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Center for National and International Studies




FB users continue to discuss the 8 March Rally, the controversial slogan and its reaction by the public, attempt of suicide by the poster’s holder at the rally Aysel Alekberzade, reaction to it by the authorities, statements and new appointments by the president Aliyev, decline of the world oil price, opening session of the parliament of the new convocation, the crisis with foreign currency in the banks.

Khadija Ismayil reports that from blaming for the controversial poster at the rally of the woman participant people moved on to blaming the organizers. She brought an example of dozens of other slogans, which had clearly anti-discrimination message in a less provocative form and expressed her regret by the reaction of Ali Kerimli of PFP to the event and praised the reaction of  Natig Jafarli of REAL.

The economists and politicians intensely discuss the decline of oil price. Natig Jafarli recalls that 4 years ago he commented for a few media, including international, that the agreement between Russia and OPEC about decrease of oil production is meaningless as only the US will benefit from that because it promoted shale exploration. Mikhail Leontiyev of Rosneft yesterday said the same, that the reason of non-agreement of Russians with OPEC is that it will play into the hands of the US, who will increase its shale production.  He warns about the inevitability of depreciation of manat, along with double digit inflation, which this primitive economic model and hopeless government will not be able to resolve in effective way. He suggests an immediate creation of the Crisis Committee, or the Round Table, which would unite both government and independent experts and where the objective and truthful information will be shared. The decisions of the Crisis Round table should be implemented by the Cabinet of Ministers, which is turn should be monitored by the Civil Society Forum of the Crisis Round Table and media. He warns that the situation is very grave, and the government will not be able to resolve it with its fake statistics and pathetic thesis.The oil price will not be 30-35 dollars forever, it will fluctuate, but by the middle of the year it will be around 40 dollars and the country should take urgent preparations for that.

Ilkin Rustamzade of NIDA analyses the situation with oil production in the world and its impact on the region and Azerbaijan. He considers that the statement of energy minister  of Russia Novak, that Russia’s economy is prepared for the long-term low oil price is mere bluffing. While he considers, that dictators will not undermine each other, if there is a death-life situation they will be merciless to each other. Lets take Azerbaijan he says. Total capital of our Oil Fund and National Bank is 50 bln dollars, but in reality the amount of liquid assets is much smaller, and they did not tell how much. And also, after 2 depreciation experiences and exhaustion of its currency reserves, the government will not wait tooling before the next depreciation. As soon as they become aware of the fact, that oil will not rise in price soon, they will conduct another depreciation. Everyting in the end will be dependent on OPEC plus. If they do not come to an agreement, the next depreciation is inevitable.

He continues, that while oil auctions are being shaken and world is collapsing, the president reacts to that by sacking the rector of the Institute of Religion. This is a logical act, he comments with irony. If he prayed better in time, the oil would not lead us to this situation. The post-oil strategy, crisis management capacity is close to zero in this country.. So in the nearest future the fate of the country will be dependent on this institution. There is no alternative to the mass prayer to prevent the tragedies in the country.

Ordukhan Babirov, an activist in exile, with reference to Habib Muntazir, shares the report about properties and business of the MP, ex-journalist Ganira Pahsayeva.

Rabiyya Mammadova, ex-candiadte to the elections, and a feminist, responds to those who tried to blame her in harassing the policeman. Earlier the video of herself exclaiming the slogans in the face of a policeman was shared on FB with comments, that the rally participants were aggressive against the police. Since when, she asks- saying the slogans became a harassment? And what was this policeman ding when we were beaten up at the rally? I do not regret of anything I did to police- I did not violate either the law, or the limits.”

Ruzgar Movsum  defending Aysel and her slogan at the rally comments: “ So what? The person wrote that “vagina is mine”. Why are you attacking her? Is she not telling the truth? Is vagina yours then? “

Gubad Ibadoglu comments on whether there will another depreciation or not. He stresses that the decision will be made by the Central Bank, which may drag it at the expanse of its 6,5 bln dollars currency reserves, but will not be able to continue it. He suggests that if the depreciation of manat will take place it will not be as rough as before, but a softer one and proposes a few ways to manage the finances of the banks.

