Center for National and International Studies



FB users commemorated birthday of the first democratically elected president of Azerbaijan Abulfaz Elchibey, discussed the course of pandemic, social-economic crisis, corruption and nepotism of the official elite, persecution of activists, Putin’s Constitutional changes.

The activists, journalists, bloggers, politicians commemorate the birthday of Elchibey -the first democratically elected president of post-Soviet Azerbaijan. The political and civic leaders posted the tribute to the president, who was in office only 1 year 1992-1993 but left an important trace in the history. Isa Gambar arranged a round table devoted to Elchibey and Musavatism, with the speakers analysing the policies of leader of Popular Front Government, former dissident and intellectual, the politician, deeply devoted to the democratic values and independence of the country Abulfaz Aliyev ( Elchibey). While majority of the postings were positive, there were also controversial assessments in regards his leaving the office without organizing resistance to the coup d’etats, by the colonel Suret Huseynov. Gubad Ibadoglu of ADR called Elchibey and his government the only one which in 28 years  was close to people. He  stressed that he came ahead of his time as his ideas which seemed unrealistic at that time, will be growingly confirmed  with time. Hikmet Hajizade, who was an ambassador to Russia during Elchibey;s in office posted an emotional statement on his timeline, referring to some ironic and  critical remarks about former president, that people, society did not even deserve that year of freedom and democracy. He mentions, that the easiness with which the contemporaries joined the corrupt regime and the system of Ilham Aliyev proves that it is a greatest achievement for Elchibey and his team that we had that “magic” year. He also lists the contribution to the state and democracy building of that government, ranging from the withdrawal of Soviet troops to the introduction of the test system in the Universities, as well as full freedoms of expression, assembly and association.

The FB users discuss the failures of the state to deal with pandemic. Bakhtiyar Hajiyev states, that all the Azerbaijani citizens who want to come back should be helped by the state. He also notes that the price for the test is too high -100-130 manats, while it should be free. The Cabinet of Ministers, reports Hajiyev, decreed a state aid of 190 manats for the unemployed and self-employed  in major cities and four regions of the country. Ordukhan Babirov, an activist in exile, warns that people in the country are put in the situation of extreme danger for their health and the primary responsibility lies with the president and his wife- vice-president. Habib Muntazir reports coronavirus  death of the young 37 year old sportsman and the next day – of his mother of the heart attack. He also stresses the role of the publicising the violations – the clinic Reference was closed. Bakhtiyar Hajiyev points to one of the major weaknesses of the state institutions- they are not preparing for any sort of emergencies during the normal periods of life. Natig Jafarli considers that the main problem in struggle with pandemic is shortage of medical personnel and doctors. He suggests that foreign doctors- from Ukraine, or Cuba can be invited to the country. Many activists comment on the speech of the president devoted to the fight with pandemic especially in regards that “the government did all it could”. Ali Karimli lists all the shortcomings and failures of the government in dealing with the virus starting with the delayed closure of the state border with Iran, and ending with the miserable state aid to the people. Gubad Ibadoglu argues, that while president was praising the amount of aid to unemployed – 228 mln manat to 600 thousand people, compared to the amount of aid given to the business – 86,9 mln manat only to one company AZAL – this is just pennies. He also notes, that this year the government planned to spend 221,5 mln manat for the international events in the country and pay all expenses of the 5-10 thousand guests. None of these expenses are complained by the president to be a burden on a budget.

