Life in Azerbaijan’s Digital Autocracy: ‘They Want to be in Control of Everything’

This May, three top OCCRP editors flew to Ankara to meet a woman they hadn’t seen in years. Khadija Ismayilova is Azerbaijan’s most renowned investigative journalist, a longtime colleague, and a close old friend: practically family. For her pioneering work, she had spent 18 months in prison and five more years under a travel ban. But now she was finally free.

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Azerbaijan Tortures, Murders Armenian Prisoners of War

April 24 marked the 106th anniversary of the 1915–23 Armenian Genocide, which Ottoman Turkey committed. This genocide resulted in the systematic extermination of around 1.5 million Armenians. Meanwhile, Azerbaijan—with Turkey’s full support—continues its ethnic cleansing of Armenians on their indigenous land in the Republic of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) in the South Caucasus.

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‘Facebook isn’t interested in countries like ours’: Azerbaijan troll network returns months after ban

Facebook has allowed a state-backed harassment campaign targeting independent news outlets and opposition politicians in Azerbaijan to return to its platform, less than six months after it banned the troll network.

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I recognize Artsakh!

“We are Artsakh. We exist. Our existence is an undeniable fact, just like your own. 

We have an ancient tradition. During baptism, a person receives a name and a small cross on a woven red and white thread. It is a symbol of spiritual birth, a reminder of the obligation to resist evil. Thus, by naming someone we recognize one’s existence.

Today, evil has come to our frontiers. It cuts our roots and destroys our churches, trampling on and denying the very fact of our existence. Evil has no home of its own – it roams in the lowlands of indifference, always ready to strike. Until we are recognized, evil will try to destroy us, certain that no one will notice.

Evil has no place in the highlands of Artsakh. From experience we know that if we retreat, it will fill the space we leave behind, and then, changing its disguise, will knock on everyone’s door. We have accepted the battle and will hold our ground.

Artsakh is Us. We exist. Call us by our name.

From the manifesto of the civil initiative «I RECOGNIZE ARTSAKH»