No joke! Turns out, the Ministry of Youth and Sports says [AZ] they will cover expenses of guests coming for the Youthvision-the Eurovision for young singers scheduled to take place June 22-24, they are just not saying how much this is going to cost the country's coffers.
The irony in all this is that, Azerbaijan's economy devalued twice. The ministry of education recently spoke about "problems" in funding Azerbaijani students abroad. And yet, we are yet to pay for another all-expense paid visit (just like it was during the European Games last year).
But it is ok. Because no one in Azerbaijan is going to say anything about it and the regime will continue abusing their power because they know there won't be resistance. And then they will start another mini war with Armenia and will shift the focus like they always do.
Speaking in Davos in January 2016, President Aliyev said the the low in oil prices was "psychologically difficult". Wonder whose psychology he was referring to here? His? His family's? His cronies'? Because surely, it must be extremely difficult for their psychology to handle the reality that there will be less money to steal. And looks like they have determined a new strategy- if there is less for them, there will certainly be nothing for the people.
You see, President Aliyev is all about moral barometers- we are better than X, Y, Z country although more often than not, the President's favorite country to compare Azerbaijan with, is neighboring Armenia boasting about the budget difference and the spending.
What he and people around him tend to forget (or neglect) however, is that whatever big investment is brought into the country- the Crystal Hall, the Stadiums, the Malls and the upscale shops- they ain't for the public consumption. Precisely because of the inequality and class difference that was created by and large during the Aliyev leadership (first his father, and later his son).
Who will benefit from coming to Azerbaijan for three days in an all-expense paid trip in June? Tourists! Yes, they might spend some manats here and there, but by and large it will be the visitors. If the Ministry of Youth and Sports is so generous- why not spend that money on paying for Azerbaijanis vacation at home or abroad?
But until this ever becomes possible (i am lucky to live outside of the country, because who knows, my head might get chopped off for saying all this) dear visitors who will attend the Youthvision or the Formula 1 race, enjoy beautiful Azerbaijan or at least what is left of it but don't forget the country you are visiting is pretty nasty when it comes to treating its own people and watching out for their well-beings.