He also attracts an attention to the 28% of decline of the oil price to 32 dollars. Such a abrupt decline of the oil price will have an inevitable direct and strong effect on Azerbaijan economy. The budget of SOFAZ and the state budget were calculated to the oil price 50 dollars per barrell, which will create serious problems. The decline of the oil price will influence the income from gas and capacity of the SOCAR to fulfill its responsibilities before its employees and investors. From the experience of our country, we know, that usually authoritarian states get out of the situation by increasing the burden of taxes on population. He considers two scenarios of reaction of the government, but both he concludes will be a burden to the poorer layers of the population.

Seymur Hezi of PFP comments on the plans of the government to eliminate the true opposition by calling it the “ outdated one” and bringing in the new one. Making references to the elections on the 9th February, he states, that there is no middle class, which they want to attract as a new political force, because there are no economic and political freedoms. And the latter is what is the current struggle about.

The journalist Hezi Bey comments on the society’s reaction to the feminist rally on the 8th March. He considers that right, left or religious extremism is much more dangerous for the country that the slogan about vagina at the rally. “That’s why I think that political conversation about morality (ahlag) is meaningless. Let society discuss it, but political leaders should not raise the issue of morals because this notion is relative. One may agree, or disagree, but of all this powerful protest action to just distinguish and notice only that slogan is simply meaningless”

Altay Geyushov comments on the decline of the oil price.: “ I think the most fortunate for the Azerbaijani people would be if the oil price dies during the rule of Ailyevs’ and when they are sent to the history archives, will rise up again”.

FB users share the quotation from the Aliyev’s speech “ The observation tells that people fully support the results of elections”  and comment: “ the same old story”, “ would they dare to disagree?”, “ they agree to the power of clubs”

Natig Jafarli is ridiculing the statement of the director of the Central Bank Elman Rustamov, that “ Central Bank and the government has moved to the realization of the plan B.. “ Respectful  Elman muellim, let plan B be the sacrifice of your three hair strings, it is OK, but what about plan A, I am interested, what that was about?” He also reports that he went to 4 banks in the mornings and none of them had dollars for sale, he warned that the situation was difficult.

Khadija Ismayil, a journalist and former political prisoner, comments on the attracting her to interrogation by the prosecutor’s in connection with a suicide attempt by the feminist rally participant Aysel Alekberzade.  “ Besides everything, the low level of provocations annoy people.  I want to have a smart government, so they would be even hostile in a smart way, because this government’s hostility is as backward as themselves” She also reports about poor condition of the area of hygiene and sanitary conditions in the major clinics where the people with coronavirus are treated, where they do not replace ait filters and do not comply with the standards of the air cleanness.  She calls everyone who went there for treatment to be alerted and be careful.

Tofig Yagiblu comments on interrogation of Khadija Ismayil: “ I will not be surprised if Ilham Aliyev puts the blame for the decline of the oil price also on Khadija Ismayil “

Mehman Huseynov describes his feelings while watching the first session of the new parliament. He is indignant by the comfortable behavior of the deputies, who were elected in  the falsified elections and none of them found courage to take an opportunity and speak from the podium for the release of political prisoners. He calls them “cowards, sold off, faceless!” He explains their inaction by the fact. That they were all appointed by not elected. “ Yours is not National Parliament, yours is the Fake Parliament! Nobody, who has even a gram of self -respect would take a seat there!”

Altay Geyushov also comments on the opening session of the Parliament: “ It looks like the “parliament” is so “independent”, that the “ deputies” cannot even choose whom to sit next to- this is decided by the presidential administration for them”.

Javid Gara, who was also running in the last parliamentary elections, considers the biggest advocate of the sex business in the country is the authoritarian regime and personally Ilham Aliyev. By opening the borders to the tourists from the Gulf states he created all conditions for the prostitution. There are many young people, who left orphanages upon reaching the adult age and are out there without jobs any state support. So these people need not to be blamed but  helped.

Rabiyya Mammadova comments on the decision to interrogate Khadija Ismayil in connection with the suicide attempt of Aysel Alekberzade. She said, that she wished all this crowd who was blaming Aysel for the absence of morals would go out and with the same passion defend Khadija Ismayil. No, – she continues-they do not have guts, instead we have been under the non-stop terror from the side of this patriarchal part of the society, while the girls they are attacking are courageously fighting for their rights…. And I will repeat again and again- we will continue our struggle until the last woman is liberated”.

