As former country of the Soviet satellites the Republic of Azerbaijan has inherited of its ways. Indeed, the country is suspected of torturing and eliminating its political opponents. Supported by Turkey, Azerbaijan continues to annihilate what remains of Armenia. After Nagorno-Karabakh, it is likely that the conflict with Armenia will spread to Nakhichevan. Despite this, Baku will host COP29 in November 2024.

End of Soviet domination

The Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic was established on 14 March 1937. In January 1990 Berlin Wall fall down and people’s revolts appear against USSR. In addition this movement took the opportunity to launch a pogrom against the Armenian population of Baku. Part of the Armenian civilian population was beaten, tortured, killed or expelled from the city. To regain control of the country, the Red Army launched a bloody intervention on 20 January 1990. The repression failed to control the situation over time and Azerbaijan finally won its independence in 1991 after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

A democracy transmitted from father to son !

One year after Azerbaijan’s independence, presidential elections were held. Aboulfaz Eltchibeï, leader of the Popular Front of Azerbaijan, won the election with 55% of the vote on June 1992. His governance was short-lived, President Elchibeï was removed from his functions on June 1993 after a priode of instability. Heydar Aliyev, the former president in office during the Soviet period, took over as interim president and then won the elections with 98.8% of the vote on October 1993. He was successively re-elected until 2003. For health reasons, he decided not to stand for re-election. To ensure his succession, he appointed his son Ilham Aliyev as Prime Minister. Ilham Aliyev naturally stood to succeed his father in the presidential election. He won the election with 76.84% and becturkishame President on 15 October 2003. He was re-elected for the 4th time on 7 February 2024 with 92.1% of the vote. How can we speak of democracy when power is centralized around a family clan?

After Nagorno-Karabakh, Nakhchivan?

Nagorno-Karabakh was an oblast attached to the Soviet Socialist Republic of Armenia. In 1923, following tensions between Russia and Armenia, the region was allocated to Azerbaijan. In 1991, after the fall of the Soviet era, the republics under Moscow’s tutelage gained their independence. Nagorno-Karabakh, with its predominantly Armenian population, revolted against Azerbaijan to form a self-proclaimed republic. Tensions surrounding this region escalated into armed conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan in October 2020.

In September 2023, Azerbaijan launched its assault and forced the Armenian separatists to lay down their arms. Azerbaijan’s military victory led to the exodus of 100,000 Armenians, which corresponds to 80% of the population.

Nakhchivan is an autonomous republic of the Republic of Azerbaijan. This territory of 5,500 km² is an Azeri exclave within Armenian territory. This region is currently saved despite the tensions between Armenia and Azerbaijan. The lack of territorial continuity is a source of tension between Armenia and Azerbaijan. In addition, Armenia disrupts any direct communication between Nakhchivan and Azerbaijan.

A sense of impunity shared by Azerbaijan and Turkey

The 1915’s Armenian genocide was recognized for the first time in 1965 by Uruguay. Nowadays most Western nations recognize the genocide but some African and Asian countries remain neutral. Turkey, Azerbaijan and Pakistan still explicitly deny that Turks committed genocide at the end of the Ottoman Empire. Armenia and its people are not an attention point for the nations’ concerns. It does not receive the same attention as Ukraine or Palestine. Azerbaijan’s attitude towards Armenia is supported by Turkey which encourages Azerbaijan to continue to do so. The country will maintain a strong focus to obtain territorial continuity with Nakhichevan without worrying about Armenia and the Armenians.

Azerbaijian is going to be the host country for the UN Climat Change Conference (COP29) on November 2024. The event will be led by a former employee of the Azeri oil company SOCAR. Such a designation appears ti be a scandal. Human rights abuses, repression of regime’s opponents, war in Nagorno-Karabakh and Baku’s dependence on hydrocarbon revenues are likely undermine the credibility of COP29. Azerbaijan is trying to disguise what it really is by giving itself the image of a country involved in the fight against global warming.

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