On the Ropes

by Nathan Hamm on 10/24/2005 · 5 comments

Protesters in Azerbaijan attempted to hold another unauthorized rally this weekend but police quickly intervened. A much smaller crowd gathered for this protest and RFE/RL notes that it may be more than the police crackdown that is driving down interest in the opposition.

Nair Aliyev, first deputy editor-in-chief of the Baku daily “Ekho,” told RFE/RL he, too, believes last week’s events have undermined the position of the opposition:

“The political climate is simmering with excitement. However, public opinion and politicians themselves are now much more interested in what’s happening within the government than with the radical opposition. What people are talking about today are the spectacular sackings and arrests of the past few days. This explains why [yesterday’s] opposition action did not arouse much interest. One must also say that Quliyev’s failure to return to Baku — whether authorities really prevented him from returning or, as some people say, he did not want to return — also played a role. People were ready to welcome him at the airport, but the fact that he never made it to Baku has dealt a severe blow to Azadliq,” Aliyev said.

Meanwhile, a political analyst with an unsufferably long title who works for the presidential administration has compared the opposition to Bolsheviks. It appears though that the basis of the charge has to do with a mere coincidence between the dates of the parliamentary election and the 1917 October Revolution. Of course, said analyst makes a leap and accuses the opposition of actually being Bolsheviks.

“Today’s unauthorized opposition rally, which will of course be dispersed, is one in a series of recent rehearsals for the staging of a coup d’etat, set for early November 7 — a revolution which our opposition calls ’orange’ for easy reference,” Akhundov said.

The Azadlyg opposition coalition is trying to accomplish an orange revolution with methods employed by the Bolsheviks during the 1917 October Revolution, he said. “If it is a success, they will make November 7 a red-letter day in Azerbaijan again, even though Russia has given up this holiday,” Akhundov said.

“The opposition must understand that Bolshevism will not be accepted today. The country is ruled by law and there is no chaos as in 1917. One can gain power only if supported by a majority of citizens. It is a tenet of democracy,” he continued.

Really, this guy is a laugh riot. He goes on to say the opposition could only win through vote rigging and that there is no way the Azeri government could tolerate such vile electoral practices.

For a roundup of the week in Azeri political news, visit neweurasia.

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– author of 2991 posts on 17_PersonNotFound.

Nathan is the founder and Principal Analyst for Registan, which he launched in 2003. He was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Uzbekistan 2000-2001 and received his MA in Central Asian Studies from the University of Washington in 2007. Since 2007, he has worked full-time as an analyst, consulting with private and government clients on Central Asian affairs, specializing in how socio-cultural and political factors shape risks and opportunities and how organizations can adjust their strategic and operational plans to account for these variables. More information on Registan's services can be found here, and Nathan can be contacted via Twitter or email.

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Inside outsider October 26, 2005 at 5:21 am

The reports on Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan are very interesting, but maybe you should look at the news coming out of Kyrgyzstan as well. Two (or more) rival demonstrations in the city centre, largely made up of rival criminal gangs, with criminal authorities roaming freely and appearing daily on TV. Thousands more criminals are expected to flood Bishkek in the next couple of days to attend the rallies, and many people expect war (it’s looking a lot like Dushanbe a decade ago)…

Nathan October 26, 2005 at 8:43 am

I’ve had plenty of links here. I just haven’t done a front page post on it.

Inside outsider October 26, 2005 at 7:25 pm

Well, maybe you should think about a front page post – it would be a useful public service alerting your readership (who include some quite influential people) to the dangers in the situation in Kyrgyzstan. Maybe you could atart by reporting the latest statement from the US DCM – in brief at http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/L26180235.htm and in more detail (in Russian) at http://www.akipress.kg/_ru_news.php?id=23102

Nathan October 26, 2005 at 7:29 pm

Sorry, it’s a matter of time, interest, and whether or not I have anything to add. I don’t get paid to do this, after all.

Nathan October 26, 2005 at 7:44 pm

Or, better yet, feel free to write a post rounding up the news and email it to me. You could just put links in parentheses and I’d make them hot.

My email address is my first name at the name of this site.

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