Azerbaijan: An Illusion (5 of 12)

11 more in collection THE ILLUSION OF AZERBAIJAN

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The statue of the country’s modern founding father Heydar Aliyev is standing tall on one of Baku’s many large city squares. The sight of the man that sculptured the country is not rare. The capitol and the country are scattered with portraits of him. Heydar Aliyev was leader of communist Azerbaijan from the late 60’s until 1987. He seized the presidency in 1993 in a bloodless coup a couple of years after Azerbaijan gained its independence.

He was the man to modernize the country and help transform it from a communist satellite state to a sovereign nation. Although not the first president after the Russians left he is the one that formed the country’s modern history.

His son Ilham became president in 2003 after an election that did not meet international standards and were scattered with irregularities.
Some international observers called the latest election in 2010 a farce.
In a 2009 referendum the president removed limits on the maximum terms a president can preside in office. The decision was widely disputed. Critics of the government state that the country is in reality an autocracy.

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