Azerbaijan: An Illusion (3 of 12)

11 more in collection THE ILLUSION OF AZERBAIJAN

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One of the acts rehearses in Crystal Hall.
Last year Azerbaijan won the kitschy European song contest Eurovision that is watched by around 100 million people every year. That means they won the right to host the lavish competition.

The budget for this year was set at 64 million dollars. Other countries spend 30 million. But independent reporters talk about that the unofficial number lands on up to 270 million dollars.

When the Azeri pop singers won in Germany the president Ilham Aliyev treated it like a military victory and quickly put his wife in charge of making Eurovision in Baku happen. The crystal hall was built as a monument over the city and president’s son-in-law was hired to perform in the half time show.
Most of the tourists and journalists that came to the city for the show mostly saw this illusion but the repeated crackdowns on peaceful protesters and groundless evictions did not go unnoticed around the world.

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