Democratization activists in Azerbaijan are increasingly pessimistic about what they describe as the West’s lack of support for reform and the protection of basic rights in the energy-rich South Caucasus country.
There's a coffee shop in an out-of-the-way part of Baku where the walls are covered with illustrations from an early 20th century satirical magazine called Molla Nasreddin. The magazine represents a bygone era, when Azerbaijan was a font of new cultural trends in the Muslim world, pioneering such issues as female emancipation, anti-clericalism, anti-colonialism and labor rights
Eurovision did it with pop music, and the hope was that the World Economic Forum would do it with entrepreneurial spirit. But, in the end, what the Azerbaijani government had hoped would be another high-profile, image-enhancing event fell far short of expectations.
Hilal Mamedov, who is currently on trial in Baku on charges of spying for Iran, fuelling inter-ethnic hatred, and illegal possession of drugs, has been awarded the Azerbaijan Institute of Peace and Democracy’s Isakhan Ashurov Prize in recognition of his human rights engagement.
With eight months to go before Azerbaijan holds a presidential election, a series of recent initiatives suggests citizens are becoming more politically active, and Facebook, along with other social networking platforms, is shaping up as a campaign wild card.
A series of videos depicting graft inside the halls of power in Azerbaijan could have serious implications for one of the country’s most influential officials, 74-year-old presidential Chief of Staff Ramiz Mehdiyev.
The visage of Azerbaijan’s former leader, Heydar Aliyev, seems to be omnipresent in Baku; smiling down from highway billboards at cars, raising an arm in salutation outside the Central Bank, or appearing as an imprint on TV screens.