Thursday, February 10, 2011

Repercussions in Azerbaijan

It hadn't occurred to me that events in Tunisia and Egypt would much impact the Caucasus, but apparently they've made waves in Azerbaijan:
"Opposition groups in Azerbaijan are calling for the release of a 20-year-old political activist who was arrested last week after posting a message on his Facebook page calling for Egypt-style protests in Baku's central square...

"Two days after the Egyptian protests began on Jan. 25, the government appeared to launch a preemptive strike against an similar uprising in Azerbaijan.

"The government's anti-corruption commission, which is overseen by presidential Chief of Staff Ramiz Mehiyev, convened Jan. 27 for the first time since 2009. In the following weeks, several government officials have made announcements promising far-reaching anti-corruption measures within government ministries. According to the newspaper Yeni Musavat. 18-year president Ilham Aliyev is also considering reshuffling his Cabinet and calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Artur Rasizade...

"A week earlier, a group of about 100 opposition leaders and human rights activists gathered in a central square in Baku calling for new parliamentary elections, threatening popular protests if the government did not comply."

These are, however, really small protests. Buoyed by energy revenue, Azerbaijan's government is reputedly popular on the street, and it certainly seemed that way when I spent a few days there in 2006. Azeris might like less corruption and greater political freedom, but don't seem that interested in upsetting the status quo to get them.



Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home