By Kamila Aliyeva
The unexpected and unjust decision of the Russian court to annul the registration of the All-Russian Azerbaijani Congress on May 15 was met with deep concern and regret by the Azerbaijani community.
Russia and Azerbaijan constantly demonstrate an emphatically respectful attitude towards each other, exposing themselves as strategic partners and participants in various political ‘triangles’ in which both countries are inseparably represented.
However, recent events somewhat undermine the spirit of long-lasting friendship and partnership, as in fact, in this case we are talking about the infringement of the civil rights of the Azerbaijanis in Russia.
The reason for this sudden turn is the violation of Russian legislation by this organization, that is, officially registered Azerbaijani Diaspora.
Information about what exactly ‘was done’ by All-Russian Azerbaijani Congress seems to not quite adequately fit to the court’s decision and suggests that the real reasons for ‘collision’ are not disclosed.
In the course of control and supervisory activities, it was found that provisions of organization’s charter did not comply with the requirements of the current legislation.
But, in fact, all the charges brought forward are purely technical in nature and are not at all attributed to the fundamental tasks of the organization that successfully solves them.
The leadership of organization was ready to eliminate formal shortcomings in the work of the All-Russian Azerbaijani Congress immediately, but the Russian Ministry of Justice did not approve the document produced to the court.
The court did not take into account the long-term activities of the organization which facilitated development and deepening of socio-economic and cultural cooperation between Russia and Azerbaijan.
The All-Russian Azerbaijani Congress, while understanding and taking into account the difficult state of affairs, began transforming itself last December. The leadership of the structure has changed in order to not only get rid of the accumulated shortcomings, but also to become a mobile organization, able to effectively participate in the public life of Russia.
Thus, the decision to liquidate the organization is not commensurate with the minor violations that were observed within it.
Some experts and lawyers believe that this decision has a sign of political motivation with third forces involved which want to exert political pressure on Azerbaijan and get political, diplomatic, economic dividends from this situation.
In addition, the liquidation of the largest Diaspora organization of Azerbaijan in Russia, which carries out a mediation mission in the negotiations on the settlement of the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and is one of the co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, can undermine the faith in the impartiality of this country among Azerbaijani public.
Nevertheless, many experts view this move as a result of the attempt of joint activity of anti-Azerbaijani forces and the Armenian lobby aimed at hurting the friendly Azerbaijani-Russian relations.
Unfortunately, certain forces in Russia, looking for insignificant flaws in the organizational activities of the All-Russian Azerbaijani Congress, have long been trying to create conditions for the liquidation of this large social organization.
For instance, in summer 2016, Armenian organizations of Russia made an attempt to present the All-Russian Azerbaijani Congress as a public organization which performs functions of a foreign agent.
As a response to this appeal, the investigative bodies of Russia appointed a comprehensive audit of the sources of financing and legal documents of the organization.
At that time, the provocation of Armenian organizations failed miserably. The audit did not reveal the facts of subversion in the activities of the All-Russian Azerbaijani Congress.
In official conclusion of the Justice Ministry, it was stressed that the activities of the public structure fully comply with Russian legislation, while the sources of financing are inside Russia, and not beyond, as the Armenian informers pointed out.
So, the cancellation of the registration is just another result of the activities of forces constantly interfering in the Azerbaijani-Russian relations, trying to undermine interstate relations, using all means to escalate tensions between the two partners.
The annulment of registration of Congress, which has great respect and influence in Russian society, only for technical reasons, is wrong from the legal point of view, and the new head of the organization Fazil Gurbanov said they will make an appeal.
This situation is viewed by many as a political short-sightedness of Russia, because is is definitely a mistake close unreasonably the organization that contributes to development of ties with a partner, especially, a partner who has preserved a special relation to the Russian language and culture, which is not often found in other post-Soviet republics.
Of course, Azerbaijani-Russian relations are not built just in the plane of this Congress and the liquidation of this structure the relations could hardly seriously deteriorate or weaken but Russia should not succumb to provocation of anti-Azerbaijani forces.
However, although the verdict is not connected with the policy pursued by Russia, and is not an official position of the Russian state, as it is just a subject of consideration of the court serving the interests of certain forces, if it remains in place after appeal, there will be certain negative consequences. It will mean that Russian leadership supports the decision infringing Azerbaijanis' simply right and make Azerbaijan take appropriate steps.
Azerbaijani people hope that this issue will be resolved in just way and, thus, will break the plans of anti-Azerbaijani circles in Russia.
The Congress, which unites more than 2 million Azerbaijanis living almost in all regions of Russia, was established in 2001 on the initiative of national leader of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev and President Vladimir Putin.
Throughout 16 years of its activity, the organization has played a huge role in strengthening civil peace and interethnic harmony in Russia, development and deepening of socio-economic and cultural cooperation between Russia and Azerbaijan.
Over the years, the All-Russian Azerbaijani Congress has evolved into a large structure that has been overgrown with many regional offices. There are dozens of branches that have gained a positive experience of integrated cooperation with regional authorities. Many regional branches of the organization took the leading positions in local social movements, becoming full partners of the Russian authorities, which have made a positive impact on the major cultural and humanitarian projects.
Kamila Aliyeva is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @Kami_Aliyeva
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