Center for National and International Studies



“In a country where the opposition is not allowed to enter the parliament, if an independent MP who supports the government is brought before the Disciplinary Commission of the parliament for his light criticism, this already indicates the beginning of the establishment totalitarianism in the country…”

(Lack of) Human Rights and Liberties

Member of Azerbaijan Popular Front Party (APFP) Alizamin Salyev, who has been on hunger strike for the past 80 days, has entered into a state of coma, said his lawyer. Salayev is protesting against his illegal imprisonment started a hunger strike that has caused a significant deterioration of his health and ability to move.

Governance and Corruption

MP Vahid Ahmadov‘s interview with blogger Mehman Huseynov stirred debates. In his interview, Ahmadov talked about rampant unemployment and economic hardships in the country.  MP also said that “although according to the law, officials cannot engage in business, there are many MPs who have their own businesses”. Ahmadov also touched upon the cases of corruption in Azerbaijan, adding that “it is not an easy task to be an opposition under the current situation created by the state policy.”

After the interview, Ahmadov was attacked by his colleagues and fellow MPs who accused him of “overshadowing the socio-economic reforms carried out in the country.”

MP Fazail Aghamali said that Ahmadov gave “an unpleasant interview under the influence of the blogger, sowing seeds of doubt about the reforms implemented by the state.” Aghamali called Ahmadov biased, accusing his colleague of insulting the Parliament and its members. Another MP Razi Nurullayev, also condemned Ahmadov for giving an interview to Huseynov, whom he called “an ill-mannered person.”

The opposition leader, chairperson of the Azerbaijan Popular Front Party (APFP) Ali Karimli said that the harsh criticism Ahmadov received for his interview showed how totalitarian the regime is. “Although Vahid Ahmadov spoke some truths and voiced some criticisms, he actually defended the government. However, they are used to working with people who are totally obedient, and they did not understand Vahid Bey’s mild criticism with subtle support. The referral of Vahid Ahmadov‘s case to the Disciplinary Commission of the Milli Majlis for review will bring shame to our country all over the world. For a long time, the Azerbaijani government has been described in international reports as an authoritarian family rule and kleptocracy. However, what is happening now shows that the Azerbaijani government has even gone further. In a country where the opposition is not allowed to enter the Parliament if an independent MP who supports the government is brought before the Disciplinary Commission of the Parliament for his light criticism, this already indicates the beginning of the establishment of total control and totalitarianism in the country.”

The Disciplinary Commission of the Milli Majlis will hold a meeting to reprimand MP Ahmadov, who said in an interview with Huseynov that “only three MPs were elected by the people to the Milli Majlis.”  The news of the MP being reprimanded for expressing his views is outrageous, said Fuad Gahramanli, member of the APFP. “This is nonsense. It is officially recognized that even an MP in the country cannot express his opinion freely. The reaction shows that they are intolerant of even the slightest objective opinion. After this, what rights and freedoms will the country where even an MP does not have the right to express his independent opinion offer to the Armenians in Karabakh? Such a strong reaction should not be allowed, and tomorrow the enemies will use it against us in the Karabakh issue. Vahid Ahmadov is not an oppositionist to be considered a threat. It seems that the government is at such a hysterical level that it sees a threat to itself even in the opinions of a small number of people within itself, whose opinions would be normally tolerated.”

Journalist Seymur Hezi also said that the attacks against Ahmadov show that even a high-ranking politician who has immunity doesn’t have the right to free expression. “There is no freedom of expression in Parliament, where there is absolute immunity. This is how embarrassing the situation is in the country.”

Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the Ground Forces, Colonel-General Alexander Lentsov, who has served in military operations in Afghanistan, Chechnya, Bosnia, South Ossetia, and Syria, has been appointed commander of the Russian “peacekeeping” contingent in Karabakh.

Member of the APFP Fuad Gahramanli commented on the new appointment, saying Moscow demonstrates its readiness to keep its influence in the region at any cost.  Gahramanli: “It is likely that Russia is planning new clashes in the region by using its military presence in Karabakh to prevent the peace agreement that will be reached without its participation. And General Lentsov, as a true professional in this matter, can ensure the better implementation of Moscow’s plans. In this case, the separatist government of Karabakh is the main tool in the hands of Moscow. It seems that Araik’s speeches with war rhetoric in recent days are related to this new development. Moscow takes into account that it may suffer heavy losses and retreats in the face of the expected counter-offensive of the Ukrainian army in May. This may lead to overcoming some of the restrictions created by the Russian military presence in Karabakh and to the Azerbaijani army gaining more freedom of movement. Therefore, by sending one of its most experienced generals not to Ukraine but to Karabakh, Moscow sends a clear message that if there are any changes in the current positions, Russia will prevent it militarily.”

Chairperson of Azerbaijan Democracy and Welfare Party (ADWP) Gubad Ibadoghlu said that Aliyev acts like “a director of a company rather than a leader of a country,” referring to Aliyev’s official visit to Bulgaria for a new gas deal. Ibadoghlu: “Heydar Aliyev established a family rule in Azerbaijan, not a state, and Ilham Aliyev created a family company from the dynastic regime inherited from his father, and for 20 years, he has been treating the people not as a citizen of the country, but as an employee of his company. Neither Heydar Aliyev nor Ilham Aliyev could become a statesman. Because Ilham Aliyev could not build a state from the power left by his father, he built a family company. Although he has been in power for twenty years, he still behaves not like the head of the state but like the head of an oil and gas company. Since 2003 he personally engaged in oil sales and gas trade. However, SOCAR should be involved in these matters, not the president.”

Israel Aerospace Industries will supply Azerbaijan with two satellites for $ 120 million. Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen, who visited Baku last week, confirmed the news that “Azerbaijan chose an Israeli company in a satellite procurement deal.” Israel also reached an agreement with Baku to sell water desalination equipment to Azerbaijan. Last week, Azerbaijan’s national space agency, Azercosmos, reported that it had lost contact with the observation satellite Azersky. According to the Agency, the satellite was damaged by a collision with a meteorite or space debris. Israeli companies have also supplied Azerbaijan with advanced spy techs, such as Verint and the Pegasus spyware, which were used against journalists, the LGBT community, and human rights activists in Azerbaijan.

April 28, 2023