Russian Information Influence in Azerbaijan

In 1992, Moscow began to create an interstate TV and radio company "Mir", broadcasting in Russian, on the basis of an agreement of the heads of state of the CIS. The goal is to cover political, economic and humanitarian cooperation, form a common information space and promote international information exchange. Although the channel broadcasts news and broadcasts from the CIS countries, the point of view of Moscow prevails in them.

In 2006-2008, the Azerbaijani authorities stage-by-stage stop analogue broadcasting of Russian and a number of Turkish channels to the territory of the country, and now they are represented only on cable TV channels.

According to the 2009 TV news, in 9 million Azerbaijan, only 30% of the population watched local channels. Although there is no such data, many experts believe that the number of viewers of local channels has further decreased. Most of the population is watching Turkish channels, due to the proximity of the language and the high level of broadcasts. In second place - Russia - the Russian language ranks the first in terms of the coverage of the population by foreign languages.

After Vladimir Putin came to power, Moscow is stepping up its information influence. Under the patronage of the authorities of the two countries in June 2002, the Interfax-Azerbaijan news agency was created, a subsidiary of the Interfax agency. In September 2005, the "Novosti-Azerbaijan" agency was created - a subsidiary of RIA Novosti. In September 2014, the Azerbaijani branch of the Sputnik news agency is being created https:, which is part of the structure of the international agency "Russia Today". In all three cases, the Azerbaijani side was the financial sponsor of the projects. On the one hand, the Azerbaijani authorities tried to satisfy Moscow's information requests, and, on the other hand, to use new resources to maintain Azerbaijan's positive image in Russia and other countries.

Along with this, since 2009, the authorities have closed the Azerbaijani services of the BBC and Radio-Azadlig, which actively worked according to international standards and had high popularity among Azerbaijani audiences.

The economic crisis in Russia led to a reduction in its information presence. For example, RIANovosti merged with "Russia Today", while in Azerbaijan the subsidiary structure is being closed, replaced by the branch "Russia Today". The branch is located in the building of the Baku International Press Center, which is the property of Ali Hasanov, the presidential assistant on public-political issues.

Information content is formed primarily from the interests of Moscow, although the interests of official Baku are also taken into account. In the information politics the advantage is given to the expression of positions of similar or close views of Moscow and Baku:


exports democracy,

uses for its own purposes the topic of protection of human rights, minorities,

strives to undermine stability,

weaken economically,

grab resources,

interferes in internal affairs

wants to manage and control,

warms up the ethnic conflict.

As a counteraction to Western influence, the parties use the following messages to the society:

The country includes:

a special way of development,

national interests,

the national mentality,

religious feature,

the task of protecting material and raw materials,

the task of protecting the domestic market.

The media outlets mainly disseminate Russia's viewpoint on foreign policy processes and do not affect the internal political problems of Azerbaijan; they do not provide airtime to the opposition or independent civil society activists. In fact, they can be called part of the governmental media system of Azerbaijan.

The article "Expert called the reasons for the pressure on Russia and Azerbaijan from outside" is characteristic. In it, the director of the Institute of Contemporary Economy Nikita Isayev said in an interview with Sputnik Azerbaijan that both countries are being pressured by the West for an independent national policy.

Search for peace in Munich: the US is washing hands, Russia has learned to bargain

"Siyavush Novruzov: we can at once get rid of plague infection." The article talks about the readiness of the Azerbaijani authorities to amnesty political prisoners

"Mamedyarov: mass violations of human rights undermined confidence of Azerbaijanis in UN"

It is noteworthy that Tofig Abbasov, the editor-in-chief of the pro-government newspaper "New Baku Post", Tofig Abbasov, who made on September 28, 2012 in Baku during the Moscow-Baku a video bridge on "Russia-Azerbaijan: 20 Years of Relations": "The imposition of confusion on the part of engaged circles should not introduce an imbalance in relations between the two countries. It would be desirable, that, speaking about public moods, work went on all platforms. Sometimes engaged circles cause confusion in relations, but this should not introduce an imbalance in our relations. This is not only Azerbaijan's task, but also our Russian colleagues. Of course, we need to step up our actions in the information field."

The recent events that followed the visit of the Security Council Secretary, Patrushev, to Baku on September 29-30, 2017 show how this interaction is built up.

"The issues of regional security, the improvement of the legislative framework for combating religious extremism and terrorism, as well as the issues of bilateral cooperation in the sphere of international information security have been considered," the TASS reported.

Commenting on the consultations, Deputy Secretary of the Russian Security Council Rashid Nurgaliyev said: "The current situation in the sphere of international information security is of great concern, and some countries try to impose their own rules of the game in the information space that are advantageous only to them. In this respect it is necessary to strengthen the efforts of the international community on the prevention of conflicts in the use of information and communication technologies, its demilitarization and consolidation of the principles of respect for state sovereignty and non-interference in the internal affairs of other States, respect for fundamental human rights and freedoms," he said.

It is noteworthy that immediately after this visit an unprecedented and illegal blockade at least 14 websites were inflicted, and the authorities deployed a wide network of trolls on the Russian model to fight opponents on the Internet.

But even with such interests, official Baku, nevertheless, is trying to keep distance with Moscow and prevent the strengthening of its information influence in Azerbaijan. The information presence of Moscow is allowed in places where interests coincide. Mainly, this is counteraction to Western attempts to expand its influence on Azerbaijan, counteracting the spread of Western values, establishing democracy and an open society.

But still, the Russian negative informational influence may weaken on the condition of the development of democracy, the expansion of Azerbaijan's integration into the Western political, economic and information space.

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