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Center for National and International Studies




FB community continue to follow, share, show solidarity and comment on the events in Belarus, analysing domestic tactics of protesters, reaction of the Western actors, first of all the EU, announcement Lukashenka “persona non-grata”: comparing and extrapolating them to Azerbaijan, and discuss whether Russia will help Lukashenka. They greet release upon 4 years term completion of Fuad Ahmadli of PFP, among others, but decry arrest of the other activists. They also condemn poisoning of Alexei Navalny, share news of arrest of the young writer Karamat  Boyukchol and participate in the e-campaign in his defence,  prepare for commemoration of 20 years of president Elchibey’s death and speak about his uniquely powerful influence on people’s way of thinking, behaviour, attitudes and values.

The activists, journalists, bloggers, civil and political leaders share an information about planned all national rally on the 23d August, resignations which continue to take place in Belarus, such as that of all employees of the state radio station the Capital, the West’s reaction to the events in Belarus. They share the news that 5 biggest factions and groups in the EP announced  Lukashenka “persona non-grata”. Ali Karimli of PFP praises the reaction of the EU, and lists number of EU decisions, which he finds very important. Among them: non-recognition of the election results in Belarus, the statement by all EU leaders that new elections should be conducted in the country, the decision to apply sanctions against responsible for the election falsification and violence, their decision of possibility to include Lukahsenka himself in this list of subjects of the sanctions, EU’s readiness to help a peaceful transition of power in the country, allocation of 53 mln euro for the civilian initiatives, the appeal to the government of Belarus to find peaceful way out of the crisis. He argues, that dictatorship in Belarus is living its last days, so will be the end of Azerbaijani dictatorship too. Isa Gambar of Musavat in his interview to the Voice of America denounces those, both the government and some in opposition, who are in favour of status quo in Belarus because the incumbent has a good relations with Azerbaijan. He considers it unacceptable. He argues that those who defend his fake victory in elections either have intellectual, or morality problems. He stresses that realization of the will of the Belarus people  and election of their true representatives will have a positive influence over international environment and Azerbaijan. The FB community also shares the article about Lukashenka’s psychiatric diagnosis of “mosaic psychopathy” which the doctors gave him already in the Soviet time, and thanks to which he was even commissioned from the army service. Bakhtiyar Hajiyev argues, that events in Belarus proved that powerful dictators are in fact ordinary persons, whose power is based on people’s  silence, fear, inability to unite and actively demand their rights. He also warned that there is an instruction to the people loyal to regime in Baku to distort events in Belarus when presenting them in the media and to create an inferiority complex in people in Azerbaijan. He says however that trolls and conformists are in every society, as the counter rallies arranged by Lukashenka proved.  For them, both the motherland and the state are reflected in one ( or two) person(s) and they do not understand the degree of their humiliation yet. Gubad Ibadoglu stresses that reform and transformation potential of Belarus is high and no doubts that very quickly, in spite of difficulties of transition,  the country will reach the level of East European states and those who stand today at the squares will live much better lives. Natig Jafarli comments that only when Lukashenka got aware that people do not want him, he started to speak about Constitutional reforms, new parliamentary elections etc., but it would be effective in time, as it is too late. He agrees with idea that dictators, authoritarian leaders first lose sense of reality and then – their power. This is a good lesson for YAP ( ruling party). Ramis Yunus considers that Russia cannot intervene directly, she needs some excuse in the form of provocation. Ali Karimli considers that the people’s protests reached the point of no-return and Russia is aware that her intervention will only speed up the defeat of Lukashenka.

FB community decries the arrest ( taking his from home) the young writer  Karamat Boyukchol. Jamil Hasanli praises him a writer, and also as the one who reflects the true people’s feelings about the situation in the country. He calls his arrest the intolerance to the free speech and a hard blow to a free thought. They also report the next day detention of the poet Murad Kohnegala. Jamil Hasanli compares arrest of the writers and poets to the sultan’s throwing of poets in the prisons in the middle ages. They all demand their immediate release. Ilkin Rustamzade reports the attempt of stealing the person in the street of Guneshli district by someone who introduced himself as a police major and drove a car 10-NP-965, but it was prevented by the by-passers. FB community greets the release of PFP activist’s Zafar Ahmadov son, also the youth branch activist Fuad Ahmadli after 4 years in prison, calling him courageous, brave, dignified, highly educated, and that people like him will lead the country to Freedom. They also share and greet the news about release of  activist Nijat Abdullazade after 30 days in prison, but condemn the arrest of the other PFP member Orkhan Salimzade with the same sentence. Journalists concerned that he was kept incommunicado for more than a day. The activists quote the dialogue between the judge and Tofig Yagublu at the last court hearing: “ The judge: There is a law and a Constitution. Yagublu: If there is a law, then what am I doing here?” They also share the statement condemning the PFP repressions by the Human Rights Watch. Seymur Hezi reminds that there was not a decade of the Soviet rule without resistance of Azerbaijan people. He argues that the fact that 50 PFP members of the current 150 political prisoners is another proof that Azerbaijani people always resist unjust rule. The activists report that the FB account of Gultakin Hajibeyli of NCDF  was hacked. Nigar Hezi reports the confusing testifying at the court hearing on the case of her father Tofig Yagublu by another fake witness– Jafarov Elkhan Safar oglu. His testifying was so contradicting, that lawyers suggested to send him to the psychiatric expertise. Tofig Yagublu commented that the witness did not have a psychological problem, but a problem with dignity. Nıgar Hezi makes a powerful appeals to the people asking them for help in saving her father. She asks everyone who witnessed the incident at the market parking lot, when the car of her father was hit, to overcome fear and to post it in the FB and internet, as this may save her father. People also share news that Mehdi Ibrahimov, the son of the PFP activist Mammad Ibrahim was released under the home arrest. The press service of the Sumgayit based NGOThe Legal Education of Sumgayit Youth” spread the appeal of the detained director of their organization Elchin Mammad to the leading human rights defenders of the country Novella Jafaroglu, Arzu Abdullayeva, Saida Gojamanli and Saadet Bananyarli where he denies the accusations and considers detention and indictment illegal and  a direct consequence of his activities as a human rights defender. (He was blamed for stealing golden jewelry and storing 9 bullets to Makarov gun in his office, which he asserts were planted) None of the witnesses in searches in his office were present at the court hearing.The next court hearing will be on the 21 august.The former leader of the NIDA youth movement and political prisoner Ilkin Rustamzade spread video, where he responded to the campaign against him for the argument with his wife and alleged violence, where he denies the latter, and explains the circumstances of their separation under the intense slander campaign by the authorities. He expressed his shock by the degree of  animosity and shaming campaign from the side of some  colleagus in  struggle for democracy.

