· February, 2009

Stories about Azerbaijan from February, 2009

Azerbaijan: Sumgait

  28 February 2009

The Armenian Observer posts video from 21 years ago showing rioters in Sumgait during an anti-Armenian pogrom which left 26 ethnic Armenians and 6 Azeris dead.

Azerbaijan: Popular website back — minus forum

  28 February 2009

After several days of closure, the popular semi-independent Azerbaijani news and discussion website, Day.az, is back. However, raising additional questions about its brief disappearance, the site's forum — known for its open and somewhat democratic discussion — is not.

Azerbaijan: Thoughts on Khodjali

  26 February 2009

Following on from an earlier post, Sheki, Azerbaijan posts a photograph of a monument dedicated to those killed in the massacre of civilians in Khodjali, an Azeri inhabited town, during the Karabakh war. The blog notes that carnations have now become synonymous with grief and mourning in Azerbaijan and hopes...

Azerbaijan: Khodjali Anniversary

  26 February 2009

Sheki, Azerbaijan marks the 17th anniversary of the massacre of hundreds of civilians in the Azeri-inhabited town of Khodjali during the conflict with Armenia over the disputed territory of Nagorno Karabakh. The blog says that such victims can be found in every war zone where people “become toys in hands...

Armenia-Azerbaijan: A Girl's War

  23 February 2009

Unzipped: Gay Armenia posts details of a theatrical play performed in 2001 set against the backdrop of the Nagorno Karabakh war between Armenia and Azerbaijan. The blog says the play was taboo-breaking because in it an Armenian and Azerbaijani fall in love and nationalist sentiments which define the rhetoric in...

Azerbaijan: News site closed down?

  21 February 2009

Following a recent ban on foreign broadcasts in the country, the content of a leading news site considered more independent than most in Azerbaijan was replaced on Thursday with a message informing readers that the “project is closed.” Although the authorities denied any involvement with the site's disappearance, bloggers were not convinced.

Armenia: Remembering the Budapest Murder

  20 February 2009

Yesterday marked the fifth anniversary of the murder of 26-year old Gurgen Margarian, an Armenian officer attending a NATO Partnership for Peace program in Budapest, Hungary. Killed in his sleep with an axe wielded by his Azerbaijani counterpart, Ramil Safarov, some Armenian bloggers made special posts to commemorate the day.

Armenia-Azerbaijan: High-profile assassinations

  17 February 2009

On 3 February, less than a month before the first anniversary of post-election violence in Yerevan, an Armenian Deputy Police Chief was gunned down. Eight days later, and five weeks before a constitutional referendum to eliminate presidential term limits, the head of the Azerbaijani Air Force was killed. Bloggers naturally wondered who was behind both assassinations.

Azerbaijan: GONGOs

  14 February 2009

Blogs dealing with democracy across the globe continue to discuss last week's controversial visit to Azerbaijan by Obama campaign manager David Plouffe. Democracy Digest is the latest and says that the embarrassing event at least exposed the existence of government-organized NGOs (GONGOs) in authoritarian countries. The blog also says that...

Azerbaijan: Plouffe donates speaker's fee

  13 February 2009

Following the recent controversy surrounding a visit by Obama campaign manager David Plouffe to Azerbaijan, Blogger Interrupted says that his $50,000 speaking fee has been donated to the National Democratic Institute.

Azerbaijan: General's Assassination

  12 February 2009

Thoughts on the Road comments on yesterday's assassination of Lieutenant-General Rail Rzayev, commander of Azerbaijan's air force, in Baku and speculates on possible motives for the killing.

Azerbaijan: Plouffe's Puff Visit

  11 February 2009

Jemal Public Affairs casts doubts over comments made by Obama campaign manager David Plouffe that he had no idea about the political allegiances of the organization that hosted him on his paid visit to Azerbaijan early this week. The blog says that it is hard to believe that “one of...

Azerbaijan: Plouffe visit not on Obama's Behalf

  10 February 2009

Following the recent fallout from this week's visit to Azerbaijan by Obama campaign manager David Plouffe as well as news that his $50,000 speaker's fee will be donated to civil society groups in the region, the New York Times’ The Caucus blog says that the White House denies the controversial...

Armenia-Azerbaijan: LGBT roundup

  10 February 2009

With the traditional media in the South Caucasus rarely reporting on sexual or religious minority rights maturely, blogs have stepped in to fill the gap and Unzipped: Gay Armenia continues to post LGBT news from the region. Following recent homophobic remarks from local politicians and civil society activists as well as in articles in the local press, the blog says there is actually some good news for a change.

Azerbaijan: Obama campaign manager in Baku

  9 February 2009

Just weeks before a controversial referendum will likely remove a constitutional two-term restriction on the presidency, Barack Obama's campaign manager yesterday visited Baku, capital of the Republic of Azerbaijan. With foreign broadcasts recently banned in the oil-rich former Soviet republic, the trip has not been well-received by most online political commentators.

Armenia-Azerbaijan: Common Ground?

  6 February 2009

The Common Ground News Blog comments on a Global Voices Online post detailing a new cross-border online project between American, Armenian and Azerbaijani youth. The blog of the Search for Common Ground international NGO notes that the number one concern of youth in the two estranged South Caucasus neighbors is...

Azerbaijan: Tea Houses

  5 February 2009

Thoughts on the Road makes a stop at a roadside tea house in Azerbaijan and says that contrary to the upmarket stereotype of such establishments in the West, they are very much the preserve of men in the country. The blog also posts a video of a tea house in...

Azerbaijan: Prisoners of Conscience

  5 February 2009

Flying Carpets and Broken Pipelines says that Azerbaijan has the highest number of imprisoned journalists for any member of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). The blog details some of those serving jail sentences and says anyone who is deprived of the right to speak their mind...

Azerbaijan: Confusing Messages

  5 February 2009

Writing on Voodoo Knickers, Kimpossible says that the outcome of the upcoming referendum in Azerbaijan already looks a foregone conclusion and discusses some of the confusion surrounding posters alerting voters to the plebiscite.

Azerbaijan: Breaking Taboos

  4 February 2009

Nigar [RU] announces the publication of a controversial new book in Azerbaijan. Artush and Zaur: A Legend of Love tells the story of an Armenian and Azerbaijani against the backdrop of the emerging conflict over Nagorno Karabakh. Ромовый дневник [RU] links to a comment made on an Azerbaijani forum, now...