“A mistake was made,” says border guards" />

Russian blogger who was denied entry invited back to Azerbaijan

“A mistake was made,” says border guards

Russian blogger Ilya Varlamov has returned to Baku after he was denied entry on 2 November.

“They [border guards] made a mistake yesterday. We are ready to reimburse you for all your expenses. Please come back, we will buy you a ticket,” a representative of the Azerbaijani Border Guard Service told the blogger, who by that time was already in Istanbul.

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Varlamov accepted both the apology and the invitation and flew back to Baku on 4 November.

This time around he was met very cordially and hospitably. A border guard even presented him with a bouquet of flowers. “This is the first time in my life I’ve been given flowers, it’s very nice,” Varlamov wrote on his blog.

The local media reported that those responsible for the mistake will be punished.

For many Azerbaijani social network users this about turn has resulted in irritation rather than joy:

“And they wonder why no one takes our country seriously.”

“I feel bad for the border guards. They will be scapegoats although they’re not guilty of anything. They just executed orders from above. What a country. Disgraced, and now they meet him with flowers…”

“Maybe we did not understand the brilliant plan of our authorities? First they make it out as if he’s not allowed here. He leaves, hurt and offended. Then divine providence intervenes. The whole world sees how laws work in Azerbaijan.”

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