Ali Novruzov


April 22, 2010

Ambassador-at-Last

As anti-American hysteria of official Baku reaches its climax these days, Steve LeVine brings back an old rumour – after nearly eight months with a Chargé d’affaires, US has decided to appoint an ambassador to Baku.


April 1, 2010

News from America, 130-year old

There was a beautiful Azerbaijani newspaper Akinchi (The Cultivator) published between 1875 and 1877. So what did The Cultivator wrote about America then? Below are some excerpts published in Aynur Bashirli’s In a Spotlight of Free Press: New York Times about Azerbaijan and translated here by me.


February 1, 2010

Pro-gov’t MP: Designate birthday of President’s mother as Mothers’ Day in Azerbaijan

For 70 years, Soviet Azerbaijan celebrated 28 April as a national holiday – it was conceived as the victory of revolution in the country, the date of its Sovetization and liberation of workers.


January 31, 2010

Democracy is … POSSIBLE

Despite the arrest and conviction of one of their co-founders, Adnan Hajizade with an apparently trumped-up charges, OL! Youth movement has released a new video telling that they are still in and not disillusioned in their quests.


January 2, 2010

Azeri Ambassador proposes to rename Kazakhstan’s capital in favor of Nazarbayev

Ambassador of Azerbaijan to Kazakhstan Latif Gandilov suggested to the President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev to rename its capital Astana into Sultan-Ata (“Father Sultan”), Interfax-Azerbaijan reported.


December 25, 2009

EU resolution “an attempt to damage democratic image of Azerbaijan”

Recently, the European Parliament has adopted a resolution initiated mainly by Dutch MEP Marietje Schaake and Lithuanian MEP Vytautas Landsbergis condemning the current state of freedom of expression in Azerbaijan.


November 27, 2009

‘In Facebook, it is not me,’ says Azeri politician

Recently, one Azeri politician and analyst Ilgar Mammadov called another politician and analyst Eldar Namazov: “I’ve sent you a friendship request through Facebook, accept it please.” Eldar Namazov raised his eyebrows in surprise: “But I have no profile in Facebook!”


November 12, 2009

Two Azeri Bloggers receive prison terms

On 11th November, despite huge international and internal pressure, Sabail District Court of Baku presided by Justice Araz Huseynov convicted two Azerbaijani bloggers Emin Milli and Adnan Hajizade on controversial hooliganism charges.


October 14, 2009

Detained Azeri blogger turns 30 in jail

Today, on 14 October, detained Azerbaijani blogger Emin Milli is celebrating his birthday in a Baku jail.


September 28, 2009

Story of a father and son, with intermission

Democratic activism is a long tradition in Hajizade family, as well as the state of being assaulted and beaten for their activities – the new element here is the fact that Adnan Hajizade now is being tried for both. A story of a father and son with intermission of sixteen years


August 20, 2009

New motto of Azeri Government – there’s no such thing as bad publicity?

As the government in Baku continues to crack down on dissent, the least it is concerned with seems to be its reputation abroad.


August 12, 2009

End of an epoch – dismantling Baku’s suburban railways

Photo from Aztelekom.org Starting on 12 August, Azerbaijani transportation authorities have begun to dismantle Baku’s celebrated, but rapidly degrading suburban railway system, which was founded by famous Swedish family of the Nobels and went through several major overhauls in its history. Constructed between 1878 and 1880, a short private railway line started to carry petrol […]


July 23, 2009

Republic of Facebook

Following the beating and arrest of two youth activists and bloggers in Baku, who were using new media as well as Facebook to spread their ideas among their followers, the local online community has exploded in a way that prompted support from global community ifor the arrested bloggers and in general, the freedom of speech […]


July 22, 2009

A Tale of Two Mayors: Who is the Mayor of London?

If I am not mistaken, then I think that the Mayor of London is ought to be Boris Johnson nowadays. Without checking any online news or information sources, looking up any official websites – I can recall that it should be Boris Johnson. I clearly remember when he was elected – people were talking  whether […]


July 11, 2009

Beaten activists sentenced for two months while investigation goes on

On 10 July 2009, a session of Sabail District Court of Baku, chaired by Justice Rauf Ahmedov, has sentenced two civil society activists – Emin Abdullayev (Milli) and Adnan Hajizada to two months of pre-trial investigation detention. Emin Milli and Adnan Hajizada are accused of ‘domestic group hooliganism’ according to Article 221.2 of Criminal Code […]


July 9, 2009

Beaten youth activists to stand trial for hooliganism

As I reported in my previous post, two prominent civil society activists and leading figures of youth movement in Azerbaijan – Emin Milli (Abdullayev) and Adnan Hajizada have been attacked while dining at a downtown restaurant and got severely beaten. Moreover, when they tried to complain to police, they were detained as suspects in ‘hooliganism’ […]


