Center for National and International Studies
“Approximately 94 percent of the state funding (41.4 million manats) is allocated to the universities that belong to the members of the ruling family.”
(Lack of) Human Rights and Liberties
Exiled Activist Tural Sadiqli reported that his house is being watched by unknown persons who are planning an attack on him. Sadiqli’s post on social media reads: “a criminal group of 4 people was sent to Germany to carry out an operation against me. They found out my registered address in Germany and walked around the house for more than a week. Their images were captured on cameras around the house. The group was sent on the eve of Ilham Aliyev‘s visit to Brussels. They thought that I would probably go from London to Brussels to protest Ilham Aliyev and visit my house in Germany. That way, they planned to catch me. The police know their identities and have already checked their passports. The investigation is underway. Most likely, they have already left Germany. I ask human rights activists, media representatives, and political organizations in Azerbaijan to pay attention to this issue. Because this order came directly from the Presidential Administration in Azerbaijan.”
Saleh Rustamli, who was released from prison by a pardon, left Azerbaijan for Russia. Rustamli said that he will continue to be with those who work for Azerbaijan to become a democratic, prosperous state. “This process is going on all over the world, and I want to tell those who want to prevent it not to try because it is impossible,” Said Rustamli.
Pasha Umudov, the driver of the chairman of the Popular Front Party Ali Karimli, was released by a presidential pardon. He was arrested for drug trafficking, possession, and transportation. Umudov, who was sentenced to four years and six months in prison, was imprisoned for two years and eight months. Umudov never pleaded guilty and said that the real reason for his arrest was working as Ali Karimli‘s driver.
A soldier of the Azerbaijani Army, Mehrali Mammadov, died on May 27 from non-combat injuries. Mehrali Mammadov, born in 2003, and serving in the Kalbajar region, is said to be from Oksan village of Tovuz region. Relatives of Mamamdov told Meydan TV that Mehrali Mammadov was involved in the construction work. According to his family, Mammadov died due to non-compliance with the safety rules at the construction site. The Defense Ministry responded to APA’s inquiry that an investigation is underway into the soldier’s death.
On Saturday, Razi Alishov, a member of the Ganja branch of the Popular Front Party, was detained by the Nizami district police of Ganja. His family was told they were investigating the allegations of drug trafficking.
Veteran Kanan Mansur oglu Veliyev, a participant of the Second Karabakh War, born in 1998, a resident of the Khachmaz region, committed suicide. Another member of the army, sergeant Shiraliyev Janmirza Chingiz oglu of the Horadiz frontier detachment of the State Border Service, was said to have committed suicide. According to independent journalists, since the war of 2020, about 30 veterans have committed suicide for various reasons.
Governance and Corruption
Saturday marked the 104th anniversary of the Azerbaijani Republic, which is considered the first parliamentary republic in the Muslim East. However, president Ilham Aliyev’s remarks about the founding fathers of the Republic and diminishing their role at the expanse of his father, former president Heydar Aliyev stirred criticism. In his speech, Aliyev said that by making concessions over the Irevan region, the founders of the Republic committed “a serious crime”. Director of Baku Research Institute historian Altay Goyushov argued that by such accusations, Aliyev aims to boost the image of his regime, which is well known as an authoritarian rule. Goyushov wrote: “To strengthen this propaganda, Ilham Aliyev often targets the two most memorable periods in the history of Azerbaijan. The first, of course, is the heritage of the first Republic of Azerbaijan. At almost every opportunity, Aliyev condemns the first Republic, accuses it of handing over Yerevan to Armenia, and calls it a crime. Aliyev considers the independence of this republic as a formality and even tries to tarnish its image by saying that the adoption of Azerbaijan’s national symbols was agreed with foreign states and generals. He urges not to exaggerate the importance of the republic and to write history books according to its own version of history. Leaders of the ruling party have repeatedly promoted the idea that the democratic system of the Republic is a source of its internal weakness and that this will eventually lead to its collapse. Aliyev is attacking the former Popular Front government with even harsher accusations. ”
Activist Bakhtiyar Hajiyev reacted to Aliyev’s speech by pointing out the corrupt nature of the current administration. Hajiyev wrote: Take a look at the family system you set up, the properties you bought in London and Dubai in the last 30 years, the billions you took offshore, the criminal ministers, committee chairmen, staff members that you appointed, and then talk about the people who tried to build the Republic.”
