Center for National and International Studies
FB users have been posting, sharing and commenting on the parliamentary elections, relations between the opposition and the government, intra-opposition debates, events in Iran, economic and social situation in the country, high consultative meeting by the president Aliyev.
Ruzgar Movsum reminds that on the 13th of January the sentence of 6 years behind bars was read to the investigative journalist Afghan Mukhtarli, who was kidnapped in Georgia for writing about the illegal business of the president Aliyev and his family and corruption in the Defence Ministry. “ On the one hand, in the critical for the country time you have a hero activist who is held in prison, while -on the other hand – actively involved in trade in Russia president “
Yadigar Sadyghli, who is running in these elections, also recalls that the same day in 2014 the Lenkoran court sentenced him for 6 years in prison, but he was amnestied after 2 years and 9 months, although despite frequent suggestions to appeal for amnesty, he has rejected it. He posts his last speech at the court and says that he is proud of that.
Activists, journalists, PFP members actively share and comment on administrative arrest for 30 days of the Popular Front activist Elzamin Salayev. The deputy leader of PFP Gozel Bayramli reports : “ Today 3 PFP activists Nijat Abdullazade, Jeyhun Novruzov and Elzamin Salayev were applied force and taken to the 8th police station. While first two were released with provisional charges, Elzamin Salayev received 30 days of arrest sentence. This is obviously a political request and is related to the video of a policeman’s behaviour, which they made The journalist Seymur Hezi writes with irony: “ Even when we ( Popular Front -L.A.) do not participate in elections, you still arrest our activists.. Do you want to force us to participate this way?” Ali Kerimli, the PFP leader, states: “ The Ministry of Internal Affairs reminded that this was 2020. Indeed, the new wave of repressions against opposition started last year. In 2019 in connection with the public rally and other activities 100 of PFP functionaires were arrested ( 2 charged with criminal, 98 with administrative offences ) The activist of the Salyan branch of the PFP Elzamin Salayev was now arrested for 30 days, after he was arrested 4 times only in 2019. It is getting harder to be in real opposition to this regime. But as you can see it is possible thanks to the people who are not afraid of arrests. Most importantly, majority of people are now opposed to this corrupt and criminal regime.
Natig Jafarli of REAL appeals to the readers in connection with the beginning of the election campaign this saturday to be more active and join the team of observers at his electoral district , which he hopes to bring to 100. ( now there are 25). Natig Jafarli ‘s electoral district is number 12 Garadagh-Binagadi-Yasamal.
Tofig Yagublu reminds that 100 years ago the created by our founders the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic and her tricolor flag was recognized at the Versaille Peace Conference and by the whole world and with that our country joined the handful of democratic states in the world.” 100 years after Azerbaijan thanks to the regime of Aliyev’s joined the handful of the most anti-democratic states in the world… And thanks to ourselves too…”
The journalist Nurlan Libre comments on relations within the opposition camp. “ It looks like only when one speaks about Ali Kerimli, his functionaires all are rushing to disturb that person on FB..There are other parties and movements in the country- REAL, Musavat .. Why none of them do the same, although I also criticise their leaders? Is not it enough…? And then after that the PFP members would swear that they do not have a personality cult..”
Gubad Ibadoglu makes a statement on his timeline: “ Putin’s prime-minister resigned. In the history, when the end of dictators is approaching, they start reforms”
On domestic social issues he comments: “ As a tradition in January the pension payments are delayed by the government.. They are already 4 days late.. Don’t they know that pensioners are surviving on 200-250 manats and the delay is absolutely unacceptable? I received hundreds of letters from pensioners complaining that they cannot get their pensions..and I urge the responsible persons to resolve the issue as soon as possible..”
The expert on law in media Alesger Ahmedoglu analyses the income of the Public TV and the prices on the minute of commercial advertisement broadcasting during election campaign which it established as 4,602 manat during the prime-time and 1,558 manat during the rest. He asserts that based on his calculations the minute of advertising during the year 2 manat 22 copeks, as the declared income from ads of the Public TV 105, 192 minutes in 2015 was 257, 255 manats. Although the law on Public Broadcasting obliges transparency and regular financial reporting to public, the last audit was in 2015, so for 5 years there was no transparency. So , he asks the question, based on what are such high prices established by the Public TV? May be the real income of the Public TV is much higher?
The video, which became the reason of the 30 days sentence of the PFP activist Alizamin Salayev, shows that he tries to stop the police captain in Salyan region who was mistreating 21 year girl. Responding to that police says: “ Are not there other men in her family, that you are getting involved?” “It looks like, comments Taleh Khasmammadov, Alizamin was punished for the honored behaviour”
FB users discuss the death threats to the activist Bakhtiyar Hajiyev, who studied at Harvard and was a political prisoner, the last information being that the offender was found ( he was listed as wanted). Ali Kerimli also expressed his concern regarding the death threats to the activist.
They also share the information that the Iranian news anchor resigned saying that she has been lying to people for 13 years of her work.
