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Center for National and International Studies


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The sanctioned by the authorities protest action by the National Council ( Milli Shura) on the 8th October– a picket in front of the Baku City Council –  was widely discussed by the FB users. In particular, the video of an ordinary woman,  Pervane Ahmadova, who in response to the “ supporter” of the current regime appealing to the people to follow leadership of Aliyev in protection of Karabagh, strongly criticized the president. Her video was widely shared and spread among users. For instance, Kanal Turan shared Meydan TV’s video under the title “ The diplomacy lesson of the simple woman to the president Aliyev”. The woman exclaims: Where is Karabagh, why it is still under occupation for 25 years and Pashinian is having fun there? How long should we wait for? It is enough to deceive people – they see and understand everything! Our children are hungry- why do not they give children’s benefits? Stop pretending! You, bought off!”. The other women are crying: “ We say no to Aliyev’s regime! As a young person – I do not want to live, than live under this regime, my father is a Karabagh war victim, I die every day,, Resignation to Aliyevs!” The Musavat acitivist Tofiq Yagublu says that “we need Meydan as a place of protests, which they protect as “ a strategic” object. ( He refers to the many years of the prohibition of the protest meetings in the city Center, especially at the place of a mass meetings in the end of 80s- Freedom Square- Meydan). The videos show the high level of social tension and desperation by accumulated problems- poverty, absence of freedom and justice. The popular slogan was “Resignation!”. The participants were reporting the application of gas against protesters and brutal force, detentions, in spite of the officially allowed action. In particular, one of the videos was focusing on women-policemen, pointing to the brutality of detention of women protesters. The women were in general very active at this protest action, raising among other issues, of how come the children of the ministers with no work experience have billions of dollars saved abroad.

The Musavat party on the 9th October held the debates of three major candidates to the upcoming elections of the chair of this opposition party : the current chair Arif Hajili, and two members of Divan Tofiq Yagublu and Yadigar Sadighly. ( former political prisoners). They answered the questions, addressing internal issues and foreign policy. They criticised lack of tolerance to pluralism voting, and decision making etc. Sadighly responded, that one of the main obstacles to resolution of the conflict is the negative international image of Aliyev – anti- democratic and suppressor of human rights. So first of all we will have to restore human rights in the country. Yagublu suggested, that opposition has little capacity to resolve the issue, but if there is war – they will stop activities of the party and will jointly defend the country. Arif Hajili said, that Party has a program on resolution of Karabagh conflict, criticized the authorities for not having any policy on this issue, and that such conflicts are currently resolved by the change of the international reputation and public opinion, not by the military way, so “that’s what we will do

The answer to the question will you choose integration in Europe as a chair of the party did not differ much between three of them. The current chair Arif  Hajili responded, that one of the republics’ founding three principles- is the European integration We are part of ALDE in the EP. We should be part of the EU and NATO, so we will defend ourselves from Russia and Iran forces. Yagublu: we should integrate  both  in  the EU and NATO- because of the economic and political freedoms, and defence capabilities. But we should be cautious, as Russia and Iran are powerful neighbours. Sadyghli: we should aim at being member of the EU. But we should be sober and learn from experience of Ukraine and Georgia, and try to integrate without provoking Iran and Russia. The last question was:

if you are not elected, do you think you will act similar to Gubad Ibadoglu? ( who did not reconcile with the results of the previous party elections, created his movement and was expelled from the party) Yagublu: If I loose elections, I will congratulate the winner and I am not going to leave the party. Sadighly: I am not going to leave, but  will not be in the leadership ( Majlis), will be a regular member of the party. Hajili: our party is a moral party. Media was laughing at me, that I suggested to embrace the losing candidates. Only after the anti- Musavat propaganda we evicted them. I will stay in the party.

The blogger Mehman Huseynov, former political prisoner posted a photo with himself in a bending position with the comments, whether he looks now as a possible candidate to the office of the prime-minister (hinting to the photos of the Azerbaijani officials in the similar self-humiliating postures).

