Thursday, March 23

Azebaijan's foreign debt- truth behind government quoted numbers

As is everything else in Azerbaijan, information on the country's foreign debt is diverse with government quoting one set of numbers, and opposition saying something completely else.

I thought I put together the most recent indicators as quoted by the story on AzadliqRadio.

*Ilham Aliyev says it is only 20% of the GDP 
*Min.of Economy says it is approximately 12 billion manats 
* Independent economist Natig Jafarli says authorities leave out company loans taken on state guarantees. Take for instance SOCAR, whose debt is 8 billion manats. If loans of all state companies are added then the total of external debt would be around 60% of the GDP. 

There are also other projects like the Southern Gas Corridor for which Azerbaijan took out a 1 billion loan with 5.8% return rate. 

Feel free to send in more info so I can expand on this post. 


Friday, March 3

Aliyev's mask is finally off

It just keeps getting better and better. After appointing his wife as VP, intimidating family members of dissident activists living abroad, president Aliyev's minions go after popular video blogger, author of numerous videos critical of the government and its officials of their lavish life styles. Court in Baku sentenced Mehman Huseynov to two years on charges of slander. 

This is important. Huseynov is the first journalist/blogger to be openly sentenced for slander. So the mask is finally off for president Aliyev. No need for cover ups and camouflages. And why should he be hiding anymore anyway. He has changed the constitution, secured presidency for life, violated every single possible human rights convention Azerbaijan signed up to and got away with it, made his wife his vice president. 

Mehman's sentence means that the government in Azerbaijan no longer needs to hide its true colors; that more arrests will follow [not that there were many independent voices left anyway] and that we have successfully transitioned to being banana republic (not that we were too far from  becoming one). 

I think someone should tell one of Aliyev's minions they should add that description into one of Aliyev's speeches where he boasts about democracy, freedoms, modernism and so on. "In addition to many strengths of our country, we have also successfully built a banana republic".

***Updated
Also today, court extended pre-trial detention period of Faig Amirli, finance director at opposition Azadliq newspaper by three months;
Another court extended pre-trial detention of political activist Fuad Ahmadli by three months;
And yet another court extended pre-trial detention of another journalist Elchin Ismayilli until June;