Our Analytics 9 february — 14:20

Aliyev's signature between past and future (Our editorial)

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BY EYNULLA FATULLAYEV

A quarter of a century in human life is an unfathomable eternity. However, from the point of view of the hierarchically multilevel system time of the human community, or, more simply, of historical time, it is just a momentary flash, a fleeting moment, a brief fuss...

About a quarter of a century separates today's Azerbaijan of Ilham Aliyev from the seemingly distant darkness of the ruined years, the beginning of the 1990s, the century of turbulent upheavals and cataclysms that sank into oblivion.

Yesterday in the Heydar Aliyev Centre, one of the best works of architecture of the great Zaha Hadid, the incumbent President Ilham Aliyev once again rose to the political stage.

Aliyev between the past and the future

'Wavy lines of architecture symbolise the connection between the past and the future,' with this recognition several years ago the late Hadid presented to the world her new masterpiece.

And the majestic complex building, from whose rostrum Ilham Aliyev was presenting to his followers, the country and voters the program of the future, is a reminder of the signature of the founder of the Third Republic of Azerbaijan, Heydar Aliyev.

Almost a quarter of a century ago, vivid representatives of the Azerbaijani intelligentsia rushed to the blockaded Nakhchivan alienated from the rest of the country with one goal: to convince one of the patriarchs of the all-powerful Politburo to return to new big politics to save the fate of his small and almost ruined people. In a small cold office, lit by the dim light of a lamp, Heydar Aliyev, by the stroke of a pen under the program document, founded the New Azerbaijan Party. Today, this signature symbolises the connection between the past and the future.

In this dim light of the lamp, the foundation of political modernisation was laid. Ilham Aliyev continues and develops the strategic course of Heydar Aliyev. Pay attention, in yesterday's program speech of the president, the refrain was the call for the continuation of political reforms and modernisation in the country.

The revival of statehood, the flowering of the economy, political modernisation: this triune of the Aliyev concept characterises the spirit of the two presidents' rule. A scattered, dying country, thrown into the fire of a ferocious civil war and Armenian intervention, was miraculously saved and secured. In one of the most troubled countries of the world, a system of stability reigned, which caused economic revival and the emergence of a society of universal prosperity.

Heydar Aliyev in Nakhchivan

But what's next?

The historical process does not end with the successes achieved. Any development leads to problems, errors, misconceptions and search for alternatives. Does the Azerbaijani society have no alternatives?

The essence of the problematic issue is that the struggle between social-liberalism and revolutionary liberalism is still continuing in Azerbaijan. And if Ilham Aliyev and his party are exponents of social-liberalism, then those who stand on the other side of the barricades embody revolutionary liberalism.

The ruling elite has no other alternative. Ilham Aliyev is a single, bright and charismatic leader recognised and accepted by the whole elite. Critics of the Azerbaijani authorities often wonder why for decades the ruling elite cannot grow and present to the country a second leader. Following this logic, one can ask why, for so many years, the German elite cannot find an alternative to Merkel, Turkish elite to Erdogan, Iranian elite to Khamenei, Russian elite to Putin, and Chinese elite to Xi Jinping?

Most likely, the answer should be sought not in the specifics of the Azerbaijani reality or in political stereotypes and traditionalism, but in the tendencies of the modern world political and even historical process.

Why has the Azerbaijani society for 15 years been choosing only Ilham Aliyev? Why doesn't it look for an alternative? Well, because the opponents of Aliyev are representatives of national-revolutionism, a political force overthrown by the people in 1993. And Aliyev did not have and to this day does not have other opponents. Destiny ordered this way. One presidential candidate is the former acting president, Isa Gambar, another is the former secretary of state, Ali Karimli, the third one is the adviser of president Elchibey, Jamil Hasanli... And the most passionate representatives of the opposite camp: Gultekin Hajibeyli, Rasul Guliyev, Huseyn Abdullayev and many others, were desperate propagandists in the past and, as they said, 'faithful soldiers' of the Aliyevs.

Government that brought misfortune

The opposing camp or opposition, degraded to a network, quarreling and fragmentary thought, offers the people an imperfect, but only alternative: national-revolutionism. With what is the period of the national-revolutionary leadership identified in the public consciousness? The bearded men with machine guns, the long lines for bread, the rampant banditry and crime, the defeat in Karabakh, the collapse of the economy, the decline of agriculture... This terrible picture, like a film, passes before one's eyes, recalling the horrors of the darkness of the ruined years.

Ilham Aliyev talked about this long and lengthily. And now he is opposed by the old people who need to correct the mistakes of youth. But the people are in doubt: will they fix it?

Immediately after the announcement of the presidential election, one of the leaders of national-revolutionism, Ali Karimli, called on the people to intifada. If the people are against the authorities and Aliyev, then why is the protest square still empty? Where are your supporters? When a politician sees the obvious truth that he has a handful of supporters, he should check whether he lives and works in a correct way! The whistle and hubbub is in narrow social groups of small minded people who still believe that memory is the weak point of Azerbaijanis, especially the memory of evil. The holy foolish opposition resembles old broken furniture.

