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Center for National and International Studies




The most popular topics continue to be the results of local elections, preparation to the upcoming parliamentary elections, the detention and beating up of the local election candidate and popular blogger Mehman Huseynov, publication of the list of parliamentary election candidates by the ruling party

The FB users widely and with great concern share news about disappearance of the blogger Mehman Huseynov, who ran for the local elections, and then by news that he was severely beaten up by policemen. Nurlan Libre, Ilkin Rustamzade, Azadlig Newspaper and many others posted information, that Mehman Huseynov has been detained and brought to the police department 9 and was severely beaten and tortured by 6 people, after that taken to Lokbatan ( distant settlement at the periphery of the city) and left there. With many injuries, torn clothes, traces of tortures on his body he was taken to the hospital. Rasul Jafarov of REAL posted a statement on behalf of the REAL’s election coalition with independents, which reminds that the coalition agreed to participate in the elections without pre conditions, but the recent events urge them to put forward certain demands: the case of beating of Mehman Huseynov should be objectively investigated and those who did it- punished, 2) the series of repressions which started with arrest of the rapper Paster should be stopped 3) all the obstacles to registration of our candidates ( such as Ilgar Mammadov, rasul Jafarov, Zaur Gurbanli) should be lifted and new ones not created.4) we will follow and monitor all the steps of the government which have an impact on this election and retain the right at any moment to adopt the decision about non-participation in the upcoming parliamentary elections.”

Gubad Ibadoglu of ADR writes about 15 year old Azerbaijani mathematician who was accepted to Stanford University. He recalls that he knew his father Orkhan Hasanaliyev when he had a fellowship at North Carolina at the University at Chapel Hill. His son Kanan by the 6th grade at school has already fulfilled the programme of the 9th grade. Upon the completion of the school, he will move to California with his family.

Centre for National and International Studies Yadigar Sadyghli recalls a story from the prison;” There was a shy guy, who had no any powerful relatives, or any other network behind him, and whose nickname was Bedolaga ( in Russian means Unlucky). He was very quiet and of 2 years 6 months he already was in prison for 2 years. Watching his soft character, I went to the chief of the prison to ask if they could let him free for conditional sentence. He in turn explained for the second trial he has to pay 85 manats. I have told his relatives that if they pay, he will be free.Only one relative gave 5 manats, but then I called my relative and he brought 100 manats. Then there was a second trial and Bedolaga was freed under conditional sentence 6 months before the end of his prison term. The prison chief said to me, that he knew everything, and that I helped him to get money for the second trial, but he was surprised why did not I use this opportunity for myself? I have answered that this was a different case- and that was a matter of principle,as I do not recognize those charges”.

The next day he comments as a candidate collecting the signatures:” Only during the process of collecting the signatures I realized the problematic nature of not allowing women taking photos for the documents in hijab. When asked to bring their IDs many of them did not – under various excuses- some do not show them at all, the others- write their data on the piece of paper, some even make of paper sort of cap and put on their photo in ID. Some say the ID expired, somethat they lost. It might be true, but it caused doubts in me and I think they simply do not want to show it. Even when they bring IDs to me, I am trying to write in their data as quickly as possible. It is easy to see the face in hijab, it is not problem to identify the person, so this prohibition seems meaningless and contradicts human rights”. Yadigar Sadyghli also comments on Ziyafet Askerov, who is already the 4th time running for the parliamentary elections from the Lenkoran-Astara electoral district. “ Of course, if there were locals Rufat Abbasov, or Hadi Rajabli running instead of him the local population would hardly benefit from it either, but as they say in Chechov’s Cheery Orchard “ Every indecency has its own limits” What is your connection to this region?!” Yadigar Sadyghli also reports that despite the assurance of Mazahir Panahov everyone will get the additional signature forms, his request to get them was rejected at the 73 district level.

Centre for National and International Studies The FB users of the older generation share the information and mourn the death in Germany of the opposition member in exile Rafig Hasan, who was the local head of executive if Yevlakh region in 1992-1993 during the Popular Front government. He was committed democrat, true representative of intelligentsia, a poet and has been active in opposition movement until his last days.

The FB share the news about award named after late Nargiz Yagublu, Musavat activist and daughter of Tofig Yagublu ( whose 30th anniversary commemorated democratic and civil community) given to the human rights activist Ogtay Gulaliyev (who was seriously injured in the car accident) and still is in come in the hospital in Turkey.

