Blogger, whose desire fulfilled by Baku
On February 7, the blogger Alexander Lapshin has been extradited to Azerbaijan by the Belarusian authorities. Lapshin was detained on the basis of Baku's extradition request to Interpol, and extradited after the Supreme Court of Belarus's final verdict. Diplomatic patronage of the two countries, which have close bilateral relations with the Azerbaijani government, did not help Lapshin, a citizen of both Russia and Israel. Anyway, it did not protect him from extradition to Azerbaijani law-enforcement bodies, accusing the blogger of illegal crossing of the state border and appeals against the state.
Last summer, Lapshin has already visited Azerbaijan and even published a critical report on the country on the opposition Azerbaijani website Meydan TV, which was replicated by Armenian media. The blogger was wanted in Azerbaijan already during his last trip, but he arrived in Azerbaijan, using the Ukrainian passport with a different spelling of the name - and he was simply "overlooked". However, the blogger hardly feared Azerbaijani law enforcers. Quite the contrary, he was actively trying to be noticed, as evidenced by his post on his Facebook page of September 25, under the honking title: "Need $150 to violate the laws of Azerbaijan." In this post Lapshin expressed dissatisfaction with the fact that he takes "only" the 16th place in the "black list" of the Foreign Ministry of Azerbaijan and stated his strong desire to violate Azerbaijani law as long as necessary to reach the top of the list.
Here is another excerpt from Lapshin's post: "My 'way of sorrow' to the black list of the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry started with a funny dialogue, which took place two months ago. Some anonymous preacher writes to me: "Alexander, I read your travel articles with interest, but if you do not immediately remove your opuses about Karabakh occupied by Armenians, you will be declared persona non grata in Azerbaijan." I replied him (he was an official of Azerbaijan's state security agencies, obviously) that I will delete nothing and that their lists are complete nonsense and anecdote, because there was no decision of the court, and there is no evidence. He said that he is not going to prove anything to me and will include me to the list in one minute. I told him that I am ready to play this game with lists and test the Azerbaijani KGB. He sent me a smiley: "You underestimate us," to which I answered: "Not at all, more like I OVERestimate you.
There are many versions and conspiracy theories as to why Minsk extradited Lapshin to Baku. One can start talking seriously about the international conspiracy and attributed the role of victim in the "big game" to an insignificant blogger. However, Lapshin's post on Facebook shows that it is actually a lot easier. There is quite a conscious desire of a citizen to break another country's laws. Obviously that Alexander Lapshin's zeal and commitment in the issue of violation of Azerbaijani laws has been appreciated in both Baku and Minsk. Therefore, the blogger's arrival in Baku should be considered as a personal invitation of the Azerbaijani authorities, which organized a special flight from Minsk on such an occasion.