The upcoming June 17-19 Formula One race in Azerbaijan’s capital, Baku, may be another image-booster for the Caspian Sea country’s government. But for many city residents, the race is associated with potential hassles, including persistent gridlock and air pollution.
With the June 17-19 Formula One race in Baku drawing closer, Azerbaijani and foreign activists have tried to draw international attention to Azerbaijan’s human rights record. But do not think that the country does not have its own human rights intermediary. It does – 79-year-old Elmira Suleymanova. Controversy, however, persists about what she does to defend human rights.
June is a big month for football. The Copa America tournament is underway in the United States, and the European Cup kicks off in a few days in France. But a third international tournament of sorts has already wrapped up in the separatist entity of Abkhazia.
The weekend’s bloodshed in Kazakhstan seemed to catch the government off-guard. While Kazakhstan has experienced radical-driven violence in the past, until a few days ago authorities seemed more concerned about security threats emanating from domestic political critics than from Islamic militants.
When Armenia joined the Moscow-led Eurasian Economic Union in 2015, Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan justified the decision in part by asserting that membership would enhance Armenia’s national security. But, as the early April flare-up in fighting between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces over the Nagorno-Karabakh territory showed, such security benefits are more theoretical than real.