Moscow labels Baku’s discrimination against citizens with Armenian surnames “outrageous”

Unsatisfied with Baku’s response to Moscow’s demand to stop discrimination against Russian citizens with Armenian, surnames, the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has renewed calls to “put an end to these outrageous and discriminatory practices.”

“The citizens of Russia going to Azerbaijan are indeed subject to ethnic discrimination,” the Foreign Ministry said in a new statement today.

“Since the start of this year, 25 Russian citizens have been denied entry into Azerbaijan. They were, on average, detained for many hours at the Baku airport (in a number of cases, without food, water or medical assistance, and in one case the detained person was a woman with a four-year-old child) and then forced to leave at their own expense. The “grounds” for these outrages were Armenian surnames, first names or the patronymics of our citizens. But there were also cases where persons with Russian last names, names and patronymics were questioned to identify their ‘Armenian ancestry’,” the Ministry said.

“All of this looks preposterous, not to mention the fact that it is a direct violation of Russian citizens’ rights contrary to the letter and spirit of the Russia-Azerbaijan Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Security of July 3, 1997, the Intergovernmental Agreement on Visa-Free Travel of July 3, 1997, and the Declaration on Friendship and Strategic Partnership between Russia and Azerbaijan of July 3, 2008,” the statement reads.

“The Russian Embassy in Baku and the Russian Foreign Ministry have issued several notes, demanding that an end be put to this outrageous practice, followed by an investigation and due inquiry into the behaviour of the officials at Heydar Aliyev International Airport. We have proceed from the assumption that, as Azerbaijan presents itself, the country is a model of ethnic and religious tolerance and multiculturalism, that recently declared its intention to establish an Azerbaijani-Armenian public dialogue,” the Russian Foreign Ministry added.

“But our expectations have failed to materialise. There was no investigation of these incidents. A reply from Azerijbaan’s Foreign Ministry says “Azerbaijan must apply the relevant regulations to a number of persons to prevent undesirable excesses.” We regard this reply as vague and unsatisfactory. Unfortunately, it shows that Russian citizens arriving in Azerbaijan still run the risk of falling victim to arbitrary treatment,” it said.

“We continue to demand an end to these outrageous and discriminatory practices that are incompatible with the friendly relations between the two countries. We will certainly draw conclusions from the existing situation,” the Foreign Ministry stated.

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