Center for National and International Studies



The new  information  of the protest action in front of the Ministry of Education by the students movement, reports about Pashinian and his family being infected and launch of the commercial space shuttle Dragon by Elon Musk was widely shared and commented on, as well as topics of National Independence day, the attitude of the president Aliyev to the history and the founders of the republic, Karabagh issue and Ramil Safarov, corruption of the foreign minister and other officials, blockade of Ali Karimli  continue to be the most discussed and shared among the activists and others. The events in Minneapolis and the ongoing violent protests all over the country in reaction to the killing of the detained Afro-American by the police is also shared and commented on.

The activists and journalists are sharing the reports about the picket in front of the Ministry of Education on the 1st June by the movement Telebe Telebi ( Demands of the Students) devoted to the demands of cancellation of the fees and exams for the time of pandemic. Few activists were detained among them: prominent ex-political prisoner Giyas Ibrahim, Rustam Ismayilbeyli, Allahverdi Hasanov, Ahmadov Ilham, Ahmadov Rahim,  Vugar Mirzabey  and were taken to the police city department N.8. They also report the protest meeting of the IDP and refugees in front of the State Committee on Refugees with the demand of long promised housing.

The FB users are particularly focusing on the negative attitude of the president Aliyev to the founders of the first democratic republic and its history, including his recent statement, that the “founders gave Yerevan away to Armenia”. Isa Gambar ( former leader of Musavat party and currently the head of the National Strategic Think Tank) explains in his interview to BBC why the government is not appreciative of the history and values of the first democratic republic. He states, that the modern history of Azerbaijan is the history of struggle between the bolshevism and Musavatism ideas and the forces who came to power as a result of the coup d’états in 1993 were the bearers of the ideas of bolshevism. So this attitude of the government to ADR (1918-1920) is not mere out of jealousy but reflection of clash of ideologies – that of bolshevism and that of Musavatism. Jamil Hasanli gives a detailed historical background of Yerevan province created by Russia thus refuting the statement by the president Ilham Aliyev that “Yerevan was given to Armenia by the founders of the First Republic”. He considers that this way he distracts public attention from the fact, that not only he was not able to restore the territorial integrity of the country for 26 years occupied by Armenians, but the regime managed to send resources for defense to the offshore accounts and get the kickbacks from the criminal arms deals-contracts with Russian Rosoboronexport . Instead of giving explanation to the society regarding these facts, he speaks about Yerevan. Bakhtiyar Hajiyev also notes, that president speaks about ADR almost as of an accidental event of the history and the failure of it due to the incapability of its founders. He speaks with irony, that if not the founders of the republic, Ilham Aliyev’s highest position would be that of the mayor of the Russian city, and he would never enjoy all the attributes of the leader of the rich republic. He also interprets with humour numerous anonymous harassing messages arriving to his telephone and email account as exchange with the president with encrypted messages. The president, he continues, by arranging these messages, wants to say;” I really want to finish and escape this country, Bakhti, I am very tired”, so, assures Hajiyev, he sent him a reply. Yadigar Sadyghli responds to those, who repeat after the president that the founders of ADR failed and reminds the history of Sudettenland of Czechoslovakia in the times of the WW2 and how it was helpless before the Germans, who were supported by other European states in defending its lands. He compares it to the ADR of 1918 and notes, that Azerbaijan was in a much worse condition than Czechoslovakiya  as according to the agreement in Mudros, Ottoman empire had to withdraw, while GB would bring in its troops to Baku. He notes that very little could be done to prevent it and the republic proved that it is capable to provide all freedoms and rights to its citizens regardless of its ethnic, religious and other identity and after a few months the British left the country. He also comments with irony, that president Aliyev “ cannot control even the restaurant of Javid Gurbanov, while condemning the founders of not controlling Yerevan in 1918”. Arif Mammadov states, that Azerbaijan is the only country in the world, when on the National Independence  day the president gives a speech full of hatred to the founders of his country. Habib Muntazir comments that Ilham Aliyev behaves as the head of one of the Russian provinces.  Altay Geyushov comments, that Heydar Aliyev erected a big monument to the 11th Soviet Army, which occupied Azerbaijan, and participated in its opening. Now the monument which has been erected in honour of the First Republic does not even reach the pedestal of the Soviet monument. “ Do tell Siyavush Novruzov, that YAP ( ruling party) are not the heirs of the democratic republic, but of the 11th Army”.  People widely comment the president’s statement that at the time of the ADR “the government did not control fully the country’s territory”, saying that this is an irresponsible statement by the president.