The FB users, economists and activists are discussing Ali Asadov ( born in 1959) – the newly appointed prime minister on the 8th of October 2019, who was previously the president’s assistant on economic issues. Osmangizi TV interviewed Natig Jafarli of REAL party and Gubad Ibadoglu of ADR movement- both economic experts. The previous prime-minister Novruz Mammadov stayed in this position a year and a half ( since April 2018). The REAL representative expressed the opinion, that so far this post was purely formal and not serious. Gubad Ibadoglu suggested that may be a few reasons. One – that Novruz Mammadov could not get adjusted to all contradictory interests of the in-groups. This is an indication of the intensification of the struggle for power within the ruling elite. His role was a management of the ruling family’s economic and business activities. He is closer to the family. The second reason may be the result of Russia’s rapprochement, as the previous appointments also had the “ Russian influence”, as the previous one was French speaking pro-Western. But as Jafarli stressed they are all from one region- Nakhichevan. But it does not indicate the winning of one particular group, but there is re-distribution of resources in the conditions of their decreased amount. He has his own business interests, unlike the previous one. But he is not known as an economic expert, so his speech in the parliament reflected it. He will not create obstacle for the corrupt system, but rather will fit it. The Russia factor is less important by his opinion in this case, as Russia does not take this position seriously, contrary to the force ministries. But in general both stressed total absence of accountability of the government to the public.

The information about disappearance of the 16 year old opposition female activist Seyrane was shared among users.

On the 9th October the refugees and IDPs held a picket in front of the State Committee on Refugees Issues. The picket was characterized by high intensity of emotions. The participants told, that they did not want to live in such country, they have been living without houses, primitive conditions for 27 years. Some still lived in the bamboo, or basement premises in Garadag region, where some IDPs were settled. They complained about total absence of response by the bureaucrats in spite of numerous complaints. Children cannot go to school due to the poverty, absence of public transportations, people sick with cancer cannot afford treatment.  The video was viewed 37,000 times.

FB users continue discuss the issue of child benefits, they shared commenting with indignancy the statement by the deputy prime-minister and deputy chair of the ruling Yeni Azerbaijan Party Ali Ahmadov, that “ I do not think that our families need child benefits”. Earlier Statuskar quoted Altay Geyushov saying how can children receive benefits, if all the money are spent on 2 mln watch of one child of the minister?

Mikroskop Media posted a video how women-policemen brutally dragging by the street a woman- protester, despite then fact, that she informed them about her sickness.

Women share the posting by Seljan Yagmur, the daughter of the recently resigned deputy chairman of the Popular Front Party in connection with the domestic violence, who has presented the country’s wide geography of the cases of domestic violence, under the slogan of campaign “ Do not keep silence” ( Susma in Azerb. Language).

The activists are discussing the differences and relations between various political parties, mostly – toward the Popular Front Party, which is particularly active nowadays in arranging public protest actions. The academic and REAL party activist Altay Goyushev discusses the changing structure of Azerbaijan society and weaknesses of the Popular Front Party, who cannot get adjusted to emerging new classes, who are scared of the radical methods of the PPF. He claims that strength of the party is held only because the authorities fiercely suppressed the youth movement, but the changes will be brought exactly by the moderate and cautious young middle class, which is not the power base of the Popular Front. But there is not yet the political structure which would unite this new class. The Popular Front Party due to its structure cannot accommodate and attract this new class. REAL could not see this trend and looked at the Bangladeshi people listening to the songs of Uzeyir Mehdi zade as their social base. But in fact there is no party which mobilize this middle class yet. He then lists the social groups, who might be such a power base for the party like REAL: medical doctors, teachers, educated abroad youth, local students, fearless youth activists, Russian speaking population, at least in Baku a big group of medium and low level of bureaucrats, which need to be involved and motivated by the party. ( almost 900 reactions on FB). The comments varied- from the support to the sceptical and ironic comments.

On the other hand the youth leaders are debating the social protest as the way of struggle. Ilkin Rustamzade gave a support to the picket by the National Council in his posting describing how important was this demonstration of activism and solidarity, while the other former political prisoner Giyas Ibrahimov opposed him, criticising the traditional opposition, which lost the trust of the population.

October 11, 2019

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