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The Iranian Delirium of Azerbaijani Regime's Proponents - by Elmar Chakhtakhtinski
The Georgian and Azerbaijani Elections: A Postmortem - by Richard Kauzlarich
How Europe Failed Azerbaijan - by Aslan Amani
Azerbaijan: The Challenges of Selling Oil Rich State’s Massive Electoral Fraud to the US Public - by Elmar Chakhtakhtinski
Corrupt Dictator Is Challenged by a Scholar in Azerbaijan’s Presidential Elections - by Elmar Chakhtakhtinski
EU and Azerbaijan: Setting the Record Straight - by Eldar Mamedov
How Azerbaijan is Like 'The Godfather' - by Michael Weiss
Karabakh and Democracy: Putting Carriage Before the Horse - by Elmar Chakhtakhtinski
Azerbaijan Stirred, Not Shaken by Turkish Protests - by Shahla Sultanova
Abulfaz Elchibey and Democracy - by Irena Lasota
The EU and Azerbaijan: Mismatched Objectives - by Giorgi Gogia
Presidential Elections in Iran Mean Nothing for Iran's Ethnic Minorities - by Umud Duzgun
A Double Standard Won't Do for Baku - by Eldar Mamedov
Open Letter to American Participants of US-Azerbaijan Convention in Baku - by Elmar Chakhtakhtinski
When the Music Dies... - by Rebecca Vincent
Azerbaijani FM's Diplomatic Trip to Isreal Tweaks Tehran - by Shahin Abbasov
Sound Bites Aside... - by Andy Heil
Oil and Stability in Azerbaijan - by Lucy Wallwork
Azerbaijan & Iran: A Soft-Power Struggle? - by Eldar Mamedov
A Tale of Two Azerbaijanis - by Murad Gassanly
"Notebook About Cuba" of Vahid Gazi - Story of "Island of Freedom" - by Rustam Ibragimbekov
South Azerbaijan Is Not Iran - By Umud Duzgun
Azerbaijan and EU: Recalibrating Relations? - by Eldar Mamedov
Azerbaijan: a Mafia State - by Elmar Chakhtakhtinski
Aylisli Controversy Reveals the True Face of Aliyev Regime - by Elmar Chakhtakhtinski
Examining the Economic Sources of Ismayilli Discontent - by Khadija Ismayilova
Secret Videos Threaten Top Aide of Azerbaijani President - by Shahin Abbasov
Strasser's Honorable Defeat - by Anar Mammadli



Interesting Read

Azerbaijan Presses Clampdown on Facebook Activists

By Vugar Gojayev,

BAKU. April 16, 2014: Many in Azerbaijan had entertained hopes that, following his re-election in late 2013, President Ilham Aliyev in Azerbaijan would ease repressive policies targeting free speech and the flow of information, especially on the Internet. Unfortunately, it is now clear such hopes were misplaced.

Especially when it comes to Facebook, the Aliyev administration remains intent on keeping a tight lid on social media. By creating a climate of fear and intimidation surrounding social media use, the government seeks to compel most users to engage in self-censorship. And for those who won’t censor themselves, the government can manipulate the judicial system to stifle public scrutiny of its actions.

Azerbaijan Backing Turkey’s Crackdown on Gülen Movement

By Shahla Sultanova,

BAKU. April 15, 2014: Azerbaijan appears to be joining in Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s campaign against a religious movement led by US-based Islamic cleric Fethullah Gülen.

Erdogan claims that adherents of the Gülen movement are intent on bringing down his government, and over the past year, he has carried out a no-holds-barred crackdown on suspected Gülenists. On April 8, Erdoğan told members of his Justice and Development Party that he had discussed the movement with Azerbaijani officials during an early April visit to Baku and handed over a list of Azerbaijanis considered to be Gülen supporters. Azerbaijan is Turkey’s closest regional ally.

For the past several years, the Azerbaijani government has tried to restrict the activities of Islamic groups, but, until recently, had made no public move against Gülen sympathizers. Such individuals -- called nurçular in reference to the 20th-century Sunni theologian Said Nursi, who inspired Gülen’s education-based initiatives -- do not carry the same weight in Azerbaijani society as they do in Turkey. But over the past couple of weeks, there have been several indicators that Baku is toughening its stance.

Russia-Ukraine Crisis Spurring Azerbaijani-Turkmen Gas Export Partnership?

By Shahin Abbasov,

BAKU. April 11, 2014: The Russia-Ukraine crisis is creating an opportunity for two feuding Caspian-Sea energy powers, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan, to become export partners.

The latest signal that Azerbaijani-Turkmen relations might be heading for a thaw came on April 2, when Turkmen Foreign Minister Rashid Meredov paid an unexpected visit to Baku. The trip marked the first such mission by a high-ranking government official from either side since 2009.

Amnesty International Launches Campaign Demanding Release of Imprisoned NIDA Activists

BAKU. April 10, 2014: Amnesty International has launched a campaign to collect signatures for a petition demanding the release of the activists of NIDA Youth Movement arrested imrpisoned for political reasons. Amensty International's campaign page is here .

Amnesty International calls on the Azerbaijani government to immediately release the NIDA activists. The campaign page of Amensty International provides the following background information on the imprisonment of NIDA activists:

"Shahin Novruzlu and fellow youth activists from the pro-democracy movement NIDA campaigned for democracy and against human rights abuses and widespread corruption in Azerbaijan. In February 2013 they created a Facebook event calling for a peaceful protest against injustice in the country.

Shortly afterwards, Shahin and seven other NIDA activists were arrested. Some of them were tortured. As a result, Shahin, who was 17 years old at the time, lost four of his front teeth. His friend Mammad lost hearing in one ear.

Richard Kauzlarich: "I Hope Baku Voted With The West For The Right Reasons"
WASHINGTON, D.C. April 9, 2014: RFE/RL Azerbaijani Service, Radio Azadliq's blitz-interview with Richard Kauzlarich, the former U.S. Ambassador to Azerbaijan (1994-1997).

Q: The official Baku openly supported Ukraine's sovereignty during the recent UN vote. What is your rection?

A:I hope that Azerbaijan voted with the West for the right reasons. If so then this could be a step in the right direction that the regime missed taking in Vilnius last fall.

