On February 12th, during his address [AZ] at the Baku Business Center dedicated to the overview of the State Program on Social and Economic Development for 2009- 2013, President Aliyev, finally said few words of wisdom. In fact in the past decade since his "election", this was by far the most positive thing he has said, which of course doesn't and shouldn't overrule his own economic and political misgivings by no means. But let us look at some of his remarks during the address.
President Aliyev, called on certain government officials (not naming them, just saying that they know who they already are) to stop holding lavish birthday celebrations and weddings. This he said, is not the proper behavior of government official. He did not exclude the children of the officials either. In case of yet another act of "disobedience" President promised to deal with the issue personally, and to make sure, the fathers also get penalized if not fired and their "hooligan offspring" get arrested.
The video below is a short part of his speech touching upon some of the things mentioned above. Azerireport provided a transcript of President's speech here.
However, just because President Aliyev pointed his fingers at certain government officials in his address calling out on their extravagant life styles (mind you, not their names), it doesn't mean that he has gone all democratic on us. It is no news how Azerbaijani ministers, governors and their families live in Azerbaijan and surely Mr. President was aware of this for a while now. His personal business interests are also there, and haven't disappeared. And so are the reasons triggering people in the regions to protest- living conditions, salaries, infrastructure, transparency, rights.
The timing of this awakening is obvious- upcoming elections. The wording of his speech was cautiously elaborated- showing him as a caring, softhearted man, who prefers to celebrate his 50th birthday anniversary with refugees. May I remind you dear readers, that President Aliyev is no Jose Mujica, the thoughtful President of Uruguay who lives on the outskirts of Montevideo. Our fashion conscious first lady will never give up her right to Chanels and Burberrys nor will their children. And this goes for the families of the government officials, governors and the rest of the greedy cronies, filling up their pockets as much as they can and as quickly as they can, especially now, that they have been warned and could go any minute. Spending one birthday (or two or as many) with refugees, wont make the lives of those refugees better the next day. Nor baking meters long birthday cakes. Now, if you have offered a generous box of goods to every resident living in those regions, that would be a grand birthday present, wouldn't it?! Or why not install heating in few of those newly built schools in villages across the country? Nah, why bother?! Its so much easier to show off, who cares if the kids freeze at schools anyway, what is important is a big, long, cake instead.
So, given that it is election year in Azerbaijan, given that we have had all too many scandals (and who knows of the ones yet to come) leading up to the elections- Gulergate, Elshad Abdullayev, New York Times articles, resolutions passed (or not) by the Council of Europe and the European Parliament, riots, arrests, more criticism, and implications of some of the high end officials as Ramiz Mehdiyev in parliament seat sale- President Aliyev is trying to appear good. But paying attention to people's grievances or making it look like you do once in five years ain't the way. Concrete steps must be taken. Pointing fingers to your "own kind" wont work. The son of the minister who instigated the riots in Ismayilli must be arrested, his father, must be dismissed, the uncle governor should face the people of Ismayilli, apologize for his corrupted nature, and resign, at least as a sign of respect to the people this person been put in charge to govern. Guler Ahmadova, needs to be in jail, not under house arrest. Release political prisoners who have done nothing wrong. And stop treating your people as filth, let them too live and enjoy life. Let them speak freely, let them simply be!
For once, hold accountable all those filthy cronies of yours to their actions. Its not just one governor, one minister, and one son. There is an army of these people, all across the country, eating away our country and our future.
If you let your people speak, there will be plenty of opportunities to point fingers at. Just look around you...