Chairperson of APFP Ali Karimli said that the reason why Aliyev hates the founding fathers of the Republic is that the democratic nature of first Republic is in total contrast with Aliyev’s family rule. Karimli wrote: “Rasulzade is a symbol of freedom, independence, justice, republicanism, honesty, unconditional service to the people for present and future generations. Therefore, those who usurped power, oppressed the people, plundered the wealth of the people, sold national interests for personal gain, and replaced the republican government with family rule do not understand, appreciate and love Rasulzade. But thankfully, the majority of our people are for freedom, justice, honesty, and a government that can be elected and changed. Therefore, the majority in this country is in favor of Rasulzade. Hundreds and millions of statues of Rasulzade have been erected in the hearts of Azerbaijanis.”
Journalist Seymur Hezi said that in his speech president Aliyev deliberately avoided mentioning Russia and its occupation of the country. Hezi wrote: Ilham Aliyev does not mention Russia not only when talking about tragedies such as Black January 20 and the Khojaly massacre, but also about the Russian occupation of April 28, 1920. But instead, he targets Rasulzade. It is very easy to understand because like Putin, he glorifies the history of the Russian occupation.”
MP Siyavush Novruzov, chairman of the parliamentary committee on regional issues, made a controversial statement. Novruzov addressed the parliament: “I propose to award orders and medals to those who fight against bloggers who use unethical language against the parliament and the state of Azerbaijan.” The MP said that today there are people, public organizations, and circles that disrupt socio-political relations and damage the environment: “They oppose the success of Azerbaijan and the policy pursued by our country. Today, there are bloggers who disrupt the stability and damage the national and moral values of the people. They voice unethical and immoral opinions against the deputies of the Milli Majlis, as well as the state and the head of state. I think that those who fight against them should also be awarded orders and medals.”
Chairperson of Azerbaijan Democracy and Welfare Party Gubad Ibadoghlu shared statistics on the state funding for universities. According to the research, approximately 94 percent of the state funding is allocated to the universities that belong to the members of the ruling family. Ibadoghlu wrote: “According to the distribution of subsidies from the state budget in 2021 by administrative classification, it is known that 41.4 million manat subsidies were allocated to all universities operating in Azerbaijan. Five universities received shares from the allocated budget. 46.37% or 19.2 million manats of the total subsidies were allocated to ADA University (president of the University Pashayev Hafiz Mirjalal oglu,), 29.95% or 12.4 million manats to the Baku Branch of Moscow State University, named after MV Lomonosov (rector Pashayeva Nargiz Arif gizi), 17, 63 percent or 7.3 million manats to the Baku branch of the First Moscow State Medical University named after Sechenov (rector Aliyev Aziz Jamil oglu), 4.1 percent or 1.7 million manats were allocated to Baku State University, and finally 1.9 percent or 0.8 million manat to the Azerbaijan Medical University. Other universities have not received a single penny of subsidy. As can be seen, 93.95% of the budget subsidies provided to universities have reached the universities that are owned by the family members of the first lady Mehriban Aliyeva.”
Journalist Seymur Hezi criticized the government for misusing the budget on mega projects in the liberated territories while hundreds of war veterans struggle to make the end meets. Hezi wrote: “Our people are already tired of seeing the same scenes. Airports are being built in areas where there are no asphalt roads or highways. There is no question that this is a corruption project. There is an airport in Fizuli, but no one lives there. In Zangilan also, they build an airport and a mosque while in reality, no one lives there. The families of those who died for liberating Fuzuli and Zangilan and those who lost their health are struggling to feed themselves. Hundreds of millions of dollars have been stolen from the people, and those who squander money on corruption projects have no right to rule this nation.”
May 31, 2022