Ahead of the UEFA Europa League Final hot passions have flared up in Baku. The leader of the REAL movement, Ilgar Mamedov, who has recently been released from prison, wrote in social networks that the authorities have decided to close one of the central streets of Baku, formerly known as Torgovaya.
According to Mamedov, during that time, only foreign fans and tourists who came to Baku to watch the Chelsea-Arsenal match will enter this street. Mamedov explained this decision of Baku's city authorities for political motives. The thing is that the day before the Chelsea-Arsenal match Azerbaijan marks the 101st anniversary of the proclamation of its independent statehood. In this connection, the Azerbaijani opposition decided to organize a festive march. To prevent this, the authorities decided to close the Torgovaya Street, yet for three days. During that time Baku residents will be deprived of the possibility of being in the central part of the city, and the opposition will not be able to achieve its goal. That is to renew the memory of people and emphasize that the founder of the Azerbaijani independent state is not Heydar Aliyev, as the official historiography states, but rather Mamed Emin Rasulzade, in the name of whom the authorities have not erected a monument so far. Moreover, several months ago, unknown villains defiled the bust of Rassulzade in the town of Novkhana, where Rassulzade was born. The police found out that the attack was made for one purpose: the bust was copper, and the criminals were interested in the value of the metal. After long discussions the authorities decided not to rebuild the bust, but to place a stone flat statue instead, hoping it would not be stolen. This attitude towards the founder of the first Azerbaijani republic has been the reason for the opposition to organize a march and draw public attention to Aliyev's distortions of history. The event, however, coincided with the Chelsea-Arsenal match, with unprecedented security measures being taken in Baku, including the closure of the city center. This is undoubtedly done for one purpose: so that the Baku residents will not be able to communicate with the foreign fans and tourists. Apparently, when making such a decision, the Azerbaijani authorities were concerned about the undesirable consequences of the contacts between their citizens and guests. The British Foreign Ministry has already warned its citizens to stay in hotels in the evenings in order to avoid robbery. The Azerbaijani side, however, officially dispersed such concerns, but it did not satisfy the British. In London, they decided to send their own security agents and police officers to Baku to ensure the safety of football players and fans. In their turn, it seems that the Azeri authorities have decided to close the Baku center to avoid the contact between the local population and the guests. Thus, the Azerbaijani side, unwillingly, admitted that it cannot guarantee normal communication of its own population with its guests, so it has chosen to keep the Baku center open only for foreigners for three days. The Aliyev regime has thus concealed Baku's true face from thousands of foreigners. It was done for one purpose: to be insured from possible excesses, robberies, assaults and intolerance. Although it is already known that Arsenal’s midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan is not going to Baku, there is still no guarantee that the Azeri extremists could choose Arsenal’s any player or one of the coaches as a target of attack. It would be a complete disgrace for the Aliyev regime. And here's a decision to exclude such accidents: shut down the Baku center for three days and create a so-called stereo environment where foreign guests will feel completely safe. This will undoubtedly be recorded and spread by journalists. But it's better to get such criticism than to allow a zombie crowd to attack the British players. Aliyev tried to conceal his public intolerance. It is the smallest of evil. The rest will be assessed by the British fans.