Center for National and International Studies



Russian agents in the Ministry of Defense encouraged Aliyev to go to war by falsifying intelligence information, and the goal was to bring the Russian army into Azerbaijan regardless of the outcome of the war...”

(Lack of) Human Rights and Liberties

Former political prisoner and activist Aziz Mamiyev said that employers discriminated against him due to his political opinion. Mamiyev’s post on Facebook: “For those who are engaged in political activity in Azerbaijan face cruel repression. Political activists are dismissed from work and subjected to financial challenges. Since I was released from prison over two months ago, I have not been able to find a job and work. Wherever I apply, they refuse to hire me.”

Azadlig Newspaper reports that former political prisoner and member of APFP Babek Hasanov and his family were denied to receive documentation, and as a result, they had to leave the apartment they reside. Hesenov’s open letter reads: “On the personal order of Ilham Aliyev, I was arrested and fined several times for my political activities. I was recognized by international organizations as a prisoner of conscience and a political prisoner. During my recent long-term detention, I was severely tortured by the personal order of Ilham Aliyev at the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Ilham Aliyev, not satisfied by what he did, as an additional means of pressure, forbade me to be given the apartment for which I had been waiting for a long time as a war veteran. The Minister of Internal Affairs, Vilayat Eyvazov ordered to cancel the registration of four family members and me from the administrative building where I was registered. Currently, my family of five is left in an uncertain situation and unable to do any paperwork. I asked the head of the registration department of the Narimanov district police department to comment on the issue, and he told me that it was the instruction of the Minister of Internal Affairs, Vilayat Eyvazov. As for the question of what we should do now, he told me that it was not their problem and that we should find the solution ourselves. Friends, if you remember, one of the supporters of the regime said that the opposition should be expelled from the country. My family has no document of registration and awaits an uncertain future. Don’t be surprised if one day you hear that Ilham Aliyev forced us to board a plane and dropped us to the steppes of Kazakhstan in the middle of the night. My family is no longer considered a citizen of this country. Why should Ilham Aliyev let the opposition people who are not citizens live in this country?”

The chairman of the D18 Movement, Ahmet Mammadli, who was arrested after his post on peace, said that everything, even talking about peace, is under the monopoly of president Aliyev. “The main rule is not to engage in the subjects that are in the monopoly of Ilham Aliyev. One of them is peace. If any political figure besides Ilham Aliyev makes an alternative proposal, such as the negotiation process with Armenia as option A, that person has already intervened in the monopoly of Ilham Aliyev.”

Governance and Corruption

Chairperson of Azerbaijan Democracy and Welfare Party, Gubad Ibadoghlu said that the authorities refuse to register the Party although they have presented the required documents. The statement of the Party chairperson reads: “The Aliyev regime continues to obstruct the registration of the Azerbaijan Democracy and Welfare Party. The political authorities try to prevent the registration of the Party by all means and involve the courts in this process. Thus, on September 27, 2022, judge Mirza Taghizade issued a decision stating that it was impossible to consider the Party’s complaint in the Court of Appeal regarding the Ministry of Justice, which rejected the registration documents of the Party four times in a row within the past year. The lawyer of the Party submitted the cassation appeal to the Supreme Court. According to expectations, the Supreme Court will annul the decision of the Court of Appeal and return the case to the first instance. The purpose here is to exchange the Party’s complaint between the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court to prevent the Party from submitting its complaint to the European Court of Human Rights regarding the denial of the registration of the Party in Azerbaijan. All these happen because the ADWP is an independent Party, and it doesn’t negotiate with the political authorities or operate in the circle drawn by the instructions given under their control. The ADWP believes that it is no coincidence that its registration is purposefully blocked at the time when the new reactionary draft “Law on Political Parties” is being prepared. The Party declares that neither the registration nor the activity of the Party can be the subject of political discussion. Failure to register the Party is an integral part of the plan of the political authorities to block the growth of the Party. The regime is aware of how much its reputation has shrunk compared to the ADW Party, which has been operating for only a year and is growing every day. The ADWP declares that the regime’s decisions limiting our free political actions cannot frame our activities, or discourage our members and distract us from our common goals.”