Q: There are unconfirmed reports that the US Secretary of State, John Kerry may visit Baku in Summer. What should be Washington's message to President Ilham Aliyev?

Putin Stirs Azeri Angst That Russia Is Set to Extend Sway

By Zulfugar Agayev,

BAKU. April 7, 2014: As Vladimir Putin completes Russia’s annexation of Crimea, Azerbaijain is feeling pressure to join a Moscow-led customs union, raising concern that his next move will be to shift his attention southward.

The Caspian Sea nation, the only westward route for central Asian oil and gas that bypasses Russia, is finding itself hemmed in by Putin’s regional ambitions. Russian troops are already stationed in neighboring Georgia and Armenia and just four months ago, Putin said Russia will “never leave” the region.

NIDA Activists Tried On "Hooliganism" Charges

BAKU. April 4, 2014: Today, Baku District Court for Grave Crimes held a hearing on the case of the NIDA youth activists who had been arrested on the eve of the presidential elections in Azerbaijan last year. Eight NIDA activists - Ilkin Rustamzade, Zaur Gurbanli, Rashadat Akhundov, Rashad Hasanov, Uzeyir Mammadli, Bakhtiyar Guliyev, Mammad Azizov, and Shahin Novruzlu -  have been facing various criminal charges ranging from incitement to riots and illegal storage of explosives to drug possession and hooliganism. 

International human rights organizations recognize the imprisoned NIDA activists as political prisoners arrested for their anti-government views.  The NIDA activists have been imprisoned for over 11 months of entire duration of the preliminary investigation of the case.  Today,  as the imprisoned NIDA activists entered the courtroom, a group of NIDA activists staged a brief flashmob to express their moral support for the imrpisoned, by putting on the masks with the pictures of their imrpisoned friends' faces (Azeri Report).

Azerbaijan Adopting Softer Approach for European Olympics

By Shahin Abbasov,

BAKU. April 2, 2014: The deadline is over a year away, but Azerbaijan is sprinting to complete preparations for the European Games, an Olympics-like competition for athletes from 49 European countries. In sprucing Baku up for the event, officials are taking a softer approach to urban renewal than during the run-up to the Eurovision song contest just under two years ago.

The projected cost of hosting the European Games, to be held in late June of 2015, is currently 1 billion manats ($1.25 billion). In all, 6,351 athletes are expected to compete in 19 different sports. A new airport terminal and an upgrade of the subway and bus systems are planned for Baku, along with a 65,000-person stadium and four other sports and residential facilities.

As was the case when Baku hosted Eurovision in 2012, some construction plans for the coming games are generating controversy. A particular point of contention is the planned destruction of a ramshackle, 50-hectare downtown area known as Sovetskaya (Soviet), to be replaced with “green zones.”

Rasim Musabayov: Azerbaijan Should Be More Pragmatic and Cautious

BAKU. March 31, 2014: Including Crimea as a Russian territory does not mean that Moscow radically changed its attitude to international law, recognizing the priority of the principle of self-determination over territorial integrity. This opinion was expressed in an interview with Turan by Rasim Musabayov, member of the Azerbaijani parliament and a political scientist.

"Otherwise , after the Crimea, Russia would recognize the independence of Kosovo, Nagorno-Karabakh and other such territories. Russia believes that the West has been using force to violate the international law and now Moscow has shown that it can do whatever it wants," said Musabayov.

However, Musabayov does not believe that Russia's actions with respect to Crimea constitute the beginning of a new world order.

Russia has neither the power nor the resources and ideology to change the world order, said Musabayov.

EU Eastern Partnership Report Slams Azerbaijan's Human Rights Record

BRUSSELS. March 27, 2014: The European Commission on Thursday is due to present updates on the progress made by the countries in its Eastern Partnership program.

The report outlines what was accomplished by its six eastern neighbors -- Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine -- as well as highlighting policy areas were improvements are needed.

Our correspondent in Brussels says the report provides key clues as to the European Commission's future moves and will help determine where some of the 15.4 billion euros the EU will spend in its eastern and southern neighborhoods in the next seven years will end up.

The report on Azerbaijan underlines key developments and reform efforts in 2013 and makes recommendations for the year to come.

Independent Azerbaijani Media Receive International Awards, But Remain Under Threat

By Rebecca Vincent

LONDON. March 25, 2014: On 20 March, at the Barbican Centre in London, Azerbaijan's Azadliq newspaper was announced as the winner of the Journalism Award, one of Index on Censorship's Freedom of Expression Awards. Azadliq's acting editor-in-chief Rahim Hajiyev accepted the award on behalf of the newspaper, alongside winners in other categories from Egypt, India, and Pakistan.

In receiving this award, Azadliq newspaper has joined the growing ranks of independent Azerbaijani media outlets and journalists receiving prestigious international awards recognizing the importance of their work in an increasingly hostile environment.

Is Aliyev Regime Trying to Control Azerbaijanis Abroad?

Azerbaijan's Aliyev regime is well-known for its absolutist rule at home. All major political, social and economic activities are kept under the tight control by the authorities within the country. But the government also seems eager to extend its grip over the Azerbaijanis living and working abroad.

On March 17-18, the government-organized “First Conference of Azerbaijanis Working in International Organizations” was held in Azerbaijan’s capital, Baku. The deputy head of Presidential Administration, Novruz Mammadov, gave an interview before the event, published in Azerbaijani language by He stated that the “creation of a centralized system” was the important goal of this conference. Novruz Mammadov leads the international relations department within the Presidential Administration. He and many other officials from the Azerbaijani government spoke at the conference.

EU Condemns Sentences Given To Azerbaijani Opposition Leaders as Politically Motivated

BAKU. March 21, 2014: Yesterday, the European Union condemned heavy sentences handed down to political activists by a court in Azerbaijan.  