The topic of the corruption of officials continue to be among most discussed ones. Seymur Hezi stresses that millions which are “earned” on business abroad by the diplomats at the same time leads to political dependence of them and foreign policy on external actors in the countries, where they run this business. He illustrates it with the fate of the former US ambassador Escudero, who stayed in the country and ran his business after conclusion of his term in office, which affected his stance regarding the political regime. He concludes that 4,6 mln dollars which were “ earned” abroad by the foreign minister may have high cost for the national interests. Altay Geyushov comments, that people of one of the richest countries in the world is in desperate need of 190 manats (110 dollars) and this is the indicator of the degree of intelligence of the society. Bakhtiyar Hajiyev lists the so called “ dead” state projects which cost billions and millions, but did not lead to the expected results, among them European Games ( few billions), Caspian Islands ( few hundred million of credit), Trump Tower ( few hundred millions).Ordukhan Babirov asks a rhetorical question of the president and vice-president on how many millions have they stolen from the project for the Gobu Park 1, 2,3 towns for refugees and how many have they transferred to their off-shore accounts. Seymur Hezi, touching upon the topic of corruption of Eldar Mahmudov and Elmar Mammadyarov stressing that Eldar Mahmudov should be viewed as an untouchable in this government due to the powerful forces behind him, and reception of signals about not touching him. He considers that both domestically and internationally Aliyev’s power base is being undermined ( such as legal cases against Azerbaijani oligarchs in the UK), including revealing of the illegal riches of the foreign minister, which means that the West does not care anymore even about damaging its diplomatic communication with this government. Ganimat Zahid a journalist in exile writes on his timeline that the greatest damage is not so much stolen billions from the population, but to the strategic interests of the country. “They take not only stolen money abroad, but also the country itself piece by piece, including the state’s image and reputation, distorted to the degree of caricature, state secrets – all this is “ negative” investment in those countries.” He also ridicules the argument that they have inherited this money from their ancestors, arguing that it was impossible to preserve the inheritance of 100 years in our region. He suspects that they most probably even  betray the state secrets for their business interests. Gubad Ibadoglu brings an example how AZAL is enriching itself taking advantage of the state aid during pandemic. In spite of receiving 86,9 mln manat of state aid, it raised the prices for the flight tickets 3 times. – up to 900 dollars. ( as well as drags the return of the price of cancelled flights to 60 days). FB users share the story with Ata Abdullayev, notoriously ignorant pro-government figure, who called the police when he was dozens of cars and hundreds of visitors to Heyat restaurant in Pirshagi village in violation of the quarantine rules. However, when the police car arrives they do not interfere as this restaurant belongs to the head of Azerbaijan Railways Javid Gurbanov. They do not intrefere when Abdullayev is beaten up by the guards of the restaurant. Bakhtiyar Hajiyev contrasts the behaviour of teh police to that at the Fountain Square, where for the 5 minute dance chidren and their parents were taken to the police and there were opened criminal cases against some of them. In such an arbitrary situation and absence of the rule of law, the president still tries to humilate the founders of the First Republic.  He also expresses his greatest regret in connection with the regime, which is related to the spending of billions of national resources to the attributes of luxurious lives of the beraucrats and their families, instead of investment in science and startups. “ We are lagging 25-30 years behind the normal world, let us not loose another 20 years. I am most anxious about this”.- he conlcudes.

The activists and journalists are discussing the protests in the US in response to the killing of the George Floyd by the policemen and stress the action of solidarity of the policemen with the protesters. They also mention that the wife of this policeman filed for divorce after that  and contrast it to the status of police among certain circles in the country in spite of the tortures they practice. They also note that twitter blocked the twit of the president Trump related to this event threatening that the guard will even resort to shooting, as the one calling for violence, but left it open for those who want to see it for the sake of the public interest.

