Center for National and International Studies
Center for National and International Studies
“As the government’s jealousy against Rasulzade grows, so does the love of people for him…”
(Lack of) Human Rights and Liberties
A young member of APFP Niyameddin Ahmadov‘s appeal will be considered by the Court of Appeal on February 2. Ahmadov’s arrest on trumped-up charges, his illegal imprisonment for 13 years, and the torture he was subjected to led to severe criticism of the government. The independent journalists and the activists believe that the arrest was politically motivated.
Lawyer Ilham Aslanoglu was arrested for five months. Aslanoglu is one of the most prolific investigators of Tartar crimes. It was Aslanoghlu who publicized most of the complaints of the servicemen who exposed horrible tortures committed against them. Head of APFP Ali Karimli noted that if the authorities were interested in solving the crimes of Tartar, they would not arrest Aslanoglu. “If he is arrested, then the course of covering up Tartar’s crimes at the state level continues,” added Karimli.
Azadliq newspaper reports that the chairman of the Sharur branch of the Popular Front Party is threatened with death for his social media posts. Nazim Mahmudov, chairman of the Sharur branch of the Popular Front Party, is threatened on social media for criticizing the leadership of the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic. Nazim Mahmudov said he was even threatened with death. In his video posted on FB, Mahmudov spoke mainly about the authorities at the customs service, traffic police, and other public officers in the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic. He criticized the illegal activities and demanded an end to lawlessness.
Mirzayev Jafar Farmayil oglu, who was deported from Germany to Azerbaijan last November, was kidnapped by men in plainclothes while shopping in a grocery in Ramana settlement. His brother, Vusal Mirzayev, an activist of the Jalilabad District Branch of the Popular Front Party, said he was taken away by 5-6 people in two cars on January 27 at around 1 p.m. He was first taken to the Sabunchu District Police Office. The family members of Mirzayev called the police and were told that they would be informed within 24 hours. However, when they called again after 24 hours today, they were told that Mirzayev Jafar was not detained by the police.
Governance, corruption, transparency
The state-controlled national television channel AzTV canceled the broadcasting of a documentary about Mammad Amin Rasulzade, the founder of the Azerbaijani Democratic Republic that was a short-lived parliamentary republic before the soviet invasion in 1920. The documentary that was first scheduled to be broadcasted on the occasion of Rasulzade’s 138th birthday was later canceled. The trailer of the documentary in which Rasulzade was called “the true love of the Azerbaijani people” was aired on January 30, a day before Resulzade’s birthday. However, shortly after the program was canceled, to protest the decision of the TV, the producer Fakhraddin Hazanzadeh resigned from his position and left the TV channel. Many believe that the cancellation was due to political reasons. Although Resulzade is one of the founding fathers of the first Azerbaijani Republic (1918-1920), the pro-governmental media and officials present only the father of the current president, the former president Heydar Aliyev as the founding leader who was the president between 1993-2003. The cancellation caused debates on social media, with many arguing that because of the current government’s biased and one-sided approach towards history, Rasulzade’s legacy is not celebrated. Head of APFP Ali Karimli wrote that “as the government’s jealousy against Rasulzade grows, so does the love of people for him.”
Former chairman of Azerkhalcha Vidadi Muradov died while he was under house arrest. Muradov’s property worth 30 million manats was confiscated. Meydan TV reports that Muradov had 22 apartments in the adjacent buildings on Ganja Avenue in the Khatai district of Baku. Reacting to the Muradov’s case, activist Bakhtiyar Hajiyev said that considering that the head of a minor department managed embezzlement on this scale, it should not be difficult to imagine the amount of public funding looted by the higher-ranking officials. Hajiyev wrote: if a property worth 30 million manats is confiscated and from a person whose name we did not know before, who for five years was the head of an organization whose name is not known to the vast majority of the people, and if there are 400 such organizations, we can calculate the extent of looting. On this scale alone, if, let say, there are 400 such officials altogether, they would own properties worth 12 billion. Imagine how much had the heads of committees and agencies, heads of services, ministers, and deputy ministers stolen from the state budget!”
Tensions between the West and Russia over Ukraine
As the tensions between NATO and Russia grow politicians and independent thinkers keep reflecting on the possible scenarios and motives behind Russia’s foreign policy. In his analysis of Putin’s long-term plans for neighboring countries, the head of ADW party Gubad Ibadoghlu stated that the Kremlin wants the government in these countries to be formed not by the will of the people but by the will of the Kremlin. Ibadoghlu wrote: Russia wants to see the political authorities in the post-Soviet countries as its vassals. Russia wants the appointments to high positions in these countries to be made with the consent of the Kremlin. Kremlin does not want the independence of the judiciary in these countries. It wants to prevent free media activities in these countries, block free media, and persecute independent journalists. It wants the society in these countries to be morally degraded, lose its conscience and humanity, and submit to power. It wants it to be impossible to live a dignified and honest life in these countries. It wants the scientists and experts who do not submit to authoritarianism to emigrate to the West. Therefore, the democratic forces of the authoritarian post-Soviet countries must be mobilized and united in rejecting Putin and his vassals.”
Inglab Gadirbeyli, who was martyred in Shusha, was called to the police 15 months after his death. In a letter sent by the police to Gadirbeyli’s house, he was invited to the police and informed that he was charged with a fine. Gadirbayli’s family told Azadliq newspaper that it is a disrespect to the martyr and a clear indication of the authorities’ inability to perform their duties. Earlier this month, the pension of 67-year-old woman Hamayil Aliyeva in Agjabadi was cut on the grounds that she had died. During the 2020 parliamentary elections, at a polling station in Qazakh a man accidentally learned that one of his deceased relatives had already “voted”. To his surprise, the member of the polling station staff told him that “she died for you, but for us, she is still alive.”
Officer of the Azerbaijani Army, senior lieutenant Bagirov Fuad Allahverdi oglu’s body was found near Kalbajar district. According to independent media, four servicemen of the Azerbaijani army lost their way due to heavy snow and severe weather conditions. Three servicemen were found alive, and senior lieutenant Fuad Bagirov froze to death in the area. There is no official statement yet.
Azadliq newspaper reports that the pension of veteran, who lost his legs in the Second Karabakh War, has been suspended since autumn. The veteran had to travel to Baku and spend the night in the car for days in order to submit his complaints to the authorities.
Economic and Social Situation
In his post on FB on rising oil prices and poverty, chairman of APFP Ali Karimli notes that although the price of oil has increased sixfold in the last year alone, it has not had an impact on living standards. Karimli wrote: “Oil prices have risen six times last year, but according to official data, inflation was three times higher than the wage growth, and according to unofficial estimates, it is 6-7 times higher. As a result of inflation, the people became much poorer. Although a six-fold increase in oil prices has brought billions of dollars of additional income to the state budget benefits for war veterans, social support to IDPs, altogether, pensions of 211,000 people have been cut. Despite the rising prices of electricity, gas and other services, the salaries of teachers, doctors have not been increased.”
February 1, 2022