Catherine Ashton, The High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Štefan Füle, The European Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighbourhood Policy, issued the following statement today on the sentencing of Ilgar Mammadov and Tofiq Yaqublu on charges of staging riots in Ismayilli, Azerbaijan:
"The High Representative and the Commissioner have learned with concern that opposition politicians Ilgar Mammadov and Tofiq Yaqublu have been sentenced to long terms in prison by the Court in Sheki Azerbaijan, despite serious misgivings on the part of the international community over the fairness of their trials.
The High Representative and Commissioner note with regret that the verdicts against Mr Mammadov and Mr Yaqublu appear politically motivated, contrary to Azerbaijan's international commitments as a member of the Council of Europe.
Azerbaijani News Editor Among Index Freedom of Expression Awards 2014 Winners

LONDON. March 21, 2014: This year’s Freedom of Expression Awards 2014 were awarded to a diverse group of remarkable individuals and organisation from the young female Egyptian Rapper to a Pakistani internet campaigner, from an Indian digital pioneer to an Azerbaijani newspaper.

The Freedom of Expression Awards 2014 took place this evening at the Barbican Centre in London and saw 18 year old, Egyptian rapper, Mayam Mahmoud win the Arts Award; Pakistani internet freedom fighter, Shahzad Ahmad pick up the Advocacy Award; Shu Choudhary, the Indian journalist who has created an egalitarian news platform receive the Digital Activism Award; and the Azeri newspaper, Azadliq, win the Journalism Award.

Post-EuroMaidan, Azerbaijan Convicts Opposition Leaders Because It Can?

By Giorgi Lomsadze,

BAKU. March 20, 2014: There is virtually no space for opposition in Azerbaijan’s parliament, but the government often appears happy to provide room for its rivals in prison. Some prominent faces from the country's drubbed-into-a-corner opposition were handed prison sentences on March 17 on controversial charges of inciting riots in a provincial town last year.

A court in the northeastern city of Sheki sentenced Tofi Yagublu, deputy chairperson of the Musavat Party, and Ilgar Mammadov, leader of the Republican Alternative (ReAl) rights group, to five and seven years in jail, respectively.

U.S. Says Verdicts For Opposition Leaders Are "Politically Motivated"

SHEKI. March 18, 2014: In Azerbaijan, sentences have been handed down to two leading opposition figures in a high-profile mass disorder case. A court in the northern city of Shaki  on Monday sentenced Ilgar Mammadov, head of the Republican Alternative movement, to seven years in prison, and Tofiq Yaqublu, deputy head of the Musavat (Equality) party, to five years. Eight other defendants received jail terms of between 2.5 and eight years.

The U.S. Embassy Statement on the Outcome of the Ismayilli Unrest Trial

The U.S. Embassy in Azerbaijan is deeply disappointed by the March 17 decision to sentence opposition REAL Movement Head Ilgar Mammadov and opposition Musavat Party Deputy Chair Tofig Yagublu to lengthy prison terms on questionable charges of inciting the January 23-24, 2013, unrest in Ismayilli.

Before and during the legal process, we told Azerbaijani officials at all levels that we hoped for an open and fair trial of the defendants. While we welcomed the Azerbaijani Government’s decision to allow U.S. and other international observers to monitor the trial, we and other observers saw significant irregularities in witness testimony and court proceedings. Our observations lead to the conclusion that the verdicts were not based on the evidence and were politically motivated.

Opposition Leaders Ilgar Mammadov and Tofig Yagublu Sentenced to Jail

SHEKI. March 17, 2014: Today, the Grave Crimes Court of Sheki, Azerbaijan, announced the verdicts on the opposition leaders who were charged with instigating the riots in Ismayilli. Ilgar Mammadov, leader of REAL opposition movement, was sentenced to seven years in jail, and Tofig Yagublu, deputy chairman of the opposition Musavat party was sentenced to five years in jail. On January 23, 2013, thousands of residents of Ismayilli staged a protest rally and then burned the house of the local governor whose relative insulted the local people. Mammadov and Yagublu visited the region the next day after the Ismayilli events. The international community has broadly criticized Mammadov and Yagublu's arrest as politically motivated, and regarrded the instigation charges against them as bogus. Both Mammadov and Yagublu visited Ismayilli not before but after the riots had begun in the region. During the trial, the state prosecution never presented any evidence linking Mammadov and Yagublu to any of the local protestors in Ismayilli.

In Crimea, Baku's Moment of Truth
BAKU. March 17, 2014: “Let’s speak about it after the referendum. Azerbaijan has always honored and will honor the principles of sovereignty, territorial integrity and inviolability of borders that are regulating relations among states,” said Deputy Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan, Araz Azimov, when asked about Baku's position on the Crimean referendum to join Russia. Well. 
The referendum is over. Moscow is jubilant. Crimea voted to join the Russian Federation in the referendum that the United States and the European Union have rejected on grounds it is against Ukraine's constitution and international law.
Kamaladdin Heydarov's Empire: List of Azerbaijani Oligarch's Business Companies

BAKU. March 15, 2014: The Azerbaijani society is already used to the idea that the local government officials own big businesses, althgouh the Azerbaijani laws prohibit the public servants from engaging in any busines activities. The dangerous tandem of business and bureaucratic tandem is based on the use of administrative resources and patronage by the "top".

One of such giant businesses, the group Gilan Holding belongs to the family of the Emergencies Minister Kamaladdin Heydarov. The existence of this business empire of an oligarch/minister is well known to public, but people prefer to avoid the discussions over this topic. Gilan Hoding was active in 1990s but it carried its existence as a small business. After Kamaladdin Heydarov was appointed as a cheif of the State Customs Committee, the company flourished.

Comparative analysis of publicly available official data shows that today 's financial and industrial group Gilan brings together about 300 companies and employs more than 12 thousand people. It is impossible to get a completely accurate statistics on Heydarov's companies. Gilan Holding's website has not been updated for many years. Indirect measurements are utilized to assess the scope of Heydarov's business empire. It is worth at least several billion dollars. Gilan Holding is formally headed by Jamil Muradov, who never talks to press.

Below is the list of the companies , institutions and organizations, members of the group of companies Gilan or involved in its orbit:

Azerbaijani Prosecutors Refer To The US Senate Staffers As "Dogs" In Latest Round Of Questioning

BAKU. March 14, 2014: RFE/RL Azerbaijani Service journalist Khadija Ismayilova was summoned to the office of Azerbaijan's General Prosecutor yesterday for the second day in a row.

