21 May 2024, Tuesday, 20:26
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Expert: There’s Only One Difference Between Aliyev And Lukashenka

Expert: There’s Only One Difference Between Aliyev And Lukashenka

The power in Azerbaijan is completely rotten.

The so-called elections have ended in Azerbaijan. Ilham Aliyev allegedly won with more than 92% of the votes. Can what happened yesterday in Azerbaijan be called elections?

Charter97.org website spoke about this with ex-political prisoner and head of the department for conflict and migration studies at the Institute of Peace and Democracy Arif Yunusov:

— It was a real farce. The elections were an unexpected move, because Ilham Aliyev could easily rule until April 2025. Moreover, after his impressive victory in Karabakh, he has enjoyed a really high rating. We don’t conduct opinion polls, but I think it’s somewhere around 78% for sure.

He could have ruled calmly, but it all started with an unexpected visit from US Assistant Secretary of State James O'Brien, who arrived in Baku on December 6. The conversation was very heated. The problem was that recently Aliyev became as much a satellite of Putin as Lukashenka. With the hands of Aliyev, the owner of the Kremlin is punishing the Armenian leader Nikol Pashinyan. The Putin-Aliev tandem was formed. Russia's policy in the region is carried out with the help of Azerbaijan.

On this basis, a conflict arose with the Europeans and Americans last autumn. Aliyev ignored all Western sites, recognizing only Russian or post-Soviet ones (Moscow’s control zone).

During the meeting on December 6, Aliyev was given time to decide: you are either with Putin or with us. He was strongly advised to meet with Pashinyan in Brussels in the near future (January-February). Immediately after this meeting, a statement about early presidential elections suddenly appeared.

Even Aliyev's inner circle was taken by surprise. The leading opposition parties decided to boycott and stated that they would not recognize the results of the so-called elections.

By the way, Aliyev was congratulated on his victory by the same comrades from Putin’s entourage. The United States took a wait-and-see approach, waiting to hear what the OSCE observation mission would say.

Aliyev had no opponents. The six candidates who were against him were all people who had been campaigning for him for years. Four of them are members of parliament, and two are self-nominated pro-Aliyev members. It’s mind-blowing, but the presidential candidates praised Aliyev during the debates.

In fact, Aliyev could hold democratic elections for the first time in his life. He has an objectively high rating. After all, we have been waiting for a quarter of a century for the return of Karabakh. In conditions of conflict with the West, he could have held fair elections and would have won at least 75%. But what is Aliyev doing? Again, total falsifications, blatant carousels, mass stuffing of ballots.

Why did he do this? After all, there was no need! On the contrary, Aliyev will no longer have such an opportunity. But apparently it’s already in the blood. They cannot live without falsifications even in comfortable conditions. This suggests that this government is so rotten that it cannot do otherwise.

— Will there be a reaction from the West?

— Do you know how Lukashenka differs from Aliyev? I always say that one dictator has oil and gas, and the other does not. Therefore, the West sometimes turns a blind eye to the situation in Azerbaijan and messes around with Aliyev. He must bring the European Parliament or other politicians to a boiling point so that they make decisions. The energy factor, unfortunately, plays an important role.

Now the reaction of the West is very important for us. The reaction of the same CIS delegation is all nonsense. There is a geopolitical confrontation between Russia and the West, and we are, so to speak, at the bottom. We are closely monitoring the OSCE report, the reaction of the EU and the Americans.

We advocate sanctions not against Azerbaijan, but against Aliyev and his family personally, including for corruption. You see, all dictators, and Aliyev is a classic example, understand only force. For them, flirting is a sign of weakness. Aliyev perceives Putin as a dangerous force, so he obeys. This is the logic not only of Aliyev, but of all dictators.

By the way, all dictatorial regimes have used sports, music and other important international events for propaganda, starting from the time of Hitler. Now the situation is the same with Aliyev. He always uses international events (like Eurovision or the European Games) for propaganda purposes.

At the beginning of November last year in Dubai, the UN decided to hold the 29th Climate Change Conference — SOR29 — in Baku at the end of 2024. About 80 thousand guests from all UN countries are expected.

This is a very important event that Aliyev uses to promote and whiten his regime. Our Institute for Peace and Democracy raised this issue in Strasbourg on January 27. A special Coordination Center for Azerbaijani political emigrants was created. We created a petition calling on the leaders of democratic countries to boycott or link their visit to the Conference with the demand for the release of all political prisoners in Azerbaijan.

We put forward the slogan: “No to glorifying the repressive Aliyev regime with SOR-29! Azerbaijan without political prisoners!” The number of political prisoners in our country is growing, approaching 300. In Belarus, of course, there are many more political prisoners, but for us these are huge numbers. We don't have freedom of speech, freedom of movement, and so on. Modern Azerbaijan is an authoritarian police state where torture is the norm.

We are now distributing a petition and asking our Belarusian and Russian friends to help us boycott SOR29 in Baku at the end of this year.

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