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Ali Karimli spoke about how he worked for authorities (From one of his interviews)

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BY EYNULLA FATULLAYEV

Can a politician cynically lie? To lie or not to lie, that is the question. This eternal, like our world, dilemma divided moralists and Machiavellianists as if with impassable barricades. But we all, perhaps, accepted the superiority of Machiavellianism in politics, perceiving all the actors on the stage either as lions, or as foxes. On the Azerbaijani political stage, red and sly foxes twist more than proud and recalcitrant lions. According to Machiavelli, a fox politician, as in fairy tales, but also in nature, symbolises not courage and valour, but insidious deception.

Another great stoic, already in our modern political history, Winston Churchill believed that a politician can skilfully lie only in one case, if his prediction or election promise has not been realised. The politician must predict what will happen tomorrow. And then explain why this did not happen. The politician has the right to such a small lie.

Now imagine if the whole conscious life and activity of a politician consists solely of lies. That is, at first the politician lies to his supporters, and then passes the same lie for the sheer truth. In the period of ancient Roman democracy, such a politician would have been hacked to death with daggers. But in the period of late American democracy, they would certainly be put in an electric chair... And Machiavelli would have brought out a third kind of politician: a mean-spirited and insidious serpent causing feeling of digust.

We had to discuss this subspecies of politicians while reading every line and idea of the anniversary interview of the leader of the national democrat opposition, Ali Karimli. Why anniversary? On 28 April, by an unfortunate coincidence the day of the Sovietisation of Azerbaijan, Ali Karimli turned 54 years old. In the political establishment of Azerbaijan, a vicious, if not to say a bad tradition of rethinking one's own life path on the eve of one's next birthday has been formed.

Karimli decided to turn over the pages of his complex and ambiguous life controversial with different events, collisions and metamorphoses. The leader of the national democrats failed to overlook the most odious period of his political career. Yes, we are talking about the years, when the leader of the Popular Front Party cynically played along with the authorities, completely writing off his spiritual father and leader Elchibey from big-time politics.

Why lie? Manuscripts and yellowed newsprint from the rebellious era of the 1990s are not burnt out yet. Yes, Karimli put finish to his leader, to whom he was obliged not only with his own undeserved successes, but also with his whole political life. Elchibey fostered from an ordinary reporter of the Azadlig newspaper the state secretary of Azerbaijan, and then his first deputy. However, during the former president's exile in Keleki, Ali Karimli not only 'buried' his leader and seized the party's helm, but also safely resold it to the authorities. Here's how Karimli himself tells about this time in an interview with Radio Liberty.

'In all my life I did not cooperate with anyone in the government, I did not engage in speculation. In the 2000s, I recognised that the main rivals of the government were Isa Gambar [head of the Musavat party and the main presidential candidate from the opposition in 2003 - Author] and Etibar Mammadov [on the eve of the 2003 election this politician was not considered a real alternative anymore - Author]. And for some reason it seemed to the authorities that they would be able to start full cooperation with us by not obstructing our passage into parliament,' Ali Karimli tries to convince the public after 19 years.

Serpent's first lie

Karimli is trying to appear in the guise of a tempter serpent. However, the politician not only lies, but in his role distorts historical reality. First, the entire existing liberal community can confirm that at the parliamentary elections in 2000, the Popular Front Party of Azerbaijan did not pass the 5% barrier. Karimli's party was literally taken in tow from the ballot box. Karimli was bestowed this honour because of his merits before the authorities: since 1994, the leader of the Popular Front Party has served the authorities with his heart and soul. And the then opposition leader Isa Gambar, like his numerous supporters, accused Karimli and his renegade faction 'Yurd' of treason, opportunism, and cooperation with the authorities. Karimli received generous funding from the Presidential Administration, SOCAR, and later from the Ministry of Economic Development and other pro-government and government structures.

In the 2000 parliamentary elections, the authorities opened the way for the entire Karimli faction to the parliament in order to ensure opposition representation in the legislature.

Serpent's