The prosecutors continue to question Ismayilova about the nature of her informal meeting with two U.S. congressional staffers in Baku in late January. 

Describing the  session on March 12, Ismayilova told RFE/RL, "The prosecutor in charge of the case told me that the prosecution has an audio recording of my conversation with congressional staffers where I was talking about problems in Azerbaijan's educational system."  According to her, the prosecutor said at one point, "Who are these dogs [staffers] that you would discuss with them Azerbaijan's education system?"

UK Politicians Enjoy Azerbaijani Culture While Turning A Blind Eye To Human Rights Abuses

By Rebecca Vincent

LONDON. March 13, 2014: On 10 March, a paid-for press release issued through PRWeb boasted “Over 200 LibDems get into the swing at the TEAS jazz reception.” According to the press release, The European Azerbaijan Society (TEAS) hosted the reception on 8 March at the Liberal Democrats Spring Party Conference in York.

TEAS, which promotes itself as “a UK-registered pan-European organisation dedicated to raising awareness of Azerbaijan and fostering closer economic, political and cultural links between that country and the nations of Europe,” is headed by Tale Heydarov, son of Azerbaijan’s Minister of Emergency Situations Kamaladdin Heydarov. TEAS has organized many cultural events in Europe, including similar receptions at other party conferences in the UK.

Crimean Tatars Ask Azerbaijan's Ilham Aliyev for Help

By Giorgi Lomsadze,

BAKU. March 11, 2014: Four days after Crimean Tatars sent an SOS to Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, nothing has been heard from Baku but silence. For all its grievances with Moscow, chances are slim that Azerbaijan, the Tatars' rich South-Caucasus cousin, will stick its neck out over Crimea.

But Crimean Tatar community leader Mustafa Dzhemilyev, a Ukrainian parliamentarian, gave it his best shot in a March 6 interview with the news site Haqqin. “Do not leave your Crimean brothers and sisters at this difficult time,” Dzhemilyev implored Aliyev.

Putin’s Military Steps in Ukraine Undermine Russia’s Role in Nagorno Karabakh Diplomacy

BAKU. March 10, 2014: RFE/RL Azerbaijani Service, Radio Azadliq asked Richard Kauzlarich, the former United States Ambassador to Azerbaijan (1994-1997) to comment on a possible impact of Kremlin's recent steps in Ukraine on South Caucasus.

RFE/RL: What should West do About Russia and OSCE Minsk Group after Ukraine Developments?

Richard Kauzlarich: The dispatch of Russian troops to Crimea and Russian support for unilateral succession of Crimea requires a firm response from the West. US and EU cooperation and unity will be necessary for that response to succeed.
In examining what is appropriate cooperation with Russia under these conditions, one area for consideration must be the Minsk Group and Russia’s role in it.

Japan Decides Against Turkish-Azerbaijan Tank Deal

BAKU. March 1, 2014: A couple of months ago this blog, noting discussions on military cooperation between Japan and Turkey, asked "Would Japan Sell Weapons To Azerbaijan?" Now the answer to that appears to be: no.

Reuters on Friday reported that a proposed deal for Mitsubishi Heavy Industries to supply tank engines to Turkey has fallen through because of export restrictions:

Verdict Upheld In Retrial Of Former Azerbaijani Minister

By Liz Fuller, RFE/RL

BAKU. February 26, 2014: "Politically motivated at the behest of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev" -- that was how former Health Minister Ali Insanov described his five-week retrial, which ended on February 25 with the judge upholding the 11-year prison term handed down to Insanov in 2007. 

Insanov’s lawyers and human rights activists say the proceedings were marked by egregious procedural violations, including placing the accused in a soundproof glass cage in the courtroom and periodically switching off the microphone through which he could communicate with the judge and his lawyers.

AIB Voices Concern For Journalists in Azerbaijan

LONDON. February 25, 2014: In a statement prompted by recent allegations of spying against investigative journalist Khadija Ismayilova, the Assosiation for International Braodcasting (AIB) expressed concern over her welfare.

“Azerbaijan has consistently created obstacles for journalists reporting from and within the country,” said AIB chief executive, Simon Spanswick. “AIB and its Members are concerned that Khadija Ismayilova is the subject of new charges that are without foundation. We call on the Azerbaijani authorities to drop the charges and allow Ms Ismayilova and all other journalists in the country to carry on their work free from intimidation and threats to their lives and those of their families.”

On Friday, Ismayilova was questioned for the third consecutive day by Azerbaijan's General Prosecutor's office for allegedly publishing state secrets on Facebook.

Azerbaijani Prosecutors Continue To Question Ismayilova On "Absurd" Allegations
BAKU. February 20, 2014: RFE/RL Azerbaijani Service journalist Khadija Ismayilova was questioned for the third consecutive day today by Azerbaijan's General Prosecutor's office, on allegations that she leaked state secrets to U.S. congressional aides visiting Baku. The U.S. Embassy and RFE/RL's President and CEO Kevin Klose have both labeled the accusations "absurd," and U.S. Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) co-chair, Senator Benjamin Cardin (D-Md) has termed the charges "clearly fabricated and punitive in nature."

Ismayilova, an award-winning investigative journalist and host with the Azerbaijani Service, known locally as Radio Azadliq, reports that the questioning, which lasted for two hours today, focused "mainly on my dinner in Baku's Art-Garden restaurant with two visiting U.S. Senate staffers in late January.

Students Protest In Baku (Photos/Video)

BAKU. February 20, 2014: Today around 200 students staged a protest in front of the building of the Baku's State University. The action was prompted by the government’s decision to raise a reexamination fees. Several of protesters  told RFE/RL correspondent that new rules are "illegal and only designed to extract money from students." The event was unauthorised. Police briefly detained four students. The President of the University, Abel Maharramov promised to discuss the issue with the representatives of the Ministry of Education.

Khadija Ismayilova: If I Get Arrested...

