Russia has formally complained to Azerbaijan about "ethnic discrimination" against Russian citizens of Armenian origin, saying that 25 Russians so far this year have been denied entry to Azerbaijan because they had Armenian names.
"Russian citizens arriving in Azerbaijan are truly discriminated against on ethnic grounds," the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement on July 5. "We demand the cessation of this outrageous practice, inconsistent with the friendly relations between our two countries."
Azerbaijan has long denied entry to citizens of all countries, not just Russians, whose names end in the standard Armenian surname suffixes -ian or -yan. So why did Russia decide to complain publicly about it just now?
It could be a coincidence, but the statement came just after the start of a trial in Baku of a Russian citizen for illegal entry into Nagorno Karabakh, the territory that is de jure part of Azerbaijan but administered by an unrecognized, de facto Armenian-led government.
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