Corruption Scandal in the Army

Meydan TV shared the audio recording of the late Babek Samidli, deputy commander of a unit the during the second Karabakh War. The audio recording that caused resonance was made shortly after the war and a few days before the colonel’s death. A few days after the end of the war, on November 23, it was reported that Samidli fell into a mine in the territory of Sugovushan settlement. After his death, he was awarded the medals “For the Motherland”, “For the liberation of Sugovusha”, and the “Victory”. In the interview, Samidli talked about the numerous cases of corruption and mismanagement in the army. “If we did not have “Bayrakdar” UAVs, our military would have been incapable of attacking during the Second Karabakh war. When the war started, 38 percent of the soldiers in the army were not provided with armored jackets, and 51 percent were not provided with communication devices. Our military corps located on the front line of the war seriously lagged behind the Armenian side in terms of artillery weapons. D-30, D-44 artillery units with a firing range of 10-15 kilometers were purchased from Russia for our army. However, the D-20 artillery of the Armenian side hit a distance of 30 kilometers. After the intelligence information about the Armenian army was falsified, it was transmitted to the commander-in-chief. In this information, the enemy side was presented much weaker than they actually were. The people who were discharged from the army 10-15 years ago and involved in mobilization were enlisted into the army on September 21, and only five days later, they were already sent to battle. Those five days were spent just to provide them with uniforms and weapons. Thus, those who were mobilized were not given military training. Promotion in the army was possible only due to bribe.” The opposition leaders and the activists reacted to the interview furiously, demanding the government respond to the allegations and hold those who were accused of briber accountable. Chairperson of APFP Ali Karimli called the government to investigate the real cause of the colonel’s death and the situation in the army. Karimli wrote: “Colonel Babek Samidli made these statements full of facts and then lost his life mysteriously as a result of a land mine explosion. After listening to Babek Samidli’s audio recording, I consider his death mysterious. The audio recording of the colonel, who was one of the commanders of approximately 20,000 soldiers, also revealed the fact that Ilham Aliyev, who was busy claiming the military victory achieved at the cost of the blood and lives of our martyrs, actually did not fulfill the duties of Commander-in-Chief. The army was not provided with basic military equipment and combat training. Terrible crimes committed in the army were covered up.”

Exiled journalist Afgan Mukhtarli argued that the audio recording proved that the war was planned in order to bring the Russian army into the region. Mukhtarli wrote: “The main point in Colonel Samidli’s recording is related to the falsification of information about the Armenian army. Najimeddin Sadikov and other agents of Russia, in their reports, reduced the actual number of tanks and other equipment of the Armenian army and presented the wrong assessment to Aliyev during the preparation for the war. At the same time, they gave instructions to the corps commanders. It is a serious matter. By reducing the enemy’s equipment, and the number of military units, they created a wrong impression in Ilham Aliyev about the Armenian army. This fact once again suggests that Russia did everything in its power to start the war. Russian agents in the Ministry of Defense encouraged Aliyev to go to war by falsifying intelligence information. The goal was to bring the Russian army into Azerbaijan regardless of the outcome of the war. Falsification of intelligence information played an instrumental role in our high losses in the war. As Samidli said, we were saved by the incredible heroism of our soldiers and officers, Turkish generals, Bayraktars, and the weapons we bought from Israel. If it were not for them, the Russian peacekeepers could sit in Yevlakh. The final result of the war is that the Russians occupied a part of the territory of Azerbaijan and established military bases. The only winner of this war is Russia. Caucasians killed each other, and Russia won.”

Activist Bakhtiyar Hajiyev said that despite the scale of the corruption and mismanagement in the army, both the public and the authorities remain silent and have not reacted to the audio recording.  Hajiyev wrote: “What surprised me was the lack of reaction to this recording. In other countries, if such a recording of the army colonel and the deputy corps commander who died mysteriously were shared, people would have taken to the streets, and state institutions would have made statements to calm the people. But except for 5-10 people, everyone looks, listens, and is silent.”

Perspectives of Peace in the Caucasus

The European Council sent a monitoring mission along the Armenian side of the international border with Azerbaijan with the objective of monitoring, analysing, and reporting on the situation in the region. The 40 EU monitoring expert aim at “fasilitating the restoration of peace and security in the area, the building of confidence and the delimitation of the international border between the two states”, said the statement of CoE. It is reported that although the EU intended to have observers on both sides of the borders,  the Azerbaijani government did not agree. Chairperson of APFP Ali Karimli reacted to the deployment of the monitoring mission on the border, saying that it is the “failure of the Aliyev government there won’t be monitoring mission on the Azerbaijani side of the borders. Karimli’s Facebook post reads: “Let’s look at Ilham Aliyev’s 19-year rule in the country. Constantly rising living costs, high prices, poverty, unemployment, corruption, monopoly, lawlessness, injustice, and unfair domestic politics. His foreign policy led the country to be excluded and put its name on a list of the most hated regimes in the world.”

Member of the Party Fuad Gahramanli also criticized the government’s foreign policy, adding that in order to strengthen its position on the international stage, the government must improve its relations with the EU. Gahramanli wrote: “Now that Armenia is following pro-EU politics, Russia will try to please Armenia and make proposals that satisfy its interests. If this does not work, then Putin will try to use Azerbaijan to increase tensions in the region. In both cases, the result will not be in favor of our country. It is very unfortunate that at a time when the leadership of Azerbaijan is trying to preserve the presence of defeated Russia in the region for the sake of its own interests, Armenia is becoming the main partner of the EU in the Caucasus by integrating with the West and strengthening its international support and position. Therefore, the only way out now is to resort to the diplomacy of coercion by the West and to remove Azerbaijan from Russian influence.”

October 25, 2022