The Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry warns- "Any visit without the consent of the Republic of Azerbaijan to Nagorno Karabakh and adjacent territories, which are internationally recognized as an integral part of Azerbaijan is considered a violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic of Azerbaijan. Accordingly, the Ministry reminds that those who traveled to the occupied territories without prior permission of the Republic of Azerbaijan will be denied entry to the Republic of Azerbaijan."
We took a closer look at the Azerbaijani persona non grata list to find out which countries and professions are leaders on the “blacklist”, which has gone from being 435 names long in 2015 to 623 names as per the December 7, 2016 update.
It would not be a big spoiler if we disclosed straight away that journalists are leading the list, and that politicians follow closely. But there are a few surprises.
183 journalists, cameramen, photographers, bloggers (5 bloggers including Lapshin), editors and producers, directors are named in the list.
91 current and former parliamentarians from more than 20 countries, including 9 deputies of the European Parliament make up the second larges professional group in the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry special list.
France is the forerunner in the matter with18 members of the French National Assembly, the Minister of Interior Affairs, 4 Senators, and 2 Mayors.
Then comes Belgium with16 parliamentarians including the Deputy Speaker of the Kingdom's parliament.
The Russian State Duma is third with10 deputies and one former Ambassador to Armenia.
While Russian statesmen are not heading the list, citizens of the Federation are.
156 people on the list are citizens of the Russian Federation, among which 61 media representatives.
Behind Russia with the largest number of blacklisted citizens is Germany. 58 German citizens made it to the list, among which 25 are media representatives, 4 are members of the Bundestag (2 from the Christian Democratic Party) and one former Ambassador to Armenia.
The United States of America is the third contributor to the list counting the number of citizens. Curiously, 13 of the 46 US citizens are either professors or students from the Johns Hopkins University, 6 are doctors, and 5 are media representatives. John Evans, a former Ambassador to Armenia, who was called back for publicly acknowledging the Genocide, is also a persona non grata in Azerbaijan.
The list includes 44 names of Italian citizens. The Italians are leading with the number of most artist, among which 13 are sculptors, 7 are from the Cantieri Teatrali Koreja Theatrer. Italy has contributed 11 journalist to the list.
Belarus with 5 citizens, Turkey and Israel with 2 citizens each, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan with a citizen each seem to be leading the groups least interested in visiting Nagorno Karabakh.
About 70 artists are mentioned in the list- including 4 saxophone players! The well loved Armenian children's songwriter and performer, Taline Bessos of Taline and Friends and her producer are on the list as well. Not so surprisingly, Sandra Dauksaite-Petrulene, the Lithuanian actress from the Armenian feature film The Last Inhabitant also got a mention.
And then there is Claude Nicollier, the first astronaut from Switzerland.