February 1, 2016 Tenants at Karvan Shopping Mall in Sumgayit city have held a protest against high rent costs, after the mall ownership failed to keep their promise of a few days earlier to reduce the rent by half. The protesters tried to march towards the Sumgayit City Executive Power, but were prevented from doing so by police forces. The head of Karvan shopping mall, Agamirza Ahadov, and the first deputy chief of the Sumgayit City Executive Power Faig Karimov held talks with the protesters. As a result of this it was agreed that the tenants would pay 50% of the previous rental rate for an indefinite period.
February 2, 2016 – Retailers at the Moscow department store, one of the key trade centers in Baku, held a silent protest against high rents by ceasing sales on February 1. The protesters said their rents were not calculated per square meter. At first, the department store leadership refused to see the retailers for negotiations, but eventually the talks began and the protesters were told that their demands would be met. On February 2, a second protest was held. Retailers demanded that their rents be calculated correctly. One of the protesters, Aygun Mammadova, said that she pays 2000 manat per month for her space. “I am unable to pay the rent as the sales have hit rock bottom after the 2015 devaluation. Other retailers are also facing a similar problem,” said Mammadova. The son of the department store head listened to the protesters and promised to resolve their problems. However, the retailers said that they would not end their protest until they saw concrete results.
February 4, 2016 – Another major trade center in the Nizami district of Baku, better known as “8th kilometer” bazaar was also hit by a wave of protests. Retailers at the bazaar were protesting against major rent increases. The traders said that they had informed the bazaar owners about the problem, and added that the plunge in sales after the devaluation of the national currency had seriously exacerbated the situation. The deputy head of Nizami District Executive Power Garib Mammadov said that the problem would be resolved soon. “We received the people and listened to their complaints, and came to an agreement with the bazaar management to reduce the rents,” said Garib Mammadov.