BAKU. February 19, 2014: Jeyhun Osmanov, a pro-government member of the Azerbaijani parliament today stated that he submitted an audio-recording to the Azerbaijani Attorney General's Office capturing Khadija Ismayilova's conversation with the US Senate Staffers whom he believes to be the US spies. Khadija Ismayilova is a journalist of the Azerbaijani Service of the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), and she is internationally known for her well-grounded investigative reports on corruption in the Azerbaijani government, including the family members of the president Ilham Aliyev. Khadija Ismayilova is currently under an investigation by the Azerbaijani Attorney General's Office for the conversation with the alleged US spies. In her Facebook profice, Khadija Ismayilova has made an appeal to the international community calling for a principled stand on the issues of human rights in Azerbaijan and not to turn her possible arrest into a subject of another round of backdoor diplomatic dealings and questionable trade-offs between the Western governments and the Aliyev regime. Below is the full text of her Facebook appeal:


Things get more complicated here. So there are couple things I want to ask for:

RFE/RL Journalist 'Summoned' In Azerbaijani State Secrets Probe

BAKU. February 18, 2014: An investigative journalist with RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service says she has been summoned for questioning in an investigation into the leaking of state secrets.

Khadija Ismayilova said the Department for Grave Crimes in Baku had summoned her for questioning on February 18 as a witness.

The move came after pro-government media outlets last week claimed Ismayilova had handed files on Azerbaijani opposition politicians and other prominent figures to U.S. Senate staffers who were allegedly working as U.S. intelligence agents.

The U.S. Embassy in Baku called this "absurd."

Continued Fallout For the European Parliament Over Azerbaijan’s Election

By Rebecca Vincent,

LONDON. February 17, 2014:More than four months after Azerbaijan’s October 2013 presidential election, the ramifications of the actions of some Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) who observed the election are not over for the European Parliament.

In a hearing on 11 February, the European Parliament’s Advisory Committee on the Conduct of Members began examining the cases of eight MEPS who took part in election observation missions to Azerbaijan in October 2013. These MEPs have allegedly failed to declare their trips as required by the European Parliament’s code of conduct.

Baku Residents Protest Planned Evictions

BAKU. February 17, 2014: Yesterday, up to 1000 people staged an unauthorized protest in central Baku, Azerbaijan over the terms offered by the Azeri government as compensation for the demolition of their houses.

Local government officials looked on at the event, as did police, without interfering.

Protesters repeatedly told Radio Azadliq that the demonstration was not political. Some of them held Azeri flags and photos of President Ilham Aliyev and his father, Heydar.

Italian MEPs 'Bribed' by Azerbaijan

ROME. February 14, 2014: Two Italian MEPs are among seven expected to be sanctioned by the European Parliament on Tuesday for allegedly being paid by the oil-rich Azerbaijan to say its elections in October were “free and fair”.

Pino Arlacchi, the MEP of the Democratic Party, and Fiorello Provera, of the Northern League, gave the glowing report after a trip to the country in October as part of a mission to observe the elections, the EU news website,, reported.

Their message sharply contrasted with a report from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), which highlighted “heavy rigging” and found “serious problems” related to freedom of expression.

Can’t Name Your Kids Atatürk or Samovar in Azerbaijan

By Giorgi Lomsadze,

BAKU. February 13, 2014: Ever with an eye out for appearances, the Azerbaijani government has decided that citizens cannot name their children after Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founding father of the Turkish Republic, or after their favorite fruits and objects.

After years of close cooperation with Ankara, Baku has decided that it wants to help its big Turkic cousin make sure there is only one Atatürk ("Father of the Turks") out there. As it stands, Azerbaijan has 18 of them; several born within the past few years, according to the country's State Terminology Commission, Russia's Nezavisimaya Gazeta reported. 

Commission Chairperson Sayaly Sadigova claimed that the decision to ban "unofficially" the use of Atatürk was made at Turkey's own request, the Russian daily said. The Turkish foreign ministry did not respond to requests from to confirm the report.

Azerbaijan Man In Grave Condition After Setting Himself Alight

NAKHCHIVAN. February 13, 2014: A 41-year-old man has been hospitalized in grave condition after setting himself on fire in Azerbaijan's Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic.

Huseyn Mammadov poured gasoline over himself and set himself alight in front of the regional Interior Ministry on February 12.

His brother, Ramiq Mammadov, told RFE/RL that he is not aware of the reasons for the act.

A witness says Mammadov set himself on fire after he visited the Interior Ministry, where the issue of his taxi driver's license was discussed.

European Parliament to Sanction Nine MEPs Over Azeri Mission
STRASBURG. February 12, 2014: The European Parliament's ethics committee is set to censure a group of nine lawmakers who are suspected of accepting favours from Azerbaijan during an electoral observation mission there in October last year.

Kriistina Ojuland
(ALDE, Estonia), Jacek Włosowicz (EFD, Poland), Slavi Binev (EFD, Bulgaria), Jirí Maštálka (GUE/NGL, Czech Republic), Ivo Vajgl (ALDE, Slovenia), Alexandra Thein (ALDE, Germany), Hannu Takkula (ALDE, Finland), Oleg Valjalo (S&D, Croatia) and Nick Griffin (non-attached, UK), all flew to Azerbaijan last October to monitor the elections.

However, they "forgot" to tell Parliament that they had been invited by the Azeri government and did not declare the trip on their website, as required by the Assembly's new code of conduct.

The Parliament advisory committee on the conduct of members, which oversees ethics in the EU Assembly, will look into the cases of the seven MEPs today (11 February) and is expected to adopt sanctions against them.

Miriam Lanskoy: Azerbaijan is Becoming Closer to Central Asia

WASHINGTON, DC. February 11, 2014: President Ilham Aliyev last week signed the new legislative amendments that would further tighten official control over non-government organizations, despite an outcry from local civil groups and western partners, urging him to return the law to parliament and bring it in line with international standards.

Baku has long been criticized by international partners for serious shortcomings in meeting its human rights commitments, however there are some increasing concerns that the government has toughened its line against dissent since Aliyev’s winning of a third presidential term in October.

Miriam Lanskoy, Director for Russia and Eurasia at the National Endowment for Democracy, a US-based rights group dedicated to the growth and strengthening of democratic institutions around the world, commented on the current human rights situation in Azerbaijan, as well as the latest move on NGO law, in an interview with TURAN’s Washington correspondent Alakbar Raufoglu

Q. Independent civil society groups in Azerbaijan believe that recent adoption of legislative amendments against NGOs is aimed at weakening them. How do you think the latest move would affect the conditions for public associations in the country?

