Social media users debate which Armenians should be allowed to visit Baku" />

Azerbaijan irked over festival performer with Armenian surname

Social media users debate which Armenians should be allowed to visit Baku

The coming of Russian singer Zara Mgoian to Baku has caused a scandal in Azerbaijan, especially among the country’s Facebook users. The main reason is that Zara has an Armenian sounding surname and performs a song titled My Armenia.

According to information found on social networks, the singer was invited to the Zhara music festival. The organizer, Emin Agalarov, is a Russian singer of Azerbaijani descent and the son of a prominent businessman as well as former son-in-law of Azerbaijan’s president. The festival will be held from 26 to 29 July.

The Zhara festival has been held in Baku since 2016 and features Russian pop artists.

Previous rosters of the festival saw singers Philip Kirkorov and Irina Allegrova, both of whom have Armenian roots, come to Baku. The topic for discussion in such cases are the guests’ behavior and their position on the Karabakh conflict. For example, when the singer Soso Pavliashvili came to Baku for a concert in 2016, the Azerbaijani public resented his statements that he ‘visited Karabakh and will continue to do so’. Nevertheless, the concert was sold out.

However, the Armenian boxers who arrived for the 2011 World Cup had stones thrown at them.

Zara, in this sense, is an unwelcome guest, because her posts on Instagram unequivocally support Armenia’s position.

Comments on Facebook range from extremely aggressive to ironic:

“Shame on those who invited an Armenian singer to Baku, and to those who allow it! What a disgrace!”

“Be cursed, traitors of the motherland!”

“It’s not that she’s Armenian, but that she supports the Armenian [side regarding the] genocide.”

“A question to the organizers: since there is such a need to bring an Armenian to Baku, why not Kim Kardashian?”

“It’d be better if they brought Serj Tankian and the System of the Down band!”

“It turns out that if the former son-in-law needs it, some Armenians are not completely Armenians. Such selective patriotism.”

The main argument in defence of Zara is that, by nationality, she is not an Armenian, but a Yazid (Yazidi/Yezidi is a disputed Kurdish ethno-religious group). It was in this spirit that the pro-government site 1news spoke in.


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