A journalist and blogger, former political prisoner and an election candidate Mehman Huseynov posts a picture of himself and his frined activist Fuad Ismayilov. He calls him courageous activist, who was standing for the fair elections and was struggling along with other activists against  falsifications, and even wrote “Fuu, Mezi” on the wall. But on the 7th March he was arrested and in the police department after giving him tortures, plant him drugs and sentence him to tow months in prison because he was resisting election fraud. Mehman Huseynov appeals to the parliament members especially those who were elected “fairly and justly “( apparently hinting on Erkin Gadirli of REAL) to raise their voice in support of Fuad Ismayilov.

Tofig Yagublu compares logic and political inconsistency of the president Aliyev to the first grade schoolchild. At the opening of the session of the parliament of the new convocation, he writes, the president stated that because of biasness of and thus lack of credibility in the European Union they did not invite their observers. On the other hand, OSCE/ODIHR is noted for this very critical stance, but they are invited. Then the OSCE?ODIHR mission again gives a critical assessment and the government is unhappy with that, so this is quite alogical – you either invite both of them , or none of them, he concludes.

Natig Jafarli addresses the theory, which he first heard from the taxi drivers, that the COVID 19 virus is the Masonic conspiracy, and America is behind it, to neutralize its enemies. He disproves this thesis by proving that the biggest damage will be made to American economy. He calls people not to be easily convinced by the conspiracy theories, as the economic and politics are much more complex  and need a deeper thinking

He also tries to defend decision of Erkin Gadirli to accept mandate of MP in the new Parliament. He considers, that may be now these people, who crticised him will see the benefits for the constituency of the presence of even one MP. But no, he concludes, people who have only a hammer in their hands, do not see anything but nails around them.

Ilkin Rustamzade alerts his followers regarding the internet and social networks. He considers them the democratsss’ only and the most powerful platform for discussions and sharing problems, which the government responds most seriously to. “And if this platform will be occupied and taken away from us by the stupid and low level people, we will turn into Turkmenistan and other. I am not speaking about specific people’s postings. In general, this problem is felt at most of the profiles and timelines of our activists and journalists. There is serious intervention

And we should do something about it urgently!”

FB users share and comment on an information that Ilham Aliyve appointed ex-MP Elmira Akhundova an ambassador to Ukraine. Gozel Bayramli of PFP reminds that her name is involved in corruption scandal, while her son’s in the criminal investigation… and in spite of that she was appointed. “ So what, she concludes, if Putin advised- let it be, the 5 column is ready for everything in Russia’s name”

Gullu Jangirova comments on low statistics of infected in Azerbaijan. “ I do not understand one thing- how come that they discovered only 12 infected in Azerbaijan, which is not so far from Ira and China, while 600- in Denmark, which is quite distant from both?”

“Does this mean that at last  the pressure on Azerbaijan has begun??” – Hikmet Hacizade comments on the official statement of president Aliyev, that nobody can put pressure on Azerbaijan or intimidate us by sanctions!.

The activists, journalists and bloggers actively share and comment on the appointment of the MP Saida  as a speaker of the parliament. She arranged a memorial contest in her Vocational Institute of Russian Language and Literature named after Primakov, who is held responsible in Azerbaijani society for the massacre on the 20th January1990, when he sent tanks to Baku. Seymur Hezi comments, ridiculing the content of her oath: “ MP, who praised the murderer Primakov should of course take an oath as a pioneer.”

The journalist Nurlan Libre reports yet another arrest of the activist. One of the activists of the Sharur region of Nakhichevan branch of PFP  Agayev Ayaz Yunis oglu on 8 March of 2020 was detained by the employees of the Sharur department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and is still kept in the police department.

Ali Kerimli of PFP commemorates the PFP member Khelgi Huseyn, who died a year ago, while still young because of the mistakes of the doctors. He stresses that he was a devoted to democracy and struggle for freedoms, courageous and honored young activist, but the health system destroyed by the Aliyev’s regime killed him.

Nurlan Libre comments on the suicide attempt as a result of bullying of Aysel Alekberzade and  expresses his hopes that those responsible would be punished. “ But in fact- this is the society itself to blame”, he concludes.

Ali Inglabci tells the story: Today we were near the mosque and my friends asked me to join them there for namaz ( the prayer). I categorically refused. To build the mosque  by stealing people’s money and violating their rights is against the principles of our religion. From the foundation to the very top here the rights of most of the workers were violated. Even if this is a mosque but  if the money are earned by exploiting slaves they are damned. I will not pray namaz here, as this Mosque is named after H. Aliyev, whose name the God is tired of”

March 14, 2020