A.  I've seen the appeals that have been written by over a hundred of local organizations saying that the latest amendments are very dangerous to them.


Azerbaijan in International Media

"Vugar Gashimov, Grandmaster of Chess, Dies at 27," by D. L. McClain, The New York Times, Jan. 12, 2014

"Authoritarian Regimes Retool Their Media-Control Strategy," by R. Orttung, C. Walker, The Washington Post, Jan. 10, 2014

"Hague's Azerbaijan Gas Pipeline Attacked," by Jim Armitage,The Independent, Dec. 17, 2013

"Azerbaijan's Leading Dailies Pay Steep Price for Criticizing the Regime," by Vugar Gojayev, Global Post, Dec. 13, 2013

"Plush Hotels and Caviar Diplomacy," by J. Doward and C. Latimer, The Guardian, Nov. 23, 2013

"Azerbaijan Is Absolutely Not A Model For Political Reform," by Mark Adomanis, Forbes, Nov. 20, 2013

"Free and fair elections are not just about the election day," by Maina Kiai, The Guardian, Oct. 29, 2013

"Azerbaijan Not the Stable, Prosperous U.S. Partner Often Portrayed," by Aslan Amani, The World Politics Review, Oct. 15, 2013

"Fairness an Issue, Even After Azerbaijan Votes," by David Herszenhorn, The New York Times, Oct. 10, 2013

"Azerbaijan Aliyev: Opponent Hasanli wants vote annulled," BBC News, Oct. 10, 2013

"Oops: Azerbaijan released election results before voting had even started," by Max Fisher, The Washington Post, Oct. 9, 2013

"Azerbaijan must use this election to end the Aliyev Dynasty," by Jamil Hasanli, The Guardian, October 8, 2013

"Azeri Leader Tied to U.S. Taps Oil Cash to Avoid Assad Fate," by Henry Meyer, Bloomberg, October 3, 2013

"Azerbaijan: How not to prepare for an election," The Economist, September 2, 2013

"Choices for the South Caucasus," by D. Corboy, W. Cortney, R. Kauzlarich, K. Yalowitz, The New York Times, Aug. 28, 2013

"Aliyev to Face Putin Before Azerbaijani Presidential Election," by Jamila Mammadova, Telegraph, Aug. 7, 2013

"Intimate video emerges, again, of reporter investigating Azerbaijan president's family," by Max Fisher, The Washington Post, August 7, 2013

"Director vs. Dictator," by Shaun Walker, The Independent, July 15, 2013

"How Azerbaijani is Like 'The Godfather,'" by Michael Weiss, The Atlantic, July 11, 2013

"Lobby Money Should Not Thwart US Support for Freedom in Azerbaijan," by E. Chakhtakhtinski, Global Post, June 28, 2013

"Azerbaijan Rolls Out Red Carpet for Visiting U.S. Lawmakers," by Larry Luxner, The Washington Diplomat, June 26, 2013

"The Great Pipeline Face-Off," by Art Patnaude, WSJ, June 21, 2013

"For Obama Ex-aides, It's Time to Cash In," by J. Eilperin and T. Hamburger, The Washington Post, May 30, 2013

"Iran Threatens Azerbaijan," by Alexandros Petersen, The National Interest, April 29, 2013

"A Trip Into Baku's 12th-Century Old City," Photogallery from RFE/RL, April 26, 2013

"Airmiles Andy is Back at the Despot's Table," by Nick Craven and Will Stewart, The Daily Mail, April 13, 2013

"News by and for the Authorities," by Christopher Walker and Robert Orttung, The New York Times, April 5, 2013

"Leaks Reveal Secrets of the Rich Who Hide Cash Offshore," by David Leigh, The Guardian, April 3, 2013

"EU's Problem Neighbors," by Rikard Jozwiak, RFE/RL, March 20, 2013

"Editor of Azerbaijan's Independent Newspaper Sentenced to 9 Years In Jail," The Washington Post, March 12, 2013

"Azerbaijan Police Use Rubber Bullets to Break Up Protest in Baku," The Washington Post, March 10, 2013

"As International Scrutiny Fades, Azerbaijan Scrambles to Silence Critics," by Rebecca Vincent, AlJazeera, March 6, 2013

"The Land of No Anti-Semitism," by Anshel Pleffer, Haaretz, March 1, 2013

"Inside The Department Of AliyevScience" - by Shahla Sultanova and Charles Recknagel, RFERL, Feb 24, 2013

"Azerbaijan is Rich. Now It Wants to be Famous," by Peter Savodnik, The New York Times, Feb. 8, 2013

"Novella's Sympathetic Portreyal of Armenians Causes Uproar in Azerbaijan," by Shahla Sultanova, The NY Times, Feb. 1, 2013

"On a Second Thought..." by Henry Grabar, The Atlantic Cities, Jan. 30, 2013

"Mexico: Statue of Ex-Leader of Azerbaijan Removed," The NY Times, Jan. 26, 2013

"Officials in Azerbaijan Claim to Restore Order to Rioting City," by Andrew Roth and Shahla Sultanova, The NY Times, Jan. 25, 2013

"Minor vehicle collision in Azerbaijan sparks mass riot, attack on local official’s son", The Washington Post, Jan. 24, 2013

"Mexico to Remove Controversial Statue to Former Azerbaijani President," The Washington Post, Jan. 23, 2013

"Tough Year Looms for Azerbaijan," by Ilan Greenberg, The National Interest, Jan 18, 2013

"Hundreds Gather in Baku in Social-Media Organized Protest," The Washington Post, Jan. 12, 2013

"This Should Have Been the Year..." by Helen Goodman, The Huffington Post, Dec. 20, 2012

"Despite Migration, Azerbaijani Village Life Goes On," RFE/RL, Dec. 6, 2012

"My Experience with Lax Embassy Security," by Matthew Bryza, The Wall Street Journal, Dec. 3, 2012

"Is Russia Running a Secret Supply Route to Arm Syria's Assad?" by Simon Shuster, Time, Nov. 29, 2012

"Filthy Rich: Britain's Favourite Dictatorship..." by Will Stewart, The Daily Mail, Nov. 24, 2012

