“Patriotic Education" draft law in Azerbaijan - here’s what it means for children and society
Azerbaijani parliament is preparing a new law on patriotic education. The document is not yet ready, but it has already caused heated discussions in the local segment of social media.
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Work plan of the spring session of the parliamentary committee on science and education in Azerbaijan includes the development of a new law “On Patriotic Education”.
For the first time, the news about plans to develop such a law were discussed in September last year, but at that time, the law was never prepared, and forgotten about.
The resumption of the topic caused heated discussions in the Azerbaijani segment of social media.
Altay Goyushov, historian:
“As in the Soviet era, the new law will only be a representation of patriotism within the framework of one ideology.
I assure you, the first principle of patriotism will be loyalty to the legacy of the national leader [ex-president Heydar Aliyev is called the national leader in Azerbaijan – JAMnews]. In the USSR, loyalty to the ideas of Marxism-Leninism was considered patriotism. It was impossible not to accept it, it was even hard to imagine this happening.
Now, those who do not perceive Heydar Aliyev as a national leader will not be considered patriots and, in the end, they will have a hard time on completely legal grounds.
By the way, in Russia such a clause about history is already included in the constitution. If you comment on history differently from how it is presented by the state, then you are violating the constitution.
Agshin Karimov, political observer:
“Patriotism is a positive character trait, it causes pride, but we must take into account the fact that everyone evaluates this feeling from their own point of view. There are many criteria for patriotism, and they are regulated by public opinion and relations in society.
The question arises: if a draft law is prepared, how will the criteria for patriotism be determined, what will serve as a ‘barometer’ for it?
Dear deputies, don’t you think that the regulation of patriotism by law and the teaching these feelings puts all these sincere feelings within the framework? For some reason, I think so, and I am sure – patriotic education begins with the family, with the school. How will we now insist that families raise their children according to the law? And if they can’t, how will they control this issue by administrative methods? It’s impossible.
Yes, Azerbaijan’s victory in the war, new geopolitical realities may require amendments to the legislation, but what does the regulation of patriotic education mean? To be honest, it sounds like populism.
There are penalties for breaking each law. And how will the degree of punishment for violating the law on patriotism be determined? There are also issues that cannot be regulated by laws. There is no need for this”.
For example, in the state history books, it is written about the Panfilovites. Historical documents claim that these books are lying. But if you suddenly decide to say that this is a lie, and tell the truth, then you are going against the constitution, and to put it mildly, you are not a patriot.
Emin Ibrahimov, diplomat:
“They are talking about the development of a law on patriotism. As soon as I heard about this news, I gave a search on the Internet to find out: was there such a thing in Russia? And I did guess right. In July 2020, Russia adopted a law on the education of patriotism. A little time passed, and the same issue was raised in Baku.
Russia is currently the main geopolitical and ideological stronghold of authoritarianism in our region. And it is no coincidence that our power is in the political orbit of Russia. Because if it leaves this orbit, it will fall. This is quite clearly seen, especially in the policy pursued after the end of the second Karabakh war”.