Political commentator Ramis Yunus, residing in the USA, writes: “ The recent official statements of the president Ilham Aliyev, as well as changes of cadres in transition of power to the clan of Pashayevs, who have been promoting Russian interests in all power structures for a long time, openly point to the Russian trace, and the upcoming parliamentary elections should be viewed in this context. Like in Ukraine they may result in the pro-Russian faction in the parliament. In other words, in Azerbaijan the 28th of May ( the date of establishment of ADR republic in 1918-L.A.) is again being replaced by the 28th April ( the date of establishment of Soviet power -L.A)., but it seems that people do not notice that, or just do not want to notice, unfortunately…”

Sancaq TV reports Mehman Huseynov’s information on falsification in local elections: “ The chief falsifier of the country Mazahir Panahov ( the chair of the Central Election Commission- L.A.) called on population to bring all the serious evidence of violations at the polling stations and promised that all these cases will be investigated. I personally brought to the CEC the videos on my flashcard of all the falsification, violations, intimidations, given to us fake protocols, carousels, the cadres who escaped with the protocols given them by the chair of commission, pressure on the observers, voting in our district of citizens registered in the other ones, pressure of police on voters, ballot stuffing, and voting by one citizen for a few others. The commission promised that they will investigate them. Ay, Mazahir, you can investigate it or not- this is your business, but I am going to scrutinize you using legal methods, be sure, in addition I prepared the creative ways of protest for you. Based on the collected by us evidence, the results of the elections should be eliminated. But thank you for showing us our mistakes, which means that we will be better prepared for Centre for National and International Studies the parliamentary elections- with greater team, observers, responsibility, and video cameras!!”

Natig Jafarli of REAL, who is running as a candidate for the parliamentary elections describes the process of collection of signatures for his candidacy:” In the morning I was at the 12th electoral district, where of each 5 houses in 3 I was recognized, and it created very positive impression. Many even remembered my slogan: “ The oil has finished, but we are here!” We need to increase the interest to elections, and our main rival is not YAP, but lack of trust and apathy of population. If we overcome this “rival” – then the victory will be ours. And it looks like YAP is also boycotting elections…:-)” And the next day he goes further in his speculations: “It looks like there will not be such a party as YAP in the upcoming parliamentary elections!”

Giyas Ibrahimov, the NIDA activist, comments: “ The special forces broke in Navalni office by cutting it with the “ bolgarka” ( a tool). When the police came to arrest me they did not enter the open doors being afraid of me making video of it, so it will be in the life broadcast in the internet. We overestimate the power of this regime. We simply are not aware of our own power…” He also shares the initiative of his friends to set up the group of observers and calls on FB users to join it.

Altay Geyushov writes on his timeline with irony: “ It appears that the government’s candidate at the 29th Sabayil district will be the head of the press-service of the Formula One contest Arpadarai. By that our government wants to say, that citizens of the district, where the FOrmula-One contest is being held are so happy by it, that they would like to see its press-service head as their MP

The FB users continue to discuss the arrest of the heads of local executive power. Tofig Yagublu writes: “ So how did you like that shocking video? The hidden camera showed how the deputy head Tatarov comes to his boss and delivers him collected bribe from the entrepreneurs and other actors in his region. I think there will be a continuation of this serial. The next video will be about the head Nizameddin Gasimov himself coming to the offices of the upper level bureaucrats giving them the share of collected bribes.. “ He also comments on the statement of president Aliyev regarding corrupt bureaucrats:  Usually
people say, as the president said about corrupt officials – “Let them at least be Centre for National and International Studies afraid of Allah”, when they do not see any possibility to win them over by any other means, or they are too weak to fight them. But if the president, who has enormous riches and has a capacity of literally deleting the whole generation from the earth, says that “ Let them be afraid of Allah” in regards the corrupt officials, what can you say?” Natig Jafarli of REAL also comments on this president’s statement. “ Hey, the bureaucrats, do not be afraid of us, people, we are not dragons, but be afraid of the law and criminal code, for that we need to establish rule of law and free and fair electoral system. Hey, a minister, public servant, MP, bureaucrat- do not be afraid of Allah either! Just love him, keep love to Allah inside of you, as he is not for fear, but be open for love and understanding. For that you need to understand the messages sent by him”.

Concluding on the substance of local elections, lawyer Aslan Ismayilov makes gloomy predictions: “ Taking into account that so far there was no reaction to the serious violations during the local elections, and the nature of candidates running so far for the parliamentary elections,there is no confidence in quality of upcoming elections, and if they are conducted with the mass violations, this may mean the end of our statehood”.

The news that rapper Parviz Guluzade ( Paster) was detained and held for a few days in the department of the fight with the organized crime of the Ministry of Internal affairs has been widely shared. The activists started campaign hashtag Free Paster! Ali Kerimli writes on his timeline: “ I demand freedom for Perviz Guluzade! Because one of the most popular rappers of the country Paster in his clip “The Gang” had a line “ I will capture the country as Pashabank” was held in the department for 4 days without any information about him and today it was known that he was given 30 days of administrative arrest. Most probably, he was tortured there. Here are some quotations from his songs: “ Every lyrics of my song turns into a problem”, “ I hide from others my respect for Rasulzade, Elchibey” , “ with the big belly, and no culture, you look like a policeman in the civilian clothes”, “ we will rob you, like the national customs agency” etc. The arrest of Paster is directly related to his creative work. This is Aliyev type reforms. I call on everyone to raise their voices in defence of Parviz Guluzade!” He later added: “ The campaign of defence of Paster was supported by all rappers. Mehbus Manzevi’s lyrics had the line “Keep your dirty hands away from us!” Earlier Camal Ali and Araz Slangue also expressed their feelings to the Statue Grandfather and under pressure had to leave the country.Xpert sang : “Rasulzade put cement to foundation – tear it, if you can!” Centre for National and International Studies Ali Kerimli concludes:” Our young people despite pressure of authorities are standing for the values of the republic. I told, that everyone who fights the youth is predestined to failure!” Ilkin Rustamzade of NIDA writes: “ I directly appeal to Vilayet Eyvazov ( the minister of interior) from here. Urgently free Paster- he did not insult, did not curse anyone, you cannot torment people simply for the right of freedom of speech!”

