Russia expels comedian from Azerbaijan for ‘anti-Russian’ performance
Russia expels comedian from Azerbaijan for ‘anti-Russian’ jokes
By the decision of the Russian authorities, the comedian Idrak Mirzalizade, born in Azerbaijan, is banned from entering Russia for life for anti-Russian performance.
- Nationalists, crown-skeptics and ‘yellow vests’ – RT’s broadcast in Europe
- Azerbaijanis rush for shots as tougher Covid-19 measures come into force on September 1
- Why freedom of speech remains questionable in post-revolutionary Armenia
On March 1, 2021, in the “Acceleration” program on the “Stand-Up Club # 1” channel on YouTube, comedian Idrak Mirzalizadeh jokingly spoke about the difficulties that people of non-Slavic nationality experience when trying to rent a flat in Russia.
Three months after the program aired, on June 5-6, 2021, it was brought up again by another media outlet. The Tsargrad TV channel, the Dvach Telegram channel, and TV presenter Vladimir Solovyov, one after another, for two days, called on the Russian law enforcement agencies to bring the comedian to justice under the article of incitement of hatred.
Several days later, a resident of the city of Penza went to a single picket with a photo of Mirzalizade and the words: “Enemy of the Russian people!” On the same day, a comedian was beaten up in Moscow by two unknown persons who demanded him to apologize.
In early August 2021, a Moscow court sentenced Mirzalizada to 10 days of administrative arrest. Two days before the comedian’s release, his colleagues held a concert in Moscow in support of Idrak.
On August 30, the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia, by its decision, deprived Idrak Mirzalizade of the opportunity to stay on the territory of the Russian Federation for life.
On the same day, Mirzalizade left for Turkey.
Who is Idrak Mirzalizadeh?
Idrak Mirzalizadeh was born on February 17, 1992 in the southern part of Azerbaijan, where people of Talysh nationality reside. He himself identifies as Talysh.
His parents are Abilovs, and Idrak took the surname, following the tradition of his people, by the name of his grandfather, whose name was Mirzali.
His father, Kyakhin Abilov, having received a higher education in Belarus, stayed to work and later started his own business there.
When Idrak was 12 years old, his family moved to Minsk. There, Idrak graduated from high school and entered the Faculty of Journalism of the Belarusian State University.
The young man’s father died suddenly in 2020 from the consequences of the postponed coronavirus.
Social media reaction in Russia
In the Russian segment of social media, users actively commented on the decision to deport the comedian from Russia. Here are some typical comments:
“Lord, how ashamed I am that I am of being the same nationality as those people who could be offended by this joke. And not just a joke, but a stupid joke! Just how offended in general does one have to be in order to react to the nonsense of this show”.
“About a rented apartment – to the point. I rented one recently, the previous tenants seem to be decent, according to legend, the apartment turned out to be so neglected, as if it had not been cleaned for 10 years, absolutely everything had to be washed for a week! So…”.
“I looked it up after this whole story. Honestly, the guys have a weak humor, it’s not very interesting to listen to. The joke with the mattress didn’t offend me as a Russian, because it’s nothing, honestly! Well, the whole story of renting an apartment is told in a boring way. I feel sorry for the guy! The point, of course, is not the joke at all but the fact that it is necessary to show who is the boss in the country”.
Social media reaction in Azerbaijan?
The majority of Azerbaijanis found out about Idrak Mirzalizad only after the Russian media began to exaggerate the topic of his “anti-Russian sentiments”.
The reaction of users of the Azerbaijani segment of social media to the decision to ban Mirzalizada from visiting Russia was ambiguous.
Some believe that the comedian has never recognized himself as an Azerbaijani and, moreover, hates the country where he was born. “You’ve probably watched his interview. He is full of hatred towards Azerbaijan and during the war [between Azerbaijan and Armenia in the fall of 2020] was known to be pro-Armenian”, writes a user under the nickname Samir Mahir. “They did the right thing by deported him. He is just another separatist”, the user under the nickname Nigar Azim Khan supports the previous critic.
“Azerbaijani citizens are called citizens of Azerbaijan, and for them entry into and exit from the country is free. But if they demand a visa at the border with Azerbaijan, then I am not Azerbaijani, but my nationality is Talysh”, Mahmud Takhiron says in support of Idrak Mirzalizade’s thoughts.
According to political scientist Musa Agayev, it is not worth considering what happened to comedian Idrak Mirzalizade in the context of tension between Russia and Azerbaijan for several obvious reasons.
“I am sure that the Russian authorities, who made the decision to deport Idrak from the country, knew about his attitude towards Azerbaijan and about his citizenship. The question here, most likely, is to wipe their nose to everyone else who intends to look askance at the Russians, while being on the territory of the Russian Federation.
Let me remind you of the amendments to the Constitution of the Russian Federation, made according to the results of the referendum in 2020. Among them – an unprecedented for the modern world thesis about the “state-forming people”, which is the Russian people. And the “insult” of this people by a migrant who only had a residence permit in Russia has led to what we have today.
However, assessing this as another attack on Azerbaijanis still not worth it”, Agayev said in an interview with JAMnews.