This time people do not crave intifada

And the question is not at all in the struggle of government with dissent, as the doomed to defeat are trying to present to the country and the world. Ilham Aliyev recalled in his speech: 'They did not allow us to hold a congress in 1992.' Of course, history remembers everything. History will endure all! After all, the current oppositionists, the then authorities, banned the holding of the New Azerbaijan Party congress in Baku, and the current authorities, the then opposition members, had to gather in Nakhchivan around the dim lamp of Heydar Aliyev in his cold office... Even the greatest tsars, despots and rulers were not able to intimidate with fear, repression and threats the people and stop it in a just and sincere struggle for their truth. The dictatorship of the Popular Front also failed in that. 'I will shoot Heydar Aliyev,' threatened the Interior Minister of those times, the current oppositionist Isgandar Hamidov. But Heydar Aliyev still came and won. Why? The people went to the intifada. And the Popular Front government rolled along the Baku streets, like an old night pot.

This time people do not crave intifada. It needs a calm and stable life. As in 2003, during the first presidential election with the participation of Ilham Aliyev. 'We'll hang you in Freedom Square!' shouted from the opponents of the current president from the rustrum. Some of them miraculously turned out later in the camp of supporters of the president. The history judged everyone!

Riots in Baku, 2003

And the opposition only tries to be in sight, to remain noticeable, like a stain on a tablecloth. Bloody stain! The current opposition cannot defeat the New Azerbaijan Party and Ilham Aliyev. Because this opposition is a bloody dream of the people.

In his speech, Ilham Aliyev spoke with special pride about stability in the country. In this age of Arab revolutions, the Ukrainian catastrophe, widespread terrorist attacks and hybrid wars, a revanchist war of separatism, it is the most precious asset. For this political conquest took place in the most unstable country of the end of the last century. What should be proposed to Azerbaijan for it to abandon consistent and progressive stable development?

Ilham Aliyev found himself

Ilham Aliyev is a politician, who is able to reverse the course of a dangerous political process. The president, betrayed by close companions on the eve of the economic recession, managed to stop the crisis that was growing day by day and to stabilise the macroeconomic situation.

Ilham Aliyev found himself as a politician in the rainy, dangerous years of the 'colour' misfortune of 2005, and he will never lose anything. Exactly 10 years later Ilham Aliyev again came out of a dangerous situation and proclaimed at the congress: 'We have come out of a difficult situation!'

And, of course, in his speech, Ilham Aliyev could not bypass the real value put in the cornerstone of the concept of the government of New Azerbaijan Party: the sovereignty and self-sufficiency of the state. Equally independent from all geopolitical centres, self-sufficient and independent Azerbaijan: that's how the president sees the future of the country. And openly declares this.

Ilham Aliyev welcomes his supporters

Handwriting of Russian Armenianship

And to our deep regret, some media of Russia, which is friendly to Azerbaijan, after just a few hours, publish biased articles far removed from our reality, as if designed to confuse public opinion in the neighbouring country. And in all these publications, the idea of some fictitious, home-grown, internal contradictions and even splits within the Azerbaijani elite stands out. Moreover, in one of the most respected media in Russia, the legendary newspaper Izvestia, an obviously provocative article appears, the goal of which is to put a shadow on the friendly and strategic nature of Russian-Azerbaijani relations. At the same time, Izvestia widely covers the absurd conclusions of anti-Russian politicians and bloggers from Azerbaijan, in particular Jamil Hasanli. But it's not so difficult to lift the veil of secrecy.

Who is the editor-in-chief of Izvestia? Arseniy Oganesyan! Another vivid example of the systematic and frankly customised work of the Russian Armenianship (Azeri Daily published more than a dozen studies and publications devoted to this problem), concerned with the sole goal: to inflict maximum damage to the Russian-Azerbaijani strategic partnership. Based on the personal trust relations of the presidents of Russia and Azerbaijan, as well as the strategic spirit of partnership between our countries, it remains to rely on the objectivity of the respected newspaper owners, who will certainly return to objective coverage of the pre-election race and the domestic political situation in Azerbaijan.

Literally in unison with Izvestia, Inosmi.ru, covering the pre-election situation, uses the publications not of Azerbaijani media, but of Armenian media, in particular Armedia and journalist Narek Minasyan. The Russian Armenianship is back in action and uses the most sensitive problems for both Russia and Azerbaijan, stirring up public sentiments.

Owners of pro-government Russian media on the eve of presidential elections in Russia itself should pay more attention to the vicissitudes and collisions in their own country, especially since the ruling party in Azerbaijan, which proclaimed its unequivocal support for the candidacy of President Vladimir Putin, is anxiously watching for attempts to interfere in internal affairs Russia and the violation of stability...

Howbeit

Of course, the outcome of the upcoming election is a foregone conclusion. And not only because Ilham Aliyev does not have opponents elected by the people. There is no one and nothing to offer Azerbaijan, especially in one of the most crucial periods of world history. Everywhere there is war, blood and devastation, President Ilham Aliyev stresses. And through the Assistant to the President, Novruz Mammadov, the authorities presage the strengthening of 'negative processes in the region, which will become acute.'

A quarter of a century ago, the great turmoil, born of revolutionary liberalism, led to the destruction of the newly-made Azerbaijani statehood. The Aliyevs had to carefully assemble Azerbaijan, piece by piece. And later the state and the Aliyevs merged. Destiny and history decreed it that without the Aliyevs, in this case Ilham Aliyev, Azerbaijan is doomed to collapse and disintegration. After all, only revolutionary chaos, global redistribution and civil strife are offered to Azerbaijan as an alternative! Azerbaijan is offered revolutionary liberalism, which will finally bury the remains of statehood. Either Aliyev, or disintegration... Even after a quarter of a century, our choice is not great: just one signature between the past and the future.

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