On March 2 2005 Elmar Huseynov, social outcast of Azerbaijani press and, probably, one of the most outstanding journalists of modern Azerbaijan, was murdered. Elmars role has been predetermined not only by his talent and skills, but also by his civil position, while many of our colleagues, are deprived of and often voluntarily.
    A lot has been written about Elmar during this period. His personality has turned into a legend and real Elmar sometimes hidden from view.
    We were not friends, but very often communicated especially during the past five years before his murder. I sympathized with Elmars energy, desire, ability to work and intellect. He was among those, who tried to achieve success at the expense of his own abilities. He tried to prove his talent, but never licked the boots of those, who are responsible for decision-making.
    Not all people know that Elmar had rather tense and even bad relationships with many his colleagues - other editors for objective and subjective reasons. I dont think that Elmar was always right, but he was a rara avis and contrasted himself with all others. The reasons were his ambitions and confidence in his rightfulness and superiority.
    For the first time journalist world spoke about Elmar in 1997, when police has withdrawn all copies of Monitor magazine from news stalls. Authorities launched the persecution campaign against him by means of former communists of Baku State University who filed a suit against him on behalf of Azerbaijani Nation for insult of Turkic roots of the nation (20 years ago same people presented information against students-nationalists to KGB).
    That time publicity divided into those, who shared Elmars position , and those, who claimed such things must not be written (criticize Nation). Number of sharing the second position was higher and Editors were among them. Elmar was a Russian-speaking journalist and and it was another reason of bad attitude of Azerbaijani-speaking journalists to him. In this society he was always regarded as an alien.
    In 2001 authorities started pressuring his Bakinskii Boulvard newspaper, but Editors Council has not lifted a finger to protect Elmar. This time editors of leading media and journalist organizations, who in other cases wrote letters to heads of PACE and OSCE, watched the savage punishment of Elmar with indifference.
    This was the first case, when personal relationships between media editors, were used by authorities to suppress freedom of speech. However after Elmar Huseynovs murder many of these journalists have become active participants of all events in Elmars memory.
    It was difficult for him to overcome all obstacles alone. Another person could resign himself to the situation or conclude a deal with the authorities, as many colleagues are doing. He realized that this government could hardly be overthrown and did not highly assess oppositions role (this is another reason of dislike for him). These sentiments made his analysis rather pessimistic. One should admit that his most readable stories very often contained rumors, lacked balance and even violated journalism ethics. But at the same these stories disclosed a secret machine of corruption and organized crime in top echelons of power. Even now his articles remind of a detective story. Nobody has ever written and nobody investigated actions of political elite of the country in such a brilliant way (it is enough to recollect just headlines).
    But some moments in Elmars position raised questions. I could not understand why he gives his pages
    to those, who have launched persecution campaign against him? But Elmar answered: `These people realized their mistakes and came over to oppositions side.` Frankly speaking, I do not share such an approach.
    Elmar was also not scrupulous in selection of staff, though he admitted that he does not have a great choice. I think that in time Elmar became much more pragmatic and a little bit cynical, because of constant pressure. But I dont think that he was an exception.
    Monitor was, undoubtedly, the most popular and readable Russian-speaking magazine in the country and its editors role and influence was very high. For this reason the most interesting information was provided to him. We discussed the magazines character twice and I advised Elmar to make the magazine less politicized and more public and to supplement it with stories about culture, show business and etc. But after a while Elmar told me that he will not do that, because the magazine is not bought up.
    However that may be, Elmar wielded a skillful pen and he knew priority topics. Each issue of Monitor contained articles on the most urgent subject and this is one of journalists main missions. Elmars another valuable quality was his position! He struggled against injustice and violence against his personality. He protested at the policy aimed at deceiving, intimidation and zombing people and bringing them down to bestial level for them to resign themselves to the situation. I value Elmar for this position most of all and I will always remember that.
    I will give only one example Elmers answer to a writer Masked Ibragimbekov, who covered name of Norwegian Ambassador Steinar Gill and democratic publicity of the country in mud. None of editors and media gave an answer to Ibragimbekov, except for Elmar, and nobody even supported him. Moreover, some media published another Ibragimbekovs libelous statement, but this time against Elmar
    Who and what stands behind the murder?
