Azerbaijan’s unprovoked attack on the territory of Armenia stirred up a wave of discontent in Azerbaijan itself. Despite the ongoing propaganda and patriotic slogans, many were dissatisfied with Aliyev’s actions.
Altay Göyüşov, one of the few oppositionists, spoke about this on his page on Facebook:
I see that, Aliyev will not give up until entire world accepts Azerbaijan as an aggressive state.
And not only him, but all of us will suffer from this. As all Russian citizens are harmed today because of Putin’s aggression.
But if we do damage, it will be worth it. Because the society believes and supports Aliyev’s Zangazur, Yerevan narrative more than hi believes himself.
Personally, I don’t need Yerevan, Zangazur and I definitely condemn the night’s aggression against Armenia.
For me more important is to set aside land, territory, and raise desires and establish a fair system in the places where we sit now and live with dignity. And that’s the way to progress. If the majority doesn’t think so, neither themselves nor their children will see this day to come.
The words of the activist caused a strong reaction in society. Some condemned him, called him a traitor to the motherland. But there were those who supported. Such behavior quite painfully hit the image of the government, which is why it launched a campaign to denigrate the opposition.
Meydan.Tv, an oppositional resource, conducted a survey among the population of Baku, how they relate to the latest events and how the Karabakh issue can be resolved. The answers were different, but almost all spoke in favor of peace, since war only brings torment. What was hard was listening to the news about the dead at the front and that “our children should not die”
NIDA, an organization that advocates for democratic and social change in countries, said the following about the war:
Ending the ethnic conflict that has lasted more than 30 years and ensuring sustainable peace between peoples cannot be ensured through war and power. War serves nothing but to strengthen mutual aggression, hatred and suffering, and to encourage hostility between nations.
Both nations must understand very well the pains and pains of war, the sacrifices made and the meaninglessness of the instructions of power. The authorities of both countries must understand that any system and order created on the basis of violence is bound to collapse and be destroyed.
Just as there is no eternal strong side in war, there is no eternal winning side. Resolution of problems and misunderstandings, restoration of historical wounds, peaceful coexistence is possible only through peaceful means.
One of the activists of this movement, Azer Gasimli, wrote on his Facebook page on September 13:
I am against the war. Today, the war serves the interests of not the Azerbaijani People, but only a group of people, generally the authoritarian regime. Azerbaijan has an area of 86,6 thousand square kilometers that is known in the world, first of all, it is necessary to convert this area into paradise for our people to live happy and prosperous.
Healthcare, education, economy, all stolen and everything is in the hands of one family. Those who capture the power of the people send young people to death for the sake of their own power interests.
Ali Karimli, Chairman of the Popular Front Party also shared his opinion: “I, the Azerbaijani Popular Front Party and… the majority of our people, consider it our main task to ensure the sovereignty of Azerbaijan within the borders recognized by the international world, and we do not make any claims to territories outside our official borders’ — a notable contrast with the government’s irredentist approach to its territory.
Giyas Ibrahim, a former political prisoner said:
Current situation… is completely different from the war in 2020, and the authorities are very aware of that. People are unclear on the purpose of this most recent escalation.
Writer Samad Shikhi shared his opinion on his Facebook page:
Trolls are pouring out again, trying to come up with hashtags. But they are not aware of what they are doing. They call out that Armenia is attacking, and that Azerbaijan is standing strong. Don’t they see that the incident is happening in the territory of Armenia, not ours? The world will call us invaders.
However, both Samad and Ibrahim confirmed that they received very little support from the population, for the simple reason that people in Azerbaijan are afraid to speak out against the actions of the authorities, fearing for their lives. But there were those who were against such statements.
Ibrahim says that, while he received insults and verbal abuse following his posts, ‘those who supported what I wrote and those who shared their anti-war opinions were enough’.
And yet the hope for a better future in the country has not yet completely died. Recent events have shown that people should be bolder in their statements, more active and not afraid to go against Aliyev and the dictatorial government he created. It is impossible to passively follow the course of the government, never once asking the question, why do we need this?