Imprisoned Russian-Israeli Blogger Alexander Lapshin Pardoned by Baku


Russian-Israeli Blogger Reportedly Attempted Suicide Before Being Pardoned by Azerbaijani President

BAKU, Azerbaijan (A.W.)—Russian-Israeli blogger Alexander Lapshin, who was arrested last December and sentenced to three years in prison on a charge related to his 2011 and 2012 visits to Artsakh, was pardoned by Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev earlier today.

A scene from Lapshin’s detention in Baku (Photo: Interfax)

“Guided by paragraph 22 of Article 109 of the Constitution of the Republic of Azerbaijan, I hereby decree that Lapshin Alexander Valeryevich, a citizen of the State of Israel, born in 1976, who was sentenced to imprisonment by the Baku Court of Grave Crimes on July 20 2017, shall be pardoned,” read the short decree made public by Aliyev’s press service. According to Aliyev’s office, the pardon is effective immediately.

According to several reports, Lapshin attempted to commit suicide in protest against his delayed extradition to Israel. Ali Hasanov, an Aliyev aide, indicated that the prison guards prevented the imprisoned blogger from taking his own life and that he is not receiving medical treatment. No further details about Lapshin’s condition were released.

On July 20, an Azerbaijani court sentenced Lapshin to three years in prison on a charge related to his 2011 and 2012 visits to Artsakh. The court ruled that Lapshin illegally crossed Azerbaijan’s internationally recognized borders when he traveled to Artsakh through Armenia in 2011 and 2012. The court cleared him of charges of making “public appeals against the state,” a crime punishable by up to eight years in prison in Azerbaijan.

During his trips to Artsakh, Lapshin provided detailed accounts on his Russian-language blog. He was detained in the capital city of Belarus, Minsk, after Azerbaijan issued a warrant for his arrest. The Belorussian authorities then extradited him to Azerbaijan in February.

The extradition, which was criticized by Armenia and Russia, was also condemned by international watchdogs, including Amnesty International and the Committee to Protect Journalists. Amnesty had demanded the immediate release of the blogger, saying  he was at risk of torture and an unfair trial. Azerbaijani authorities rejected those claims.

In his final statement at his trial on July 19, Lapshin pleaded not guilty to the accusations leveled against him and denied “forging criminal links with Armenian authorities.”



  1. This goes to illustrate once again how badly Baku would treat Artsakh Armenians if it ever got its dirty hands on Artsakh again.

    That is, if Baku would treat a Russian/Israeli like this imagine what it would do to Armenians (and we know it massaxred and repressed Armenians there anyway).

    This is one reason that Azeris cannot be let back into Artsakh as part of any peace deal. Azeris would deliberately stir up trouble, and Baku would use it as an excuse to attack. It would not matter if there were “peacekeepers” there or not. Baku would even send over missiles and artillery shells.

    Then the whole mess would start all over again. You want that?

    • 1. Why should we give to the Azeris what is ours and was regained only after a six year-war in which there were thousands of Armenian casualties in addition to the Armenian refugees who fled the Az pogroms?
      2. Why should we give our land to a country which drove out Armenians from Armenian Nakhichevan?
      3. Why should we give our land to the genocidier Azeris who are allies of racist Turkey, the master of organized genocides?
      4. Why should we give our land to the enemy thus making our homeland vulnerable to attacks by the Turkic duo?
      5. Why should we give our land to a country whose leader has repeatedly claimed that all of Armenia belongs to Azerbaijan?
      Citing 6., 7., 8…would be redundant.

    • Contrast Vahan’s comment – reasonable and, most importantly, understandable to the wider world – with Mike’s nationalistic bullet-pointed one. Vahan’s is a position drawing on individual human rights and self determination, not a solution-less “why should we” do anything. A resumption of any Azeri control over Artsakh means genocide, and any individual or group or country that supports that resumption is an enabler of genocide. I think that is the only position that needs to be presented to the world, the only position that should be elaborated on and explained. All the “it’s our land” stuff is ineffective as a support-gaining argument and probably does more harm than good.

  2. I suppose if Alexander Valeryevich had murdered an innocent Armenian with an axe rather than crossing over the border into Artsakh, the Aliyev government of Azerbaijan would not only have freed him upon his extradition to Azerbaijan but would have received and decorated him as a hero. I guess we now have some idea of what the “Baku Court of Grave Crimes” prioritizes.

  3. Has anyone else noticed? For a long while now, Azerbaijan and Israel had been kissing each others’ rears through their fake news and articles using their media and praising their “millenia long friendships” with their typical anti-Armenian views thrown in, and how for Israel, Azerbaijan was such a “tolerant and free nation”. Then when this Israeli-Jewish-Russian was thrown in jail for – freedom of speech – the silence from Israel was deafening. Typical.

  4. Shame on Belarus, they fell into the hands of a man who cannot be trusted a through and through dictator. He was probably pressured by Israel,( the country that feeds the azeri’s with arms and technical assistance) to release Lapshin or else? There is always something behind something like this – remember that murderer who was released by Hungary to azerbaijan and we all know what happened. Shame on Hungary on that too. Money speaks many languages.

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