The FB users continue to report and share information on persecution of activists. The daughter of Tofig Yagublu reports about policemen calling her to the police department under the excuse of checking the car registration documents, but in fact putting her face to face to the fake “ witnesses” Javahir Jabrailova. Ali Karimli spreads the Nastoyasheye Vremia TV programme which is called “ Pandemic dictatorship” and is devoted to Ilham Aliyev’s policy of persecution of activists during pandemic. It mentions the hate speech of the president, imitation of dialogue, the factual house arrest of the leader of the PFP Ali Karimli, isolation of the party activist Agil Humbatov in the psychiatric hospital and other. He also reports that on the 31st of May the Court of Appeal confirmed the charges in terrorism of  Niyameddin  Ahmadov  the body guard of Ali Karimli. Karimli in another statement devoted to the 1st of June – an International Day of Protection of Children addresses the current societal trait to justify non-involvement in politics by care about their children. He stresses that making the children an excuse for one’s own silence people first of all will make these children unhappy. How can one be happy in the country with such an injustice, poverty, torture? He urges people to raise their voices of protest for the sake of their own children and their future. Gozel Bayramli reports that Ruslan Amirov, the PFP activist, who got 15 days of detention was refused a meeting with his legal defender. Nurlan Libre reports about Gulnara Rahimova, who because of a brutality in the Nizami district police department has broken her leg and was getting treatment in the Sabunchu hospital.

The FB users continue to discuss the state aid to the people affected by pandemic. Gubad  Ibadoglu expresses his concern about reaching deadline today of the direct allocation of 190 manats to the unemployed and asks how are they going to survive further? He suggests a few ways of state support- such as insurance to those who failed to receive the state aid, provision them with jobs, or given targeted social aid- and mentions that the only person who raised this issue in the parliament was Ali Masimov, who proposed to extend allocation of 190 manats for another month. He did not get any reaction to his proposal. Ibadoglu also mentions that government which hardly gives 190 manat to the people has accumulated millions abroad, referring to the recent investigation in the UK about 100 mln pound worth properties of the children of the former Minister of National Secruity Eldar Mahmudov. He says that for this money 552 631 people could get 190 manats for another two months. He directly connects corruption of the bureaucrats to the poverty in the country. He also mentions that the court in the UK arrested all the property of Mubariz Mansimov due to the debts. Gozel Bayramli of the PFP attracts attention to the anti-popular and anti-human pandemic policies of the government compared to the other states. She writes that Azerbaijanis probably the only country which not only did not help millions of people in need during pandemic, but even made their situation worse by fining them during the quarantine. Now they are forced to give fines through the court decisions. By the 18 May 55, 678 drivers were fined by thehighway police.

Karabagh issue also emerged in connection with the president’s speech devoted to the anniversary of the Azerbaijan Republic. Seymur Hezi reminds that Baku was liberated from the Armenian-Russian occupation 3 months 17 days after  M.E Rasulzade’s declaring of creation of the Azerbaijan People’s Republic. It was followed by the march of the 40 thousand wise army  under the command of Khoyski up to Zangezur.  Heydar Aliyev’s government at the same period of time dissolved 33 battalions, left 7 regions without defense, so they were occupied by Armenians. Altay Geyushov compares behavior of the communist leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan in the times of perestroika and collapse of the Soviet Union. While Armenian Communist officials were giving all possible support to the informal groups and movements emerging in the country, both Vazirov and Mutallibov in Azerbaijan did everything to prevent activities of such groups. This made Azerbaijan weaker vis-à-vis neighbors. Now , he considers, is a similar situation- the government occupying the opposite stance both to the people and the history weakens the country and the nation.

FB users has been sharing the video with the bear that  walked the streets of Shaki city and intimidated the population. The comments pointed to the fact that in such a big city there were not any shots with tranquillizers found.

June 2, 2020

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