Ilkin Rustamzade continues commenting on the topic of capital punishment: “ He/she does not get involved in politics, does not support democratic process, does nothing for the future of his/her children, criticises ones, who do, but plays “ citizenship” games and demands capital punishment. The sister of the suspect made a public statement, that this confession was made under torture, and in general he was not the one who found the dead body of the girl, what was declared by the policemen, as the population said on \BBC.Congratulations, supporters of the capital punishment, the investigation is already lying to public…”
The president’s inconsistency in his foreign relations is also subject of comments. Tofig Yagublu writes: “ It is like not himself, but I was speaking against the EU recently.. At the yesterday official meeting the president spoke about strong ties with the EU and serious efforts on the way to conclude the agreement with this organization.. This is just another evidence that he does not understand what he is saying..”
The high level consultative meeting by the President has been commented on by many FB users.Besides comments on EU., Tofig Yagublu, also quotes fragment of the meeting regarding domestic policy. The president mentioned to the finance minister Samir Sharifov: “ Look, I am asking you simple questions, but you are reading me a lecture in response” Yagublu comments:” At least Sharifov read lecture on the topic,,, It’s been many years since we were asking clear and simple questions on important issues to the president and in response he would either makes us arrested, or will tell non-related fairy tales”
Natig Jafarli comments on the statements by the president Aliyev at the meeting related to the economic issues. He comments specifically on the president’s statement, that the consumer’s credits are increasing, which is dangerous, and that business credits are decreasing, which is also dangerous.” The problem is that business is like a young deer, which runs away as soon as it sees a threat. The businessmen who bring their commodities are ministers, who are not interested in market economy and competition. The consumers credits are increasing because business has short term interests and activities – “today I have bought, tomorrow will try to sell”- as there are many risks for businessmen. There is no fair justice system. no protection of private property etc.”
Ali Kerimli of PFP also comments on the high level meeting called by the President. He writes:” At the meeting devoted to the results of the 2019, the president said, that it was a very successful year, and all the goals which were put in the beginning of the year, were achieved by the end of it. Its been for 16 years that the president every time praises the results of each year…, If this is so, then why millions of our citizens left the country to find jobs abroad? The government asserts that there is no money for the child benefits, thousands of people are deprived of the targeted social protection, young people- of free education, or millions of people cannot benefit from the health system… Then the question arises: what specific goals did the president put last year. and all previous ones, so that fulfillment of them led to such a desperate condition of our people?”
Isa Gambar reports about the meeting of the National Strategic Think Tank, which he leads, devoted to the commemoration of the 20th of January 1990- the day, when Soviet troops occupied Baku, resulting in 150 dead and 700 injured.
Yadigar Sadyghli writes on his timeline with humour: “ Whoever wrote the wikipedia article about Hadi Rajabli ( notorious MP, who is a head of social policy committee – L.A.), or may be he wrote it himself, tell him, that he graduated not the Eating Industry Institute, but Nutrition industry institute. The latter already has a doubtful reputation, but the former sound even worse..”
Gubad Ibadoglu focuses on the tourism industry in the country as compared to that in neighbouring Georgia. He brings statistics, proving that the annual number of tourists traveling to Georgia is two times higher than to Azerbaijan. He explains it by the high prices due to the absence of competition in economy, including tourism industry. He says that 1 tourist to Azerbaijan has the same cost as 2 tourists in Georgia, which weakens position of the country in the region. So he advises the government to attract to Azerbaijan at least half of the tourists who visit Georgia. For that the prices in the service sector should be decreased , while the quality of the services- increase.
Seymur Hezi comments: “ A mother tries to defend rights of her son – writes to the president, but is not received, then starts to raise noise, protests, the police says- this is not the way out.. So then what is? To commit suicide? Or to keep silence and bend? How long this tormenting experience will last for the country’s citizens?!”
Ali Inglabci comments with irony on official statistics: “ It appeared that the average salary in Azerbaijan is 720 manats… I do not know about the average, but my pockets have never seen such money..”
Ilkin Rustamzade recalls: “ It was a year ago. The prison was filled with Gestapo, those in black masks, and they were threatening us with worst tortures if we do not stop the hunger strike. But we did not. Although the guys Ehsen, and Elchin , who were then with us- are still in prison, I am sure they also remember that victory with pride”
Tofig Yagublu writes: “ This regime has committed lot of crimes, one of which is that we resort to the country, which occupies us to get better examples of governance. In fact it should be the opposite, Armenians, while occupying us, should have been looking at the situation with democracy, rule of law in our country with envy. .Like Abkhaz are now looking at Georgia…Prime – minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinian came to give a testimony by the invitation of the ordinary investigator. ..”
Altay Geyushov comments on Aliyev’s mentioning taxi system in Baku. “ Mister president, leave the taxis alone. As a Bakuvian I can confirm that the most effective and cheapest transport service in the city are taxis. And this is the situation in the area which has free competition as a result of failure to monopolize it by the minister of transport Ziya Mammadov The state should stay away from it, as once it gets involved- the corruption rules, and as a result the prices are rising, while the quality falling. In all civilized countries at each stop there are electronic boards showing when the next bus or else will come. I remember when they brought such boards to Baku, but none of them worked. Moreover, the boards in the metro work, but they show not when the next train comes, but how long ago the last one left the station…Nobody needs to know how long ago the train has left… The other problem in the metro are stampedes.. If you find solutions to these problems, it will not be bad at all. But leave taxis alone, they work perfectly well without the interference of state..”
January 16, 2020