The FB users continue to discuss the fate of the sacked bureaucrats. Gozel Bayramli of Popular Front Party comments with irony: “ Any news from Ali Hasanov? There is nobody even to defend him.. He “worked” so hard, collected, has “eaten” and enriched himself, filled the stomachs of the others and here is such an unfortunate ending…” Tofig Yagublu also comments on the photo of Ali Hasanov in his very narrow new office in the Academy of Sciences widely shared by FB users and the articles published by the official newspaper Respublika, noting that it indicates that the authorities aim at both humiliating and punishing him. The information the next day confirmed these guesses. Along with others Gozel Bayramli shares an information that he was detained on his way to Germany allegedly for the medical treatment, and returned back to Baku, and comments: “ all your bad deeds are coming back on you, remember your role in my arrest, Ali Hasanov?”.

Journalist Natig Javadli writes about ruling party YAP preparation for elections: “In the age of internet the ruling party holds its closed meeting, and if after 1 hour there is still no list of the candidates, those who expect reforms from them has a very narrow mind”..

Altay Geyushov comments on president Ilham Aliyev’s statement, that those “who say that we did not see any benefits from Formula One contest are mistaken”. Geyushov writes: “ Muallim, when we said “us” we did not mean yourself. It is well known that you benefit greatly from it… You and we are separate”

The opposition journalist Nurlan Libre jokes on his timeline: “ A friend told me that there were rumours that my “rate” was 50 manats for not making videos at the polling station. Alas, I was only at the Rabiyya’s  (The candidate feminist activist Rabiyya Mammadova – L.A.) polling station working all the e-day. But
at least my “ rate” is increasing- before they would tell that these journalists were working only for 10 manat worth doner sandwich.. Well. with this speed Centre for National and International Studies who knows may be the next year my name will appear in the list of journalists racketeers”.

Altay Geyushov writes about history of Azerbaijan. He reminds that intellectual elite of the country was actively participating in the governance during Khrushov thaw and it has tremendous impact on the country’s development. The law of language was adopted in 1956. The young writer Shikhali Gurbanov, who as one of the party leaders, restored the celebration of the national holiday Novruz Bayram. But he dies under suspicious circumstances. In 1968 there was a revolt in Czechoslovakia, which was suppressed by tanks. The next year- 1969- Heydar Aliyev was brought to power by Moscow. He cleansed 80% of the party apparatus from the intellectual elite. At the party Congress Aliyev blames intellectuals in nationalism and betrayal of the Soviet ideals. Meritocracy is blocked in the country by his policies. People like Ramiz Mehdiyev are brought to power. The regionalism, clan relations, corruption reaches extreme levels, and the information about size of bribes given by Aliyev to Moscow spreads quickly among people. This results in many years of awarding Aliyev by Moscow by the prestigious order – the passing Red Banner. It is evident, that such scale of corruption has an effect on the country’s economy and it leads to the fact, that resource rich Azerbaijan has lower social indicators than in neighboring poor Armenia and Georgia.

Natig Jafarli was interviewed by the newspaper Ayna.az. He was asked to comment on the list of the candidates of the ruling party YAP, which announced that 70% of the candidates are young people. He responded, that part of the list includes MPs who were there for a few terms, which does not respond to the logic of its dissolution. On the other hand, all the young people have no respective background and are totally unknown. He also stressed that belated appearance of the list reflects the intra-elite struggle, but suggests that in the future parliament there will be more people who are known to public, but Centre for National and International Studies supported by the government under the name of “independents” at the expense of the official list of YAP’s candidates. Last elections there will be 70 MPs from the party, and this time, as Jafarli suggests there will be near 40-50 of them. He also suggests that the government will create a new ruling party, which might be more flexible than the old one. He also warns against identifying the reforms with the appointment of young cadres. In his previous posting Natig Jafarli shares his ordeal with the Ministry of Taxes about “ non-existent” debt, which takes a lot of time and energy of both himself and his legal defender.

Giyas Ibrahimov of NIDA who passionately promoted participation in the upcoming parliamentary elections and argued with the Popular Front Party and National Council members who boycotted elections, tells the story of his attempt to register as a candidate. He shares the story of unexpectedly receiving the signature forms and other documents and beginning door- to- door collection of signatures, which appeared to be quite a challenging task. After three days of hard work, he was informed that his criminal record was not deleted and he cannot run as a candidate. In spite of not allowed to participate, he promises to be active during elections and call on all his followers to participate.

December 30, 2019