September 20, 2022