It was an article I was reading in Foreign Policy and titled "The Dictators are Smarter Than You Think" that got me to question the leadership of Azerbaijan, which too is often referred to as being a dictatorship. But where did that got us? I mean, where have all the criticisms, all the low rankings, or else got us? It certainly didn't change the leadership if not made it worse- harsher, blatant and more open in fact in what it does. In fact, it feels as if criticisms aimed at Azerbaijani leadership feed the roots of this regime making it far more dictatorial (with few exceptions here and there as release of journalists and activists).
Now the article bases itself on a book by Dobson, "The dictator's leaning curve: inside the global battle for democracy". "In many cases Dobson writes, modern dictators understand that its in their [dictators] interest to observe the appearance of democratic norms even while they're subverting them", which explains perfectly well some of the sudden improvement like instances (such as release of donkey bloggers, and other similar cases). The country's leadership understands that full isolation of the country and its people wont be the same as it would have been say several decades ago. The rules of politics have changed but so has the game.
So instead of cutting ourselves completely from the world, we boast of our new successes and developments, modern streets and buildings while keeping a tight lid on media, human rights advocates and the rest of things that doesn't represent development and modernity for our government.
Whats left to do is to sit tight and wait for a day, minute, month or whatever that is and hope for the best or continue learning, reading, sharing and making sure that awareness is there, knowledge is there, lust for change is there and work on making our dictatorships transform to democracies (well in Azerbaijani case we already are a democracy, what I meant to say, a real democracy in this case). Good luck to us all!