The experts comment on economic “reforms of the president Aliyev, in particular, creation of Azerbaijan Investment Holding. Gubad Ibadoglu considers the name of it misleading and creating an impression of the private sector enterprise rather than the institution of market economy. At the same time its creation as a transition to the market agency will lead to the loss of time. Besides, each state enterprise has different problems and the attempt to centralize their solution is a mistake.The alternative way would be for each enterprise to choose the advisor by means of open tender and start its own structural reforms. It seems, Ibadoglu concludes, that as usual the government acts in the interests of one narrow group, and unites others under one leadership so to further privatise them. He also reports the unexplained stoppage of the project of construction of 150 km long toll road Baku-Guba-Russia border which was planned to be completed by the second half of 2021 with hundreds of workers sent to the unpaid furlough.The subcontractor is Azvirt company with a number of other companies from Germany and Luxembourg, as well as Elnur Aliyev. According to the last financial report the net income of the company was 602 thousand manat. He also argues that because of the budget cuts touched also the State Social Protection Fund, there will not be enough money for child benefits, so creation at the Parliament the working group on provision  of the child benefits looks like window-dressing.

People share an information about the arrests of the head of executive power of Kurdamir region Jeyhun Jafarov, his first deputy Tajaddin Novruzov and some others. He is the relative of the former head of the apparatus of the Communication Ministry Vidadi Zeynalov. They are suspected in bribery, misappropriation of state property and abuse of the official position.

FB community shares with indignancy the videos and photos of pompous meeting with national dances and greeting  of the Russian military ships arriving to Baku.  Gozel Bayramli of PFP decries meeting the Russian military ships with flowers and dances at the Baku boulevard. She comments that the authorities put in prison people who exressed support to the Karabgh rally, calling them the traitors, but the true treason is to bring Russian ships to Baku. It seems they are ready to greet the 12 Red Army in the country, she concludes. Hebib Muntazir comments with irony, that in his telephone conversation with Vladimir Putin Ilham Aliyev mentioned 400 tons of arms supply to Armenia, but two days later Russia sends from Rostov another plane with military equipment to Armenia and then 2 days later Russian artillery ships come to Baku bay and the Defense Ministry greets them with flowers and dances…

They also continue to decry the statement by Erkin Gadirli, an MP from REAL, that Azerbaijan should support not the opposition, but those forces which have good relations with Azerbaijan. Habib Muntazir lists the arguments why Lukashenka’s Belarus policies cannot consider pro-Azerbaijani, but the opposite,- close to Russia, CSTO and Armenia. In turn, Natig Jafarli of REAL analyses the relations within opposition and the habit to curse and insult each other. He suggests to ignore those who do it, as the country is in the eve of serious changes, and “we need to hurry” ( this is contrary to what Gadirli used to say: we have nowhere to hurry – L.A)  as such governance system turned the country into an outsider, he concludes.

The activists, bloggers and journalists share with great concern an information about poisoning of Russian opposition leader  Alexei Navalny apparently by poison mixed with  the tea, the emergency landing of the plane in Omsk, his placement in the intensive therapy section in the coma condition. Ali Karimli quotes the head of his law department Viyacheslav Gimadi that there is no doubt he was poisoned because of his political stance and activities. He also reports that his lawyers intend to open the criminal case on the attempt of murder of Navalny.

People continue to discuss  contribution of the first democratically elected president of Azerbaijan in 1992 Abulfaz Elchibey to the state, democracy and nation building on the occasion of approaching 20th year of his death. They quote this time the popular composer Javanshir Guliyev with the opposition views, who said that Elchibey has “restored our identity”.

August 21, 2020