Thursday, June 16, 2005

Youth Activism in Azerbaijan

Eurasianet reports that youth groups are starting to become more active in the neighboring Republic of Azerbaijan as the November parliamentary elections approach. In fact, says Khadija Ismayilova and Shain Abbasov, pro-opposition youth activists are already being arrested.
The parliamentary election, scheduled for November, is already attracting international attention, as some political analysts believe the vote could potentially produce the same type of revolutionary pressure in Azerbaijan that ended up remaking the political orders in Georgia, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan. For example, the Council of Europe recently issued a statement that said the November ballot could be an event in which "we may become witnesses either to fair-and-free elections, or a bloody confrontation between thousands." In both Georgia’s Rose Revolution and Ukraine’s Orange Revolution, student activists played a pivotal role in bringing about political change.
Other than arrest pro-opposition youth, however, the Azerbaijani government is also following the example set by the authorities in Armenia. Instead of trying to fight young people, why not try to control them instead by establishing pro-government youth seminars, conferences and organizations not too disimilar to anything done by the Komsomol movement during the Soviet era.

In the meantime, youth in Armenia remain largely cynical and apathetic -- a point Katy recently made over at Blogrel. Then again, Armenia has hardly entered into its own run-up to parliamentary elections scheduled for 2007, so I assume that things will be different by then.

The full article can be read online here.

Any opinions expressed on this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of any publication or organization that he may be working for now, in the past or in the future.