Fines, and lots of them is what Azerbaijani citizens are getting this year from Santa Aliyev. They are also getting new rubbish collecting trucks from China and completely restructured security agency. Oh, and the president decided to take a short break from all these changes. The man must have gotten tired signing all these new bills and decisions.
Not so long ago, in one of his speeches the president Ilham Aliyev spoke of new reforms and changes he has envisaged for the people of Azerbaijan in 2016. So it is not surprising that slowly we are getting a glimpse of what the president and his busy bees have in mind.
First present is trash collecting trucks from China. Will they keep the city clean? Or will the people continue throwing trash in the middle of the streets, in front of their apartments or living quarters? Well looks like the latter is going to be a lot more problematic but more on that in the section on fines (see below).
Present number two is a revamped intelligence service. Yes yes... The President was unhappy that the ministry of National Security was spying on him and listening to his phone calls (Oops)- all allegedly that is. He was so shocked that he immediately decided to sack the minister as well as the minister of communication who was kindly providing the requested information (Oops again)- as if the president didn't know about this?! But sacking was not enough. So the President decided to completely get rid of the institution and instead create not one but two! So now Azerbaijan has its very own State Security Service and Foreign Intelligence Service! Beware proponents of freedom of expression and democracy- god knows what's going to happen to these folks now that there are two of these evil state structures.
Third present is for the residents of Nardaran village. After the "secret operation" organized on November 26 in this Baku village residents are finally getting electricity and an extra bonus- gas. For over twenty years these people had no gas, but they will now. However, everything has a cost and so the Nardaran residents are paying dearly for these comforts. So much that they cannot see their wounded friends and family members as the latter are kept under strict control at the hospitals where they are treated. Also there is no information on whereabouts of those men who were arrested over the course of the past few days.
Last and final present is for all the people but the government officials. It is strange that while the parliament was so kind to approve all these fines no one seemed to ask the question about fining police taking bribes, or government officials doing the same or the president's family who has stolen more than everyone in this country. Oh and in the meantime, no one seemed to ask the question how these bribes will be paid given the average salaries?! So here is a brief look (some of them I find ok though, like the smoking fines):
- 30AZN- for smoking in non-smoking areas;
- 400AZN- for officials/owners of venues failing to hang "No Smoking" sign
- 1000AZN- for legal entities for failing to hang "No Smoking" sign
- 100AZN- for families whose kids will miss 7classes (to which one local resident in Baku said, by two grand children get sick often, getting doctor's permission also costs money -shhhh... this is illegal by the way but no one is fining that doctor or the clinic mind you!- so how am i supposed to provide for two grandchildren whose parents don't work)
- 10,000AZN- for illegal occupation of property and carrying out construction work on that property
- 3000AZN- for misusing the purpose of given property/land
- 10-20AZN- for not cleaning the communal space inside the residential buildings, in front of apartments, elevators and so on
- 100-150AZN- for officials (same as above)
- 1500-3000AZN- for participation in an illegal rally or up to 2 months in administrative detention
- 1000-2000AZN- for purchasing [in cash] of branded alcohol products with the purpose of sale/resale or one year of corrective work or arrest of up to one year. Repetition of this crime will be punishable by two years of corrective work or prison sentence in the same duration
- 100AZN- for failing to make a bank transfer or pay by card in the case of purchasing of tobacco products with the purpose of resale
- also tax payments have also increased now reaching 6-8% depending on the service
Happy New Year fellow Azerbaijanis. Soon even breathing will be fined. In the meantime, don't forget to enjoy the holiday spirit just be careful and make sure you clean up after.