The reports of corruption of officials continue to be shared and discussed. This time  a focus is on the illegal property of the head of the State Border Service Elchin Guliyev – the photos of his 261  hectares  of land near Baku were widely circulated in the FB.  They mention his rest on Malta in 2018 -2019. Fuad Gahramanli of PFP suggests, that if at least these two heads of the ministries- both himself and MFA Elmar Mammadyarov are not tried by court and investigated by the prosecutor’s- then the punishment of the heads of executive power will prove that this struggle with corruption is only the show.. Seymur Hezi ironically calls it “ teaching a lesson how to occupy the lands. We thought he was protecting the borders- while he was conducting domestic operation”. Nigar Hezi suggests jokingly to give his property the status of settlement. Rabiyya Mammadova reports that the head of the 18 police department lieutenant-colonel MP Bayram Aliyev, who ordered to detain students protesting the Ministry of Education on 1 st June is an older brother of the MP Sahib Aliyev ( who was reportedly was infected). People also comment on the great contrast between the awards, including the military titles, given by the president to the officials, who rob the population, while leaving unnoticed young people, who die in the battles on the front line. They also remember the expressions of loyalty by these very officials, interpreting it as a cover up for their corruption. They also report that in Switzerland some Azerbaijani was fined for 200 thousand euros for repeated driving violations in his Audi car. Gultakin Hajibeyli of the National Council comments with indignancy the most recent rules requiring report  as source of  a sum more than 500 dollars currency being bought in the banks. If the person fails to indicate convincing source – he/she is being fined for 14% of this sum. She contrasts it to the 100 mln dollars property of Eldar Mahmudov in London, or 4-5 mln flats of the minister of foreign affairs.  After events in Daghestan the president awarded  Ramil Asgarov the rank of general-major – Muntazir discloses that he is the nephew of the first deputy of the Minister of Defence  Najmaddin Sadikhov, and calls it  the “Ministry of Uncles and Nephews”. He analyses the speech of Ilham Aliyev on the 24th June, concluding : “Again lies and blaming the people, praising the police and the state”.Similarly Gozel Bayramli of the PFP notes, that the president again in his speech blamed the people. Ilkin Rustamzade reporst about arrest of Vagif Mehdiyev– the director of the House of Culture (of the Ministry of Culture) of the Akstafa region for growing narcotics  in his garden.  Natig Jafarli argues that pandemic showed total hopelessness of the governance system and state institutions, and that there is only struggle there – for the material resources. The current system has fully exhausted itself and the transfer to the effective management system is an issue of the nation’s survival. Everything should be re-written – starting with Constitution and the new strict borders of authority and responsibility of the state organs. Habib Muntazir discloses that the whole family of the “grey cardinal” Ramiz Mehdiyev was in the list of Agricultural credit and Development Agency as recipients of the state subsidies. It includes his wife – the head of the department of the University ( mathematics)  -Galina Mehdiyeva, his daughter  – the head of the department of the University ( psychology)- Kamila Aliyeva and his son- deputy head of the Ministry of Emergency – general major Teymur Mehdiyev.  In 2015-2018 in the village Novhani only two farmers received the state subsidies and both of them were family members of Ramiz Mehdiyev– the wife and the son, who owned 113 hectares  and 42 hectares respectively. He also mentions the village Bilgah near Baku where the president Aliyev owns 15 hectares of land practically is a village of Aliyev’s family. For each of three of his children there is a villa and a swimming pool, as well as the helicopter landing area. There is a property of the vice-president of LUKOIL, his close friend  Isgandar Khalilov. This property of the president is not the same as in Zagulba, where the official summer house is. Here they have spent millions, as well as brought equipment and materials from Germany.

Persecution of activists, slander and propaganda campaign against the democratic periods and personalities of Azerbaijan history are subjects of discussions and comments. Ali Karimli of the PFP reports another arrest of the party’s activist – from Ganja Firdousi Amrahov. Supposedly he was detained for his blogging activities. His blog was deleted and has was brought to Baku.  Jamil Hasanli calls to reject invitation to speak at the TV channels – such as SPACE- which slander and blacken the founders of the first Azerbaijan Democratic Republic in 1918-1920. Gozel Bayrmali posts the photo of the activists in exile in Germany, who protested in front of the Russian consulate in Bonn  the state violence against Azerbaijanis n Daghestan. Ali Karimli reminds about 10th year in prison of the religious activist Tale Bagirzade on the occasion of his birthday. He gives an example of his exceedingly decent and courageous personal behaviour. After numerous and severe tortures  one of the high level ministerial representative told him” Even if you did not testify against Ali Karimli, we know that you cooperated with him in this affair”. When asked why does he think so? He responded that since he did not testify against him under these tortures – is the best proof that he is loyal to Ali Karimli. Tale Bagirazde responded, that he protected not Karimli, but his own dignity, and if he was required to testify against even the executor of the tortures– he would never do it. Ali Karimli devoted these comments to his birthday.  Rabiyya Mammadova reports that the head of the 18 police department lieutenant-colonel MP Bayram Aliyev, who ordered to detain students protesting the Ministry of Education on 1 st June is an older brother of the MP Sahib Aliyev ( who was reportedly was infected) FB users share the news that Khadija Ismayil won the prize For Freedom and the Future of Media of the Media Foundation Sparkasse Leipzig for winning the case in the German Constitutional Court about the law restricting freedoms of the foreigners in Germany. Human Rights defender and REAL activist Rasul Jafarov reports that Supreme court closed the cases of two persons convicted in connection with  Ganja events  Xayal Gafarov, who was charged with inciting mass disorder and sentenced to 6 years. Jafarov argues that this practice should be widely expanded to the other cases.

June 26, 2020

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