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Azerbaijan Is Trying to Improve Its Image before the International Community

After the November 1 parliamentary elections a new process has started in Azerbaijan. It refers to the resignations of top officials as well as arrests of various officials. According to the Azerbaijani president's decree, a few days ago the Minister of Communication and Information Technologies Ali Abbasov was dismissed. Despite the fact, that no reason for his dismissal has been mentioned, some Azerbaijani media sources reported that before being dismissed Abbasov was called to the Headquarter of Prosecutor General's Office for Fight against Corruption for interrogation.

In fact, this is the continuation of the Azerbaijani businessmen's case of wiretapping. Under President Aliyev's decree, Minister of National Security Eldar Mahmudov has earlier been dismissed from the post and is under house arrest. Mahmudov, and a number of his former employees, as well as former employees of Ministry of Communications and Information Technologies of Azerbaijan are accused for blackmailing and wiretapping the businessmen's conversations, as well as for extortion.

Of course, in case of such crimes, besides the dismissal, it would be natural to file a criminal case against these officials.  In case of Azerbaijan, however, following such a logic, may distract  from the reality. In such a closed country like Azerbaijan, where everything is under control, such large-scale operations could not be done without the so-called "permission".

And if that's the case, then a question arises; why did they start to speak about it publicly, and why has the president signed decrees on dismissal of ministers? There could be a number of reasons, but the most likely one is that some elements of the management system have become out of control, and  their actions no more derive from Aliyev’s and his clan’s interests.

And Azerbaijan, in fact, succeeded to present all these in a "package" as fight against corruption and crime to the international community.

Azerbaijani media continues to write about dismissals and arrests of people, who are  directly or indirectly involved in this.

Alongside this, in order to enhance their reputation the Azerbaijani authorities once again made a cunning step addressed towards the international community, which has recently started not only to actively criticize, but also to take some actions against human rights violations in Azerbaijan. 

Baku Court of Appeal, with a precondition not to leave the country, made a decision to set free historian and human rights activist, political prisoner Arif Yunus.  Such a move was highly appreciated by the international community, especially by the EU. The head of the EU Representation in Azerbaijan Malena Mard  described it as a "humanitarian act". Have the Azerbaijani authorities finally realized that their policy of isolation does not derive from their interests ...

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