Center for National and International Studies



These days the incident on the Azerbaijan – Russia (Dagestan) borders is in the center of attention, along with failure of the national health system to deal with the peak of pandemic in the country, its connection with corruption, persecution of activists, social-economic policies of the government.

Social networks are full of images of hundreds of Azerbaijanis stuck on the Russia- Azerbaijan border in Dagestan, lying on the ground with tied hands behind. The information that Azerbaijan will receive only 120-150 people of more than 600 who has been rough sleeping for more than 2 months on the borders caused clashes with police leading to 3 reported deaths , among which was a policeman. The activists, blogger and journalists are sharing and commenting strongly condemning the government which allowed such an unhuman treatment of its citizens. Ali Karimli of PFP reports that criminal cases are open against 10 people participants of the events. The government should immediately intervene to protect its citizens. The absence of official response to the violence against protesters he calls an anti-national policies of the president Aliyev. Rabiyya Mammadova explains this indifference to the people by the government’s independence from the constituency, and that it treats them not as citizens but as servants. Meanwhile, the Russian citizen who stayed in Azerbaijan reports about daily support the Russia government gives to those who could not return to their homes before the quarantine and that it is ore beneficial for him to stay abroad, than to return to Russia. Habib Muntazir contrasts it to the 4 mln villas of the head of MFA  and who calls it interference in the private affairs, while the Azerbaijani citizens are starving, humiliated and beaten on  the state borders. Ibadoglu reports that lasting for two months crisis, when Azerbaijan instead of letting people in the country started to distribute food aid, which soon has finished. On the 15th the clashes between the local Russian authorities and Azerbaijanis took place with involvement of the troops of OMON and Rosgvardia. He comments that Aliyev is  not satisfied by the oppression of its citizens in the country, but extends his policies beyond its borders. The silence of the government in response to the bloodshed on the borders caused rising tension in the society. Natig Jafarli compares it to the attitude of the US government to its citizens, reflected in the movies, where it almost ready to start world wars for the sake of protection of its single citizen. Some FB users reacting to the dire video of murder of Azerbaijani citizens in Dagestan suggest, that the time for the explosion or revolution ripe. Shahveled Chobanoglu considers that after coronavirus the world will change the following way: those state which were ahead will be even farther ahead, while those who were behind- will be lagging even deeper behind.

The FB users continue the issue of persecution and pressure on activists. They share the story of continued pressure on female activist elected to the local self-government  bodies Vafa Nagi,who complaint that her personal  photo from  her FB page was hanged on the bus stops in her constituency. The writer in exile in Norway Gunel Movlud  commented that this is how they fight the woman- competitor in this country- by spreading their personal pictures in public. Habib Muntazir reports that police put pressure on the father of the rapper Elshan Teymurov who recorded a video about police behavior on the 8th June and was arrested for two months. They made him apologize, recorded on the video and spread it. Muntazir said, that he could not finish talking to him on the phone because of the old man’s  heart crisis.” This is how Azerbaijan police destroys  people in the country”. Jamil Hasanli of National Council writes a comment on the events of the 8th of June in Yasamal stressing that Aliyev has lost one of his most “reliable” institutions – police, which totally discredited itself that day. He repeats that the main problem of the country is Ilham Aliyev, who has turned the state institutions in the hostage of his caprice, while the whole of the country in the hostage of his stupid experiments.  He notes, that Aliyevs cannot understand that the world has changed, so did the Azerbaijani society. Both the young generation who consider his regime’s  feudal nature contradicting the universal values, has grown, and the old generation, who has experienced all sufferings of their 50 year old regime has also had enough. Ali Karimli posts the story by Radio Freedom about the political prisoner of Nardaran events of 26 November 2015 Shamil Abdulaliyev. He has been complaining all these years in prison, that because of the bullet in his leg, his health has significantly worsened, the leg has shrunk by 10 sm, and is simply rotting. In spite of numerous appeals to release him for treatment he is still in prison. Khadija Ismayil warns against state sponsoring of the sites about literature, as “ it is doing it not out of love to literature, but in order to control the writers” People, including Nigar Hezi, are attracting attention to the spread of the virus in the prisons. She is urging to release political prisoners, her father Tofig Yagublu, who has asthma, and others before they got infected there. The wife of NIDA leader Ilkin Rustamzade attempted a suicide and is currently in the intensive therapy section of the hospital.

