BY EYNULLA FATULLAYEV
Since President Ilham Aliyev's coming to power the main argument of his opponents was based on the newly-elected young head of state's lack of experience in political battles. 'Ilham Aliyev is not a public politician, he has no experience of public administration, he was not engaged in political activity,' was the quintessence of the sweeping critical passages in respect of the successor of the stoic of world politics Heydar Aliyev. However, none of the opponents ever wondered: could really such a master of power as Heydar Aliyev leave the power to a man deprived not only of governing skills, but also the talents of a public politician and a manager?
Remember the year 2003. It was not like today's political wilderness, but a complex multi-level terrain, personifying the political system of the unipolar liberal century. Domestic policy was boiling and seething with serious passions, and the fate of the government, as well as the state, was hanging on a thin thread through the mistakes, confrontations and uncompromising struggle, expressed in the clash of geopolitical interests. In this tense atmosphere, where not only the fate of the Master's own life cause, but also the future of the whole nation was at stake, were the reins handed to an inexperienced politician untested in battles?
The question is: what in fact did Ilham Aliyev's opponents mean claiming that the new president had no experience in public politics? Talking shop at the opposition gatherings? Patchwork views of hypocrites, who in the morning were calling to the barricades and in the evening were trading principles of the people freezing on those barricades in the offices of the steel Aliyev officials? Or sentimental bravado at Meydan's tribune? Or maybe a public administration experience in their opinion meant the infamous 11-month reign of the Cabinet formed from looser junior researchers of the Soviet Academy of Sciences?
Ornate arguments of haughty homegrown parapolitical (these people may have engaged in politics, but they have never been in big politics, only near politics!) figures collapsed like a colossus with feet of clay in the first months of the young president's rule.
People from the Meydan's tribune claiming to power, were sure that with the departure of Heydar Aliyev the political system of the country would fall. They were assured of complete identification of the system with the image of the outgoing person symbolizing the passing century. They did not allow even a thought, even a possibility that the true successor since the late 1990's had already been at the top of the political Olympus. And they were just in euphoric pursuit of a shadow government. Not for power! The struggle was for the shadow! For the fate of the government was sealed long before the very final battle. The most tragic is that they still do not understand it...
Chikaners and intrigants, they were able neither to model a political situation, nor analyze the existing situation. And so they have become quarrelsome observers of the new milestone: Ilham Aliyev took up the construction of a qualitatively new formation and a homogeneous political system. Why homogeneous, you may ask. Was there really no place for pluralism and the natural right of alternative? The trouble was the embodiment of our pluralism in the person of people from the tribune. All the soldiers of the failed revolution in a humiliating string one after another with their heads drooping and looking only at the floor, frankly and with repentance swore loyalty to the new president, publicly renouncing their errors. Apostasy? Worse, awareness of one's own insignificance. From the former first-class national democratic architectural ensemble only a handful remains. Unneeded and unusable...
And under the faint rumble of street riffraff's protest gathering in just one small lodge, Ilham Aliyev began to build a new country. The president has built an emerald capital, changed the face of the regions, has raised the standard of living and welfare of the people (Azerbaijanis have never lived so well, neither under the Iranian Shah, nor under the Russian Tsar, nor under Stalin, nor under Elchibey), has built the army... The main thing is that for the first time in history, Aliyev has delivered Azerbaijanis from the complex of an enslaved nation with inferior dignity existing under the barrels with Russian or American bayonets. Aliyev was able to do something that turned out to be too much for any of the presidents of the CIS and even the Middle East. Azerbaijan is one of the few samples of sovereign self-sufficient states subject to neither the Kremlin, nor the White House, nor Ankara, nor Tehran... And few people realize what a price Aliyev had to pay to realize the dream of many generations of Azerbaijanis. What risks, losses, threats, pressure the president faced. Aliyev has shielded the whole country. He consciously took the political responsibility for the most difficult political choices.
It is much easier to be a vassal ruler as Sargsyan, when Kadyrov calls you and order to return the body of Azerbaijani soldier. It is much more difficult to be a sovereign ruler like Aliyev, who goes to the last against the will of the powerful of this world, torpedoing the Zurich agreements initiated by Washington, or bringing in shackles opinionated blogger Lapshin, on whose behalf interceded the Kremlin, Jerusalem, Kyiv, Washington... Or take the case of Ramil Safarov. Yes, this young officer of the Azerbaijani Army has committed a grave crime killing an innocent person in a European capital. But the current President of Armenia, Serzh Sargsyan has killed hundreds or innocent Azerbaijanis, and still serves as president of Armenia. Why should one Cain be in prison in Budapest, and the second one in the president's office? Why did the peculiar to humans wounded sense of justice become so blunted?
After Safarov's release and April retaliation, Lapshin's case has become yet another phenomenal and unprecedented success of Ilham Aliyev. Maybe it will seem to someone a little brick. You could say that, although the mirror of our success is a state of mind in Armenia. And there is complete confusion, nervousness and mass recognition of the failure of the Armenian diplomacy there. After all, of these building blocks are built great historic victories and achievements.
Another major victory for President Aliyev in recent days: the implementation of one of the most ambitious and global geoeconomic projects of the new century - the Southern Gas Corridor. According to its historical significance and political weight, this project, which will provide a welcome diversification of energy routes, delivery of Azerbaijani natural gas, and in the foreseeable future of Turkmen gas to the Old Continent, is not inferior and in some ways is even superior to one of the global projects of the last century - the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline. We are talking about an annual supply of 48 billion cubic meters of natural gas (Azerbaijani and Turkmen)! But just a few months ago, 'public politicians' from the virtual talking shop (the opposition has long ago migrated to the social networks) was heralding the country's empty treasury and bankruptcy! One after another, these 'politicians' were promising the country an economic catastrophe! Where is it, this long-awaited disaster? Manat has stabilized, macroeconomic indicators are growing, the IMF ascertains economic growth of 1.4 percent, non-oil sector is increasing, and not only in volume but also in terms of money... And at this moment oil prices have also stabilized very out of place for the indiscriminate protest mass from Ali Karimli's party.
So where is the disaster? Where are the 'empty pots' revolt? And why doesn't the manat transform into the bolivar? After all, these lies have been published by the oppositioner from Ali Karimli's lodge and Ilgar Mammadov's dungeon?
Why doesn't the government burst at the seams? And why is the president's popularity growing? If the people are so poor and live below the poverty line, then why are they silent? A dissatisfied but well-fed citizen will be certainly silent, but a dissatisfied and hungry citizen will undoubtedly revolt! This is an unbreakable law of history.
The main distinctive public politician in the country is Ilham Aliyev. He does not waste his breath, and feels the measure of responsibility to his own state and people. Only a few weeks ago, President Aliyev has openly and publicly declared that the apogee of the economic crisis in the country had been left behind. The loud statement of the president was again met with hostility by his constant opponents. And after a fabulous visit of the president to Brussels, start of the gas corridor, Lapshin precedent, and, finally, economic stabilization, faces of the 'public politician' burst into a faint paint of disappointment and despair. You see, they refuse to understand anything, and they say, natural laws of history, philosophy and economics do not work in Azerbaijan. No shocks, no protests, no sounds of empty pots in the streets. Only nihilists' despair against the background of the president's new successes..