On December 3, a group of Azerbaijanis in civilian clothes presenting themselves as environmentalists blocked the only road connecting Artsakh to Armenia, the Lachin Corridor. A few hours later it became known that the corridor was opened following negotiations.
However, it did not last long. Azerbaijanis presenting themselves as eco-activists blocked the Lachin Corridor again from December 12, this time placing tents there.
After the incident, the interview of Telman Gasimov, one of the participants of the protest, was circulated on social media and press. The latter, however, is known to be a former military officer and presents himself as a military and political expert.
The fact-checking team of Civilnet and the Armenian service of Liberty radio station have already addressed the topic of “environmentalists” who appeared on the road to Artsakh. Fact Investigation Platform also examined the videos and photos of Azerbaijanis blocking the corridor under the pretext of nature protection and collected additional information on the topic, particularly revealing that not only Telman Gasimov, but also others who are in the Lachin Corridor these days have nothing to do with nature protection.
Who are “environmental eco-activists”?
Hence, the research on the Facebook social platform showed that most of the activists positioning themselves as environmentalists these days are representatives of one or another Azerbaijani NGO, mostly state-sponsored, as well as journalists and doctors. Besides, one thing unites the participants of the protest: the Facebook accounts of almost all of them clearly show their connection with the ruling family of Azerbaijan.
For example, a user named Naile İsmayılova, according to her Facebook account, works with
“Yeni Həya” humanitarian and social support NGO. A fake account with the username Afag Ferzelibeyova published a photo from the protest site with the participation of Naile İsmayılova and Samira Mustafayeva, director of the “Proqnoz” independent social research center.
The latter also do not hide their strong sympathy for the President of Azerbaijan. One of them has Ilham Aliyev as her Facebook cover photo, and the other one has Aliyev in the profile photo frame.
The above-mentioned fake account published a number of other photos from the protest site with different people. For example, one of the photos shows Kubra Məhərrəmova, who, according to her Instagram account, is a columnist for oxu.az as well as a screenwriter and editor.
It is noteworthy, however, that in her cover photo too is Ilham Aliyev with Turkish President Erdogan.
Among the people who blocked the only road connecting Artsakh to Armenia were Cemile Abdulova, president of the NGO “Social Support for People with Hearing and Speech Impairment”, Tural Nurmammadov, the president of Qeder NGO, Tosif Mahmudzade, an employee of “Sokar” from the ruling “Yeni Azerbaijan” party. , QHT TV & QHT.az head Cesaret Huseynzade, Aktualtv.az website editor, Vatan TV founder and CEO Büllur Məmmədova, whose Facebook photo also features the former president of Azerbaijan, father of the current president and father-in-law of the vice president, Heydar Aliyev.
There were also other journalists at the site of the “environmental” action, who, in fact, were there not to cover, but to participate in the action. For example, Taleh Sahsuvarov, who is the editor-in-chief of the AzNews.az news website, as well as a member of the Public Council of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Azerbaijan. Sahsuvarov dances live with the protesters. Ilham Aliyev was again depicted in the background picture of the latter’s Facebook page.
Who leads the “environmental” movement?
A State Support Agency for Non-Governmental Organizations operates in Azerbaijan which finances a number of Azerbaijani NGOs.
Some of the people who blocked the road made publications, in which Fuad, the Program Manager of the State Support Agency for NGOs, and Elnur Bağırlı, the Head of Program Management Department, were also mentioned.
In addition, Aygun Aliyeva, Executive Director of the agency, is also active on Facebook. She made a publication thanking NGO representatives who “are part of the state and have given them historical moments.”
Before becoming the Executive Director, Aygun Aliyeva was the coordinator of the programs of the central office of the ruling “Yeni Azerbaijan” party’s youth union, as well as the deputy head of the executive power of Binagadi region.
Thus, putting together all the facts and information obtained from open sources, it becomes evident that the Azerbaijani activists who blocked the Lachin Corridor, the only road connecting Armenia to Artsakh, and pretending to be environmentalists, are not in fact environmentalists and are being instructed by the ruling power of Azerbaijan. As a matter of fact, the participants of the protest do not try to conceal this fact either.