[:en]On October 19, the center of Baku near the May 28 metro station was blocked by reinforced police units, and a quick reaction regiment. Numerous law enforcement forces were drawn there; the movement of people and vehicles was prohibited. Power tried to create an information vacuum in social networks. Internet in the center of Baku was disconnected. Its speed has dropped to a minimum in the regions of the country. All this is a preventive reaction to the opposition”s call for a protest rally, which was supposed to protest against the policies of the President Aliyev”s administration, which restricts the freedom of speech, assembly, and livelihood of most of the population.
In fact, independent media in Azerbaijan either ceased to exist or there is a miserable existence, the main traditional means of mass broadcasting – TV is clearly under the control of the government and access to alternative voices is denied to them. Freedom of assembly is limited to a minimum. News on the Internet are full of numerous cases of the ban on meetings, even indoors and with a limited number of people.
The civilian actions of the opposition are blocked without any reason. Arrests and court decisions by orders are still the norm in public life. Monopolies, corruption, and malpractice have not been canceled. Recent increases in minimum pensions and salaries have not been able to make up for the loss of citizens after a double devaluation of the manat, an almost double rise in prices, especially for necessities of life.
Before October 15, Aliyev held a meeting of the economic bloc of his administration, the public part of which he used to send a signal those efforts to overcome the crisis give results, authoritative international structures report it, and innovative part of his team was aimed at gradually overcoming the crisis.
The president again addresslessly threatened corrupt officials, bribe takers, tax evaders, officials who impede the reforms carried out by him and his associates. In his speeches, he indirectly acknowledged that there are negatives in all areas, and he was determined to eliminate them.
Every year the president repeats similar statements, but they do not change much in the life of the country and ordinary citizens. Even the current innovations in delivering information to the public cannot convince the audience of the actual beginning or at least on the threshold of reforms that are not confirmed by any official document. Reforms are a fundamental change in the status quo. In terms of time, this is an operational restructuring of the system, in this case political and economic. Perhaps only the second. World experience is available.
At the meeting, Aliyev focused on the socio-economic issues, without mentioning the political side of the issue. Thus, we can conclude that the administration is ready for a partial restructuring of the economy under the dominant business structures of the ruling elite, which should not allow the development of a free and competitive business in Azerbaijan.
The venue of the meeting on October 15 (it was not a government building), the format of the participants, its coverage were more innovative than the president”s speech itself. It looks like some people prepared the format, and others prepared the speech. The next two meetings of the president with the heads of state organizations “Azeravtoyol” and the State Committee for Refugees were held in an unconventional and business format, and were designed to give novelty to the activities of the head of state. However, even this format, which was used by Russian image-makers in the 90s, no longer keeps up with the times, as well as the messages of the president himself.
The informational oppositional activity of the population is growing like a snowball and the government does not have time, yes, and cannot reorganize its work in accordance with the demand of the time, including formats, ideas, thoughts, and messages – all from the past. As before, these administrative gaps, including informational, organizational, political, economic, are covered by the law enforcement system, which does not stand guard over the law and the interests of citizens, but the interests of the government.
On October 19, thousands of police officers managed to defend the center of the capital from an opposition rally and its supporters. Hundreds of people were arrested, including Ali Karimli, leader of the Popular Front Party. However, people at the approaches to the city center in an opposition manner condemned the actions restricting their movement, and the policy of the authorities as a whole. Dissatisfaction also affected a huge number of blocked Internet users (who will say their word), even if they were not interested in political news. The authorities, through their actions, which usually end with unfulfilled expectations, and restrictions on the freedoms of not only potential rally participants, but also outside observers, are recruiting more and more former townsfolk into the ranks of their opponents. Time runs faster than the government acts.