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Azerbaijan: Great People's Day marked by small turnout, arrests

Azerbaijan: Great People's Day marked by small turnout, arrests

The Great People’s Day, conceived by a handful of Azerbaijani opposition figures as a country-wide day of symbolic protests and local rallies, was held as scheduled on 11 March, and was for the most part a non-event.  Arrests took place as soon as protesters assembled in various locations, although reportedly one group managed to march […]

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Azerbaijan's March 11 "Great People's Day" approaching

Azerbaijan's March 11 "Great People's Day" approaching

Tension is rising in Azerbaijan in the run-up to the 11 March “Great People’s Day.” The event was launched on facebook and has spread to other media, although specifics are somewhat vague, which seems to be a deliberate tactic.  People are being urged to stage symbolic or actual protests “in a civil way without provocations” […]

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Iranian narcotics and Levon Ter-Petrossian: what the Wikileaks cable actually said

Iranian narcotics and Levon Ter-Petrossian: what the Wikileaks cable actually said

Has former Armenian president Levon Ter-Petrossian been personally profiting from the Iranian narcotics trade?  This is the conclusion that some people are drawing from a Wikileaks release on the Norwegian news site Aftenposten. The cable can be viewed here, and the story has gotten circulation on Armenian web sites, including PanArmenian.net, whose editors wrote the […]

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Terror threat in Baku, and new Wikileaks on the Israel-Azerbaijan relationship

Terror threat in Baku, and new Wikileaks on the Israel-Azerbaijan relationship

Speculation in Baku was rife last week over the temporary closing on Monday of the Israeli embassy.  Many news sources such as the opposition newspaper Yeni Musavat theorized that the reason for the closing of the embassy was security-related.  In any case, the embassy was apparently closed for “technical reasons” and re-opened. The Israeli Foreign […]

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Azerbaijan: prominent lawyer disbarred, youth activist arrested

Azerbaijan: prominent lawyer disbarred, youth activist arrested

Disturbing news out of Azerbaijan today, where a prominent defense attorney has been effectively disbarred and a young political activist was arrested on drug charges. Osman Kazimov, a well-known defense lawyer who has defended, among others, Said Nuri, was reportedly kicked out of Azerbaijan’s Collegium, a body that functions like an über bar association.  By that […]

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Chances of Egypt-style revolution in Azerbaijan? Slim to none.

Events in Tunisia and Egypt are being closely monitored and discussed by pro- and anti-government forces in Baku these days, with postings on web forums, Twitter, facebook, and blogs – not to mention established web sites and newspapers.  Even in Egypt, the well-known “sandmonkey” blogger has tweeted about Azerbaijan, expressing thanks for support the protesters […]

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Anti-American diatribe appears in official Azerbaijani journal

A few days ago, an ad hominem attack on the US appeared in the pages (or on the web site) of “Azerbaijan,” the official journal of Azerbaijan’s parliament, the Milli Majlis.  The article delved into real and imagined hypocritical facets of US foreign policy since the end of the Second World War, and despite its […]

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Caucasus year in review, part 2

Armenia I’ve already written at length on the wreckage of the Armenian-Turkish reconciliation process, surely the biggest story of 2010 for Armenia and perhaps the entire Caucasus. So let’s turn to a few less-reported issues from Armenia, including the prosecution of journalists and activists. On 28 December, Davit Kiramijian, 19, and Sargis Gevorgian, 18, received […]

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Caucasus year in review, part 1

This just in: Matt Bryza was confirmed today (December 29) as the new US ambassador to Azerbaijan. About time. This was a “recess appointment” by the White House, necessitated by a “hold” placed on Bryza by California Senator Barbara Boxer and Robert Menendez of New Jersey, both Democrats responding to strenuous criticism of Bryza from […]

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Wikileaks reveal President Aliyev's views on Iran, Turkey, and regional security

Sunday’s Wikileaks release containing some 250,000 diplomatic cables included headline-creating news regarding Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev. One of the cables, marked as “confidential” (not a terribly high level of secrecy) was “classified” and perhaps written by Donald Lu, who at the time was the US Chargé d’Affaires in Baku. The cable summarizes in great detail […]

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Second donkey blogger released by Azerbaijani court

Second donkey blogger released by Azerbaijani court

In a stunning development, Emin Milli, the second so-called “donkey blogger,” was granted a release from prison today by an Azerbaijani court.  Details are still sketchy, and Radio Free Europe does not appear to have confirmation yet that Milli is actually out as of press time.  One of my sources claims that Milli has been released, […]

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Update on Adnan Hajizade

This blog may have been the first news source anywhere (or at least the first non-Azeri source) to confirm that Adnan Hajizade was actually released from prison – although RFE/RL was apparently first to report the court’s decision to release him.  See attached two superb pictures taken by freelance journalist Turkhan Karimov. Karimov emailed me, saying […]

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Donkey blogger released from prison

In a surprise move, jailed “donkey blogger” Adnan Hajizade was released from prison in the last two hours. He had been serving a two-year sentence on charges of “hooliganism” after being mauled by thugs in a Baku cafe in 2009. Coincidentally, the charges and the assault took place not long after Hajizade produced (and starred […]

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Another spy scandal in Georgia

Another spy scandal in Georgia

Big news out of Georgia (which is where I am until 17 November), where thirteen men were arrested on charges of spying for Russia, Georgia’s nemesis. Most of the men were arrested in October, and the Ministry of Internal Affairs made the announcement on 5 November, perhaps due to Reuters breaking the story a week […]

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Strasbourg Court rules against Azerbaijan. Again.

Once again, the European Court of Human Rights has ruled against Azerbaijan. RFE/RL reports that the Court (commonly referred to as “the Strasbourg Court”) has ruled that the Azerbaijani government illegally annulled the election victory of pop singer Flora Karimova after the 2005 parliamentary elections. The court ruling (which is available here) addressed decisions of […]

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About the Author

Karl Rahder
Karl Rahder

Karl Rahder has written on the South Caucasus for ISN Security Watch and ISN Insights (http://www.isn.ethz.ch/isn/Current-Affairs/ISN-Insights), news and global affairs sites run by the Swiss government. Karl splits his time between the US and the former USSR - mostly the Caucasus and Ukraine, sometimes teaching international relations at universities (in Chicago, Baku, Tbilisi) or working on stories for ISN and other publications. Karl received his MA from the University of Chicago, and first came to the Caucasus in 2004 while on a CEP Visiting Faculty Fellowship. He's reported from the Caucasus on topics such as attempted coups, sedition trials, freedom of the press, and the frozen Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. For many years, Karl has also served as an on-call election observer for the OSCE, and in 2010, he worked as a long-term observer in Afghanistan for Democracy International.

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