New system, old thinking

Posted by Krista
Baku, Azerbaijan

nodding donkey on the outskirts of Baku

When we asked a well-educated Baku man, Emin, today about the changes to Azerbaijan since the collapse of the Soviet Union, he commented (somewhat stoically), “New system, old thinking”, meaning that not much has changed – democracy has not yet reached Azerbaijan, and doesn’t look like it will in the near future.

It was no surprise to hear that when national leader Heydar Aliyev died in 2003, he was shamelessly succeeded by his son Ilham in a dynastic handover. And just a few days ago, polls were fixed so he’s now in power for life – apparently with 97% majority!

People seem to accept that this is how it is, and get on with their lives. Traffic police continue to blatantly bribe drivers (so they can buy themselves a promotion) and if you want a job, be prepared to pay around $15,000 US for the privilege.

We’ve finally bought a new camera (and sent mine back to the States to get fixed) – so you can now finally see a few photos of Azerbaijan if you click here.

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