Azerbaijan: Clan autocracy is in a democratic "wrapper"

  • Azerbaijan Clan autocracy is in a democratic wrapper

Baku: As you know, Azerbaijan positions itself as a Muslim country with classical democratic institutions of power. However, the situation that has developed in the "Country of Lights" (unofficial naming of the Republic of Azerbaijan) allows us to state with certainty that this definition is absolutely untrue.


There are two "parallel" Azerbaijan

In Azerbaijan, which is represented by the government and pro-government media, there is no corruption, there is no clannishness (more about this in more detail below), the economy is on the rise, the country is confidently looking to the future, social issues of the population are being successfully solved, equality and justice are everywhere, the country has international authority and nothing threatens stability.

In reality, the situation in Azerbaijan in all the above points is radically different. The continuing recession of the economy, widespread corruption, social problems, the lack of independent media, constant persecution of opposition journalists and politicians, all this leaves no doubt about the systemic crisis in which Azerbaijan is at least in the last fifteen years.

Almost a year Azerbaijan is shaken by corruption scandals caused by information leakage in Western media. So in the fall of 2017, the international anti-corruption organization (OCCRP) published a report pointing out that the Azerbaijani authorities "laundered" almost three billion dollars through a number of European countries and direct bribery of a number of foreign politicians. This report also mentioned the names and surnames of European politicians, for example, Luka Volontė, Eduard Litner, Irina Bokova, Pedro Argamunt and many others who, being directly supported by the Azerbaijani authorities, lobbied the political and business interests of the ruling elite of Azerbaijan and simultaneously torpedoed any attempts by European structures to provide an objective and impartial assessment of the real situation prevailing in Azerbaijan. To understand the scale of corruption that has overwhelmed the European structures, it is possible to mention for example authoritative organizations such as UNESCO or PACE, whose leaders, directly or indirectly, were found to be corruptly connected with the Azerbaijani authorities.

It went so far that the law enforcement agencies of Bulgaria, Britain, Germany initiated criminal cases against citizens of their countries, somehow implicated in the Azerbaijani "Landmass". In this case, the facts revealed by the European media of a large-scale corruption component of Azerbaijan's foreign policy are a mirror image of a situation that actually reigns within the country.

Many experts and international think tanks point to a number of factors that are the root cause of this situation in Azerbaijan. The main reason for the deplorable state of Azerbaijan, along with the substitution of democratic institutions, the absence of constructive criticism of the authorities, the destruction of independent media and opposition policies, is marked by the flawed governance system of the country, which for the past twenty years has been built on the division of the country between the two main clans dominating Azerbaijan. This is the so-called Aliyev clan led by Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev (Nakhichevan) and the Pashayevs (Baku) clan, led by Aliev's wife, Mehriban Aliyeva (Pashayeva), Azerbaijan's vice-president. Despite the fact that Ilham Aliyev and Mehriban Aliyeva are spouses, the confrontation between clans, which they both represent, does not cease for a second. Both clans have "their people" in almost all the power structures of the country. For example, the Ministry of Defense of Azerbaijan is headed by the protege of the "Nakhichevan clan" Zakir Hasanov, and the chief of the General Staff is the protégé of the "Turkish-Baku clan", Colonel-General Najmeddin Sadykov (Sadikhov). And this state of affairs reigns almost in all systemic political or economic structures of Azerbaijan. Of course, both the ruling Azerbaijani clans depend on each other in many respects, almost all the large business is divided between the representatives of the Pashaev and Aliyev families, but this does not extinguish the clan contradictions, and as a result, the clan confrontation is permanently reinforced.


In both clans there is a strict hierarchical system of relationships and strict discipline.

For example, consider some aspects of the activity of the Pashayevs.

Thus, former ambassador of Azerbaijan to the US Hafiz Pashayev was responsible for relations with Western politicians, and the basis of his activity was promotion of economic interests of the Pashayevs. And Nargiz Pashayeva (sister Mehriban Aliyeva (Pashayeva), in turn, is responsible for the pro-Russian course and establishment of relations with Russian diplomats, which, incidentally, is facilitated in large part by the fact that Nargiz Pashayeva is the rector of the Moscow State University branch. According to declassified Wikileaks "In 2010, the documents showed that the Pashayev family is responsible for the energy sector of Azerbaijan, which is represented abroad (mainly the management of foreign assets of the state-owned oil giant Azerba Yadzhan, SOCAR), where it was pointed out that the financial interests of the Pashayevs are extended to large investments in the financial and construction spheres not only in Azerbaijan, but also outside the country.

In an interview with foreign media, the secretary of the opposition movement "Republican Alternative" (REAL) Natik Jafarli noted that the interests of the Pashayevs clan extend not only to construction or telecommunications business, but, for example, to the financial sector of the country. Thus, the Kapital Bank (the successor to Sberabank, 99.87% of shares owned by Pashholding) belongs to the clan, carries out active financial activity in Azerbaijan, starting with the issue of pensions and paying fines.

Of course, the business assets of the "Nakhichevan" and "Baku" clans are not static, but are permanently transferred from the control of one clan to the control of another. Thus, the opposition journalist Khadija Ismailova in an interview with Western media literally stated the following: "For many years, the Azeris thought that Azerfon belongs to Nargiz Pashayeva - and the brand was called" Narmobile ". Then it turned out that through the companies in Panama, it was the daughter of President Aliyev (Leila and Arzu Aliev) who own a part of this company. A similar situation is connected with Pashholding. Over the years, the main shareholder of Pasha Holding was Arif Pashayev. Then the president's daughters became the owners again, "Ismailova said.

Analyzing the current situation, with regret we can state that in the absence of real changes in the political and economic reality of the country and in the presence of the clan-feudal system of governance of Azerbaijan, social contradictions will only multiply, which will inevitably lead to an increase in protest sentiments, and in the future will serve as a powerful stimulus for destabilization of the internal political situation in Azerbaijan.

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