Category Archives: Caucasus

Baku Refuses to Release Political Prisoners, Criticizes Washington

On December 28, Azerbaijani president Ilham Aliyev signed his annual list of pardoned prisoners. Despite the hopes of many in Azerbaijan and abroad, none of the country’s 95 political prisoners were on the list. Human rights activists are at odds as to the reasons for Aliyev’s continued crackdown on journalists and political dissidents. On the [...]
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Azerbaijan’s Currency Lost Half its Value in a Day

On December 21, The Central Bank of Azerbaijan announced the transition to a floating exchange rate for the manat, causing the national currency to immediately drop by 48% against the dollar. With financial analysts at odds over the benefits of such an approach, the country’s residents are struggling to deal with the sudden shock. On [...]
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Azerbaijan: Leyla Yunus Freed, but Regime Harshens

On December 9, the prominent human rights activist and her husband, Arif, were released from jail on a five-year probation. While the world celebrates the couple’s release, the Azerbaijani regime is continuing its crackdown on political dissidents. Leyla and Arif Yunus were arrested last summer on charges of espionage. In August of this year, the [...]
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Azerbaijan: Questions over Transparency as 30 Die in Oil Platform Fire

Dozens have been reported dead or missing after an explosion on an oil platform in Baku owned by the Azeri state oil company, SOCAR. The exact number of victims is still unknown due to conflicting data provided by the investigation team. Meanwhile, questions abound regarding the share of Azerbaijan’s oil being extracted at the platform [...]
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Islamic State Sees Surge of Caucasus Recruits

Of the four Caucasian nations – Russia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Armenia – only the last seems to have none of its nationals fighting with Islamic State jihadis in Iraq and Syria. Georgian authorities estimate that more than 200 of its citizens, primarily ethnic Chechens from the Pankisi Gorge region, are fighting in Syria and Iraq, [...]
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