”The Black Mirror of Azerbaijan”: Passages from the Removed Interview of Political Emigrant Zeynal Ibrahimov

In early January, an Azerbaijani journalist and writer, currently political emigrant Zeynal Ibrahimov released his book, titled “35 Letters to His Son,” in which the author describes the way of Heydar Aliyev’s government and studies the causes of hatred towards Armenians in the Azerbaijani society. Victims of Baku, Sumgait and Khojaly are being revived in the book, Ibrahimov analyzes historical myths and their origins. In this sense, the book is unique and unexpected. Journalist of the ”Caucasus Echo” Katerina Prokofieva took interview from Ibrahimov, which was removed from the website and Prokofieva was fired from work…

Nevertheless, several sites have published the interview, some pieces of which we present to you.


- What is your comment on January 20, Zeynal, which you are talking about in your book and which Azeris call “Black January”?

- January 20 cannot be separated from January 13, they are inseparable as the Armenian massacres began on January 13. One came as a result of the other. The massacre would not start on January 20 otherwise, but I think that these two dates were planned in advance, and in general, that all this was predetermined.

As a result, Baku has now become a huge village. The Armenians, the Russians, the Jews of Baku and the Russian-speaking Baku people all soon abandoned the city. All these events led to the fact that more than one million inhabitants of the city left and when Azerbaijan speaks about genocide, it for some reason forgets that in fact, more than one million people had to leave Baku. Is not this a genocide? I think it is a genocide.

You know, Azerbaijan is not a country, it’s an area that has become a commercial object of one family. Of course, this strange union cannot now be called a country. Father Aliev privatized the whole state, made it a nourisher of his family, absolutely neglected the Constitution, and now his family continues the same way. They turned the country into a strange monarchy. At first, his father violated all the norms of the Constitution, falsifying it several times, raising his son ”to the throne”, now his son’s wife becomes the first vice president. I think this is the colonization of the whole territory for the sake of their own interests.

- Journalists, who write about how the Aliev clan reigns in the Azerbaijan’s territory and who are engaged in in-depth research usually do not mention the Armenian-Azerbaijani aspect.

- Yes, in fact, they avoid these topics. First, fear and danger, of course, and second, it is one thing to oppose the regime of Aliyev, and quite another thing to oppose the whole society: these are two different things. That is why all those, who support Aliyev’s opponents get immediately silent, when it comes to the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict. You know that there is a very strange unity between the government, opposition and society. It is hostility towards Armenians. In fact, this man zombies a whole country. Yes, they are afraid to talk about this topic, that’s right.


- And when did all this start? Do you see any prospect for reconciliation?

- Chronologically, the conflict started in 1988. As for reconciliation, now I think that any attempt to change something will turn into a real “fire”. It is not only the problem of the authorities, the reason is that there is some “cancer” in Azerbaijan since the head of the society has introduced Karabakh as their territory. However, it is not the territory of Azerbaijan, in 1921 the territory was artificially attached to Azerbaijan. There is also a very painful and frivolous desire to falsify the history and present yourself as an old nation. This is absurd and I think it is even humiliating for the people to do such thing with their own history.

One more thing: There is a very strange attitude, even more hostile than in Turkey, towards the topic of the recognition of Armenian Genocide, which is simply absurd. First of all, when all this took place in the Ottoman Empire in 1915, Azerbaijan did not exist either on the map or in the world at all. You know, I’m really surprised that there is more adequate attitude to this issue in Turkey than in Azerbaijan.

Hatred has actually become a state policy. Although Azerbaijan announces its tolerance and multiculturalism at every step, in reality, the country is now in a fascist regime. While in the neighboring country there is no such thing, I assure you.

- What do you think about Russia’s role in this whole conflict?

- Russia’s role in this conflict is more than negative. Initially, the first conflict between Armenians and Azeris was registered in 1905, with a Russian signal. Russia’s role in this conflict is simply disgusting as Russia wants to keep the South Caucasus region in its geopolitical interests. Perhaps this is understandable, but in reality it plays a very negative role. First, Russia sells arms to both sides and, second, Russia has not got rid of its imperial ambitions and, naturally, wants to have impact on both sides simultaneously.

- And it is quite possible since Armenia and Azerbaijan seem to be equally interested in that mediation…

- Yes, many believe in all of Lavrov’s fairy tales that they are trying to solve something … They do not try to solve anything, they are trying to benefit from this conflict.

- What are your predictions? What possible developments do you expect?

- There is a strange unity of power and opposition in Azerbaijan. These are their taboo topics: Karabakh theme, genocide theme, Khojalu theme, falsificated history. When it comes to these four topics, everyone gets surprisingly united. As for reconciliation, it is impossible to reach it. Let’s start with the fact that Azerbaijan is developing hatred towards Armenians. And what kind of reconciliation we can talk about when the head of state publicly pardons a man who killed in Hungary his sleeping neighbor? What kind of reconciliation we can talk about when the public welcomes this act of the head of state?!