An internet conference in a surveillance state, by Sarah Kendzior, Al-Jazeera, Nov 13, 2012

"Statue of a Foreign Autocrat Sits Uneasily With Some", by Elizabeth Malkin, The New York Times, Nov 12, 2012

Azerbaijan: “A Country that Portrays Social-Networkers as Mentally Ill”, by Hisham Almiraat, Global Voices, Nov 7, 2012

"The Internet is Not Free in Azerbaijan," by Emin Milli, The Independent, Nov. 6, 2012

"The Prince, the Brutal Dictator and a Friendship He Just Won't Give Up," by Tom Peck, The Independent, Nov. 1, 2012

"Prine Andrew Continues to Take a Close Interest in Azerbaijan," by Tim Walker, The Telegraph, Oct. 31, 2012

"Azerbaijan: The wrong kind of model," by Howard Eissenstat, The Washington Post, Oct. 19, 2012


Azerbaijan in International Reports

December 10, 2013: The Global Witness Report on Corruption in Azerbaijan's Oil Industry - "Azerbaijan Anonymous"

November 5, 2013 - European Stability Intiative Report on Azerbaijan's Presidential Elections - "Disgraced: Azerbaijan and the End of Election Monitoring as We Know It"

September 1, 2013 - HRW Report - "Tightening the Screws: "Azerbaijan's Crackdown on Civil Society and Dissent"

May 14, 2013 - Report of Civil Rights Defenders, Sweden based international human rights organization, on Human Rights Defenders in Azerbaijan

April 2013 - US State Department's Country Report on Human Rights in Azerbaijan

April 3, 2013 - ICIJ Report - Inside the Global Offshore Money Maze

January 2013 - Annual Report on Human Rights Watch - Chapter on Azerbaijan

December 2012 - Freedom House - Nations in Transit - Azerbaijan Country Report

October 29, 2012 - Amnesty International Report "Azerbaijan: Human Rights Abuses Placed Under the E-Spotlight"

October 25, 2012 - "The Struggle for Internet Freedom in Azerbaijan," by Vugar Gojayev

September 27, 2012 - Report on "Local and Regional Democracy in Azerbaijan," The Congress of Local and Regional Authorities, Council of Europe

May 24, 2012 - "Caviar Diplomacy: How Azerbaijan Silenced the Council of Europe. Part 1" - European Stability Initiative

May 9, 2012 - "Spotlight on Azerbaijan" - Foreign Policy Centre's Report on Human Rights Record of Azerbaijan

April 18, 2012 - EU Parliament's Resolution on EU-Azerbaijan Association Agreement

April 18, 2012 - EU Parliament's Resolution on EU-Armenia Association Agreement

April 2, 2012 - Sandie Shaw Calls on Azerbaijani Government to Stop Harassing Journalists - Amnesty International Report

February 29, 2012 - "They took everything from me" Human Rights Watch Report on Forcible Evictions In Azerbaijan

February 20, 2012 - The Amnesty International Briefing on Human Rights In Azerbaijan

October 4, 2011 - Norwegian Helsinki Committee's Report on Political Prisoners In Azerbaijan

September 23, 2011 - Human Rights Watch Letter to Azerbaijani Minister of Justice On Disbarred Lawyers

April 12, 2013 - IPGA Statement on Political 2012-2013 Political Persecutions in Azerbaijan

April 8, 2011 - US State Department's Human Rights Report on Azerbaijan for 2010

March 7, 2011 - Amensty International: Azerbaijan Must Halt Crackdown On Protest Organizers

February 15, 2011 - CPJ Report "Attacks on the Press 2010: Azerbaijan"

January 27, 2011 - ODIHR/OSCE Final Report on Azerbaijani Parliamentary Elections of Nov. 2010

November 8, 2010: ODIHR/OSCE Preliminary Statement on Azerbaijan's Parliamentary Elections

October 30, 2010: ODIHR/OSCE Second Interim Report on Azerbaijani Elections

October 26, 2010: HRW Report - Azerbaijan: Beaten, Blacklisted and Behind Bars

October 21, 2010: Azerbaijan: Free Expression Under Attack

September 2010 - Article 19 Report - Living As Dissidents: Freedom of Expression In Azerbaijan

September 3, 2010 - International Crisis Group Report: "Azerbaijan: Vulnerable Stability"

March 2010 - Resource Nationalism Trends In Azerbaijan - PETROSAM Program of Reasearch Council of Norway

March 11, 2010 - U.S. State Department's 2009 Report on Azerbaijan

February 24, 2010 - Global Integrity Report on Corruption in Azerbaijan

February 16, 2010 - NHC Report: "Nakhchivan: Azerbaijan's Dark Island"


Linked Info

"Azerbaijan's photographers: Capturing the raw truth" by R. Jafarov and R. Vincent, Index on Censorship, October 11, 2013

Aliyev's Cultural Spending Spree - by Emma, - May 16, 2013

OCCRP Names Aliyev "Person of the Year" - Dec. 31, 2012

"Sudden, Violent Demonstration Erupts In Northern Azerbaijan," by Karl Rahder, FPB, March 2, 2012

"Azerbaijan: Early 20th Century Satirical Magazine Offers Edgy Exploration of Eurasia,", Nov. 24, 2011

US Amb. Ross Wilson's Speech at the Atlantic Council Conference On Europian Energy - June 1, 2011

"Azerbaijan: Prominent Lawyer Disbarred, Youth Activist Arrested," by Karl Rahder, FPB, Feb. 6, 2011

"Azerbaijan Backtracks in Ukranian Organ Transplant Investigation,", Dec. 3, 2010

"More Troubles In Baku, Local Press Reports On "Magic Tree"," by Karl Rahder, FPB, June 20, 2010

"Azerbaijan Grapples With New Media Freedom," by Karl Rahder, ISN, June 7, 2010

"A Journalism (r)evolution in Azerbaijan," by Mark Briggs, Lost Remote, May 24, 2010

"IMF: The Party Is Over For Azerbaijan," by Shahin Abbasov, Eurasianet. org, May 24, 2010

"Alienating Azerbaijan?" by Karl Rahder, International Relations and Security Network, Apr. 27, 2010