    Authorities` attitude towards Elmar Hussy has toughened after 2003 and pressure intensified. Several months before his murder Elmar was worried and told me strangers came to his yard and were interested in number of his apartment. Then he added that people close `to the top` passed him the message that he should shut his mouth, otherwise, they will force him to do that. I told him that he must soften his tone and pass a message `to the top` that he concludes an armistice. But Elmar did not let me even to finish the phrase and said that he has done that five times, but there was only one answer `you will be savagely punished.` Frankly speaking, Elmars pessimism seemed to me a little bit exaggerated and I could not even think that he could be murdered. (It should be noted that one of seven shots was fired at Elmars face and, probably, the killer aimed at his mouth, what in the criminal world has one certain meaning shut up!)
    Just few people doubt about authorities involvement in this crime. But who and why ordered the murder? On the one side, fierce critic of the government and Aliyev family became silent, but negative effect of this murder surpassed all expectations and did not bring desirable result.
    Many versions have been discussed during the past three years and one of them is that the murder had to destabilize the situation. Officials also repeatedly spoke about this version, dropping a hint. One state official, who filed suits against Elmar and then built a grave for him, told journalists in private: `You dont even realize what will happen, when people know who has killed Elmar!` Then it was rumored that Americans have killed Elmar to destabilize situation and punish Ilham Aliyev for is refusal of democracy.
    Others hinted at foreign terrorists, Azerbaijans enemies and even those who are opposed to Baku-Ceyhan oil pipeline. Former police officer and gang chief Haji Mamedov poured oil on the flaming by saying at the trial that he has murdered Elmar on demand of ex-Minister of Economic Development Farhad Aliyev. This fact has not been investigated after Hajis statement.
    All the above-mentioned facts look like elements of the version, which have not been gathered together. The version looks as following: on the eve of parliamentary elections 2005 members of the old government, who did not believe in political future of Ilham Aliyev, have decided to declare war against him. That time it was rumored that a list of public and political leaders, whose murder could destabilize situation, has been made up. In this situation presidents position could weaken and he could become more compliant. Being forced to refuse of the idea to change his entourage, he would share power with them falling under their dependence.
    But Ilham Aliyev has understood tactics of his opponents and delivered a blow at its executors, including Haji Mamedovs group, then some other members of the government accusing them of conspiracy. But not all those, who were opposed to president, were thrown in jail. However, Ali Insanovs case has sobered up many people.
    Why do authorities not disclose names of those ordered and executed the murder? There are many reasons: the first and the main one is that the murder has been ordered by representatives of state agencies and this is a direct involvement of power into the murder. The second reason is that part of those, who were involved in this crime, remained on their positions.
    That is why investigation tried to find an understandable answer and announce solving of a crime. But the version with Azerbaijanis from Georgia (Teimuraz Aliyev and Tair Hubanov) has fully failed. Then Haji Mamedov mixed all the cards and said this is his handiwork. Such a situation allows authorities to keep control over some obstinate leaders. But this is just a version.
    Whatever is the reason of Elmars murder, this was the last challenge to the society. Together with Elmar we have buried our belief in democracy. It cannot be revived without change of power.
    While visiting Elmars grave, I every time remember his apartment in Baku suburbs cold concrete walls in non-repaired apartment. Volume of funds spent by authorities for Elmars grave is much higher than cost of this apartment
     Since 1997 dozens of suits have been filed against Elmar, all his property has been confiscated and he had actually nothing. Everything was taken away from him to force him to keep silence, but they failed to do that. When they took away his life, they presented him with a very expensive grave.
    Elmar Huseynov and people similar to him always share fate of Gorkis Danko. Famous persons, politicians, public leaders, musicians and sportsmen do not live only for themselves. Even most favorite of them are rarely honored with life-term glory and respect.
    Jazzmen from New Orleans have a tradition. They bury their colleagues to the accompaniment of music minor music till cemetery and major on the way back. All participants of funeral procession are dancing and signing. Real jazzmen are not bemoaned. But bell is ringing for us - alive.

Shahin Hajiyev

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