The leader of NIDA connects it to his activism, reporting threatening him and his wife by harassment of them. The legal defender of Tofig Yagublu Elchin Sadigov confirmed that the court hearing with the judge Ahmadov on extension of sanctions for two more months will take place on the 19th June with the appeal of the investigator Ramil Aliyev. Yadigar Sadyghli comments on the judge Ahamdov’s background, who is the son of extremely corrupt head of Baku Transport Agency Tagi Ahmadov, who paid 3 mln to the Ministry of National Security and lost few millions in  bank Tehnikabank. These money were stolen from the budget resources given to the improvement of the metro system in Baku. Khadija Ismayil comments on the case of Mubariz Mansimov, the businessman, who was arrested in Turkey. She is surprised that he was blamed for his ties with Feto, but so far no evidence was submitted. She said, it would ne much easier to get him condemned for the corrupt connections with SOCAR or Erdogan family, but it is on agenda. Seymur Hezi reports about cyber attack on the page of Meydan TV, deleting all the information since 2018, supposedly for the coverage of th events in Derbent.

The topic of coronavirus pandemic and its peak in the country remains one on the top issues on FB. The letters of the doctor from Baku, who writes about pressure on capacity of the system to deal with the virus,  is widely shared. He mentions that the main hospital in the country ( named after Semashko) is fully given to the COVID-19 patients. But in this biggest clinic there is deficit of the respirators, medical personnel. The patients simply die here without timely medical treatment. Only in the first half of the day there were already 8 deaths in the clinic.

Activists and experts are intrigued by the absence on the scene of the Minister of Heath Shiraliyev, who hardly made any public appearance and speech since the outbreak of the pandemic. Gubad Ibadoglu, an economic expert and brings the worrying statistics of the infected proving that the country goes through the peak of illness. Many patients are now forced to stay and get treatment at homes due to the overcrowded hospitals and shortage of beds. Many contrast it to the behavior of the representative of the WHO in the country who is enjoying herself in one of resorts of Azerbaijan, while TABIB is an unexperienced agency. He also stresses that defeating the virus will not stop corruption in the country- the opposite is true- stop corruption so it will end the pandemic. He reminds that instead of 10 hospitals which were financed with 14,8 mln manats, only 4 were built. However, slow speed of their construction makes its construction meaningless, besides the name of the companies winning the tenders are kept secret. People also mention long traffic jams on the way to the capital (5-6 km) Baku-Astara highway near Alat settlement quarantine post. Habib Muntazir, a journalist in exile, connects the coronavirus statistics in the country with corruption, as there are significant finances allocated for the treatment, equipment  and even virus related deaths. Natig Jafarli presents chronology of government responses to pandemic and shows its inconsistency, ineffectiveness and lack of logic. He urges it to form a crisis round table, which should start the work in different directions health, social, economic, political governance issues. He considers, that the government is mistaken monopolizing power, as this also means monopoly on responsibility. Gubad Ibadoglu also considers that this is not by accident that Ilham Aliyev did not accept the invitation of Putin to greet the military parade in Moscow devoted to the 75 anniversary of the end of the WW2. He considers that the country and people are living the most difficult and desperate period since its independence. Fuad Gahramanli  attracts reaers attention to the unjustified limitations on the flights to Nakhichevan, where the demand is much higher than just two per week.

The other topic is social – economic policies of the government. FB users report the desperate situation with the water supply in Binagadi district of the capital, where people went out to protest the shortage of the tap water. The shortage of water in Sabirabad, Neftchala and Salyan regions of the country was reported by the deputy chair of ADR movement Adalet Yusuf at the movement’s meeting in the 16 June. The participants also expressed their great dissatisfaction with the project of the third road connecting Armenia and Nagorno-Karabagh. Natig Jafarli of REAL comments on the plan of the government to announce Absheron the “Silicone valley”. He appraises the idea, but considers that there are few factors to be in place to make it happen: serious and high level University, powerful and professional private companies, high level and well paid cadres, and in general our authorities are far behind other states in this regards, such as Estonia for instance. Also, it may appear that the project fails only because the Microsoft or any other company understands that our government cares not so much about the quality and the result, but about their own PR, and in turn the companies  just try to get as much state funds as possible to earn income and leave.

June 19, 2020