Rufat Ahmadzada
Observing the Caucasus, Iran and Middle East

Azerbaijan and the changes in Armenia

Aliyev and Pashinyan together.

The political processes that resulted in the sacking of the Sarkisian regime in the face of pressure from the Armenian people’s movement and the election as prime minister of the leader of the Popular Movement, Nikol Pashinyan, have led to the isolation of the Aliyev regime in the region. This month when the centenary of the Trans-Caucasus republics will be celebrated, there are already two republics with parliamentary systems in the South Caucasus, but unfortunately Azerbaijan is not one of them. The political status quo since 1993 has led to the country becoming more authoritarian through the total violation of human rights and freedoms and the formation of a monarchic authoritarian political system. As is evident from political theory, authoritarian regimes always see danger for themselves in the paving of the way to democratisation and political pluralism through popular movements in neighbouring anti-democratic regimes, and always seek to prevent these processes by any means. The replacement of the pro-Russian Sarkisian in Armenia with the popular candidate Pashinyan has made the Aliyev regime uncomfortable.

In a situation in which the Azerbaijani nation has been deprived of political freedoms in subordination to the Aliyev family monarchy, the country has reached the centenary of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic not as a leading democracy, but as a dictatorship governed by a medieval feudal mentality. After the appointment of Ilham Aliyev as president yet again in April, his personnel appointments show that the Aliyev regime does not intend to make any reforms. As a rule, we must admit that authoritarian regimes are not going to make any political reforms of their own volition. The Armenian scenario once again proved that an authoritarian regime could be changed by strong pressure from the people. The family monarchy transfers Azerbaijan’s natural resources to offshore accounts, crudely violates political freedoms and human rights, and acts against the development of the country. The regime intends to maintain its authority with the support of foreign patrons, especially Russia. The transformation of Armenia into a country where political freedoms and other democratic indices are developing and democracy has been firmly established is a threat to the Aliyev regime. In order to maintain its continuity, the regime may go for adventurism such as derailing the democratisation process by opting for military confrontation in the region with Russia’s support.

The ultimate goal of the establishment of the monarchic regime, which Ilham Aliyev started with a referendum in March 2009, is his wish to bring his heir to power as his father once did. Aliyev is preparing his son for the presidency. This once again shows that the Aliyev regime has become an open threat to Azerbaijan’s statehood, and that it is really important to eliminate this threat in the near future and restore Azerbaijan’s statehood. While the values and ideals of the people who created the Azerbaijan Republic 100 years ago made Azerbaijan known in the international media as the first Muslim republic or the most developed Muslim country, the Aliyev regime makes Azerbaijan known in the world as a monarchic dictatorship which is violating the rights we were born with. With the destruction of republicanism, political pluralism and democratic institutions by the political regime, Azerbaijani statehood can no longer be said to exist. It is ridiculous to speak of statehood under the rule of one family.

Azerbaijan could be the true political and moral successor to the Azerbaijan Republic, which ensured Azerbaijani statehood, parliamentarianism and political freedoms at the highest level and protected universal human rights at the highest level. The current Aliyev dictatorship is not statehood, but anti-statehood.

Back in 2011 before the civil war began in Syria, the country had been governed by a family dictatorship for many years and political freedoms had been harshly stifled. Everyone is now aware of the disasters that monopoly rule and socioeconomic injustices have brought upon this clan country. Taking into account the similarity between the Assad and Aliyev regimes, the future of the Azerbaijani people is in great danger, and our people should seek to prevent this danger.   

About the Author
A native of Azerbaijan, I write extensively on political developments in the Caucasus, Iran and the Middle East. City, University of London graduate.