"Colors and Flowers... and Soviet Spoils," by Ben Tanosborn, April 27, 2010

"The U.S. and the Persecution of Azerbaijan's Bloggers," by Joshua Kucera, trueslant.comm Nov. 11, 2009

"Story of a Father and Son," Frontline Club, Sep 28, 2009

"Hooligans?," RSF about arrested youth activists in Azerbaijan, July 11, 2009

"I Rule Here and Blind Democrats in Europe," by Ilgar Mammadov, REAL, June 27, 2009

Azerbaijan Marks Anniversary Of Its First Republic - Frontline Club, May 29, 2009

Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely - by Farid Guliyev,, April 16, 2009

So Much For Azerbaijani Democracy - by Michael J. Totten, Commentary Magazine, Oct. 21, 2008

Azerbaijan: Election Day Proves A Snooze - by Mina Muradova, Eurasia Insight, Oct. 15, 2008

Finding Elmar's Killers. Azerbaijan Special Report - by Nina Ognianova, CPJ, Sep. 16, 2008

Azerbaijani Opposition Mulls Presidential Election Boycott - by Liz Fuller

Naxcivan: More Tales From Azerbaijan's North Korea

It's National Press Day in Azerbaijan, But There's Little Cause For Celebration



November 22, 2013 - AZAD's Event: "The Quest for Democracy in Azerbaijan: Conversation with Jamil Hasanli"

November 7, 2013 - AZAD'S Event: "The Perils of Content with Azerbaijan: Is Status-Quo Sustainable for the West's Favorite 'Gas Station'?"

October 27, 2013 - National Council's Protest Rally in Baku

October 16, 2013 - U.S. Investor Jailed After Whistleblowing on Corrupt Business Deals With Azerbaijan

September 30, 2013 - "Concernus Theatricus": Azeri Youth TV Pokes US Ambassador Morningstar

July 31, 2013 - House Demolition in Khutor, Baku

July 2, 2013 - President Ilham Aliyev's speech in front of the Azerbaijani Police Forces

June 13, 2013: Harlem Shake Protest in Front of Azerbaijani Embassy in London

March 29, 2013 - Battle to Save Homes from Demolition in Baku

January 24, 2013 - Ismayilli Protests Continue

January 23, 2013 - Popular Uprising in Ismayilli

January 23, 2013 - Amazing Azerbaijan! Short Film

January 12, 2013 - Baku Protests Against Soldier Jeyhun Gubadov's Death

December 20, 2012 - British MP Helen Goodman Attacks Human Rights Record of Azerbaijan

December 19, 2012 - AZAD Forum "Azerbaijan's Untapped Potential for the West: Engaging Azerbaijani Society as a US Ally"

December 10, 2012 - Azeri Police Arrests... Government Supporter at Opposition Rally

December 10, 2012 - Public Chamber's Protest Action in Downtown Baku

October 20, 2012 - Opposition Protesters Demand Dissolution of Azerbaijani Parliament

October 1, 2012 - Million Dollar Bribe for a Parliamentary Seat: Secret Cam Recording with English Subtitles

More Videos...


Photo Essay on Heydar Aliyev's Cult of Personality in Azerbaijan - February 19, 2013

Popular Uprising in Ismayilli - January 23, 2013

Public Chamber's Rally - April 22, 2012

Youth Protest Rally in Bayil - March 12, 2012

Anti-French Protests In Baku - January 25, 2012

Youth Protests in Downtown Baku - December 3, 2011

Rally of the Public Chamber of the Azeri Opposition - June 19, 2011

Azeri Diaspora Rallies For Demoracy In Stockholm, Sweden - June 18, 2011

Public Champer Marks the Republic Day - May 28, 2011

April 17 Rally of Azeri Opposition - April 17, 2011

Azeri Diaspora Rallies For Democracy in Den Haag - April 6, 2011

Azeri Diaspora Rallies For Democracy in Strasbourg - April 2, 2011

Rally of Azerbaijani Democratic Forces - April 2, 2011

Free Azerbaijan Rally of AZAD - March 19, 2011

Musavat Rally Against Aliyev Regime - March 12, 2011

Youth Protests Against Aliyev Regime - March 11, 2011

Democratic Forces of Azerbaijan Commemorated M.A. Rasulzade - January 31, 2011

Hijab Protest In Nardaran - December 18, 2010

Parliamentary Elections In Azerbaijan - November 7, 2010

Azeri Diaspora In Netherlands Protested Against Ilham Aliyev's Regime - November 5, 2010

PFPA and Musavat's Joint Rally In Baku - July 31, 2010

Azeri Opposition's Protest Action In Baku - July 3, 2010

Azadlig Bloc Held "Unauthorized" Rally In Baku - June 19, 2010

Musavat and Union for Democracy Held "Unauthorized" Rally In Baku - June 12, 2010

Azadlig Bloc's "Unauthorized" Rally In Baku - June 5, 2010

International Act of Protest for Eynulla Fatullayev In Front of Azeri Embassy - June 3, 2010

Azadlig Bloc's Rally In Novkhani - May 28, 2010

Protest of Azadlig Bloc in Baku - May 15, 2010

Protest of Azadlig bloc in Baku - April 26, 2010

Surprise Youth Protest Action in Baku - Nov. 22, 2009

U.S. Azeris Commemorate Oil Academy Shooting Victims - May 10, 2009

Student Protests In Baku - May 10, 2009

Mirza Sakit Released From Jail - April 9, 2009

Azeris Marked Khojali Massacre In Front of Armenian Embassy - February 25, 2009

AZAD Holds Protest Rally In New York Against Unlimited Presidency in Azebaijan - January 9, 2009

AZAD Holds Protest Rally in Washington DC Against Unlimited Presidency in Azerbaijan - Dec. 30, 2008

Protests Against Constitutional Changes in Azerbaijan - Dec. 24, 2008

Ganja Celebrates Ilham Aliyev's Birthday - Dec. 24, 2008

Jailed Azeri Journalists, Brothers Ganimat and Sakit Zahidov at Their Fathers Funeral

Sacrifice Holiday in Azerbaijan - December 8, 2008

Military Parade in Baku - June 26, 2008