July 9, 2009

Civil society and youth activists beaten and detained in downtown Baku

Two prominent Azeri civil society and youth activists – Emin Milli, one of the founders of Alumni Network, a grassroots youth movement and Adnan Haji-zadeh, a video-blogger from OL! Youth Movement have been attacked by unidentified persons while dining with a group of fellow activists in a restaurant in downtown Baku. According to witnesses, two suspicious ‘sportsmen’ entered the […]


June 23, 2009

From Baku to Strasbourg: 40,000-euro-worth idiosyncrasies

According to Azeri Press Agency, Heydar Aliyev Foundation, named after a former KGB strongman and communist party chief turned president, and which operates in and from the Republic of Azerbaijan, a secular Shia state, has donated €40,000 to Cathedral of Our Lady of Strasbourg. The foundation is headed by the First Lady of Azerbaijan who […]


June 2, 2009

Waiting five years for a five-minute chance

This recent blog post by an Iranian blogger “cautiously speaking from inside Iran” sounded to me so familiar that I wanted to share it with you: As you might know, private television channels are forbidden by the law in Iran. In general, power-holders are really touchy about any media that could challenge their authority. […] […]


June 1, 2009

Update: Who is who in Iran’s elections?

Well, two days ago, when I wrote a post about upcoming presidential elections in Iran, I should have guessed it – I was stepping into a mine field 🙂 Ethnicity was always a very sensitive issue in Iran, and my speculations about ethnic background of Iranian presidential candidates received some feedback from my Iranian readers […]


May 30, 2009

Election time in Iran

I admit there are two things in Iran that we, Northern Azeris envy – the first is cheap petrol and the second is free an fair elections. No joke! Yesterday, American news magazine Time started one of its articles with this paragraph: The presidential candidate was greeted last Monday at the airport by a jubilant […]


May 29, 2009

Azerbaijan marks anniversary of its first republic

On 28th of May, Azerbaijan marked 91th anniversary of its first republic. Azerbaijan Democratic Republic or ADR as known by its initials is considered the first democratic republic in Muslim East with a functional parliament and clean record of human rights. As I wrote in my post last year, Proclaimed on 28 May, 1918 and […]


May 4, 2009

A historic wall in Baku

Well, not as historic as the Berlin wall, but still interesting one with graffiti across all spectra of political scale. Slogans vary from "Sexual Revolution" and "Our Fatherland is USSR" to "Death to Israel" and "[email protected]#$ Bush!". With an English guide by the members of local OL! movement.


May 4, 2009

Barack Obama singles out Azerbaijan

In his statement in honor of World Press Freedom Day, U.S. President Barack Obama singled out Azerbaijan among the "corner[s] of the globe" where journalists are in jail or being actively harassed: In every corner of the globe, there are journalists in jail or being actively harassed: from Azerbaijan to Zimbabwe, Burma to Uzbekistan, Cuba […]


May 2, 2009

Baku shooting: some unanswered questions

According to Reuters on 30 April, 2009, a gunman entered State Oil Academy in Baku, Azerbaijan and “went from floor to floor firing on teachers and students after the bell rang for morning classes” before killing himself. According to official sources 13 people, including the gunman himself – Georgian citizen of Azeri descent, Farda Gadirov […]


April 26, 2009

Civil society addresses an open letter to the President

A group of prominent Azeri intellectuals, civil society and NGO leaders, and independent journalists has addressed an open letter to Ilham Aliyev, the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan. The letter signed by 24 people states in particular: As the representatives of the nation which was the leader of democratization in the Muslim world and […]


April 26, 2009

How many idiosyncrasies?

Not long ago, in 1920, Mammed Amin Rasul-zadeh wrote that Azerbaijan was born from a Turkic father and Iranian mother. I would like to add that Azerbaijan had Russian stepparents. Once I wrote to a person in the other side of the Atlantic and not mentioned my country, for I thought that why an ordinary […]


April 16, 2009

Youth activist expelled from university

Once I wrote an innocent piece for azadliqciragi.org, an Azeri-language version of Cato Institute’s Lamps of Liberty and I don’t know how, but my dean N.A. at university got aware of it (too old and conservative to surf in Internet). Later followed what my dean called "educational conversation" between us in order to persuade me […]


April 14, 2009

The Greatest Uzbek

Azerbaijan, the official newspaper of Azerbaijani Parliament (Milli Majlis) has published an article titled The Greatest Uzbek – a 3,000-word panegyric about Islam Karimov, the authoritarian leader of Uzbekistan. What is interesting about the article is an honest acknowledgement of darkest moments of his life, and his authoritarian style, and a sincere admiration with all […]


April 12, 2009

6,000 new jobless since December 2008

Fineko/abc.az reports that according to Arif Veliyev, the chief statistician of Azerbaijan 6,000 people have lost their jobs since December 2008. The report continues that "as of 1st February 2009 five registered unemployed persons claimed per vacancy in Azerbaijan against four ones in December and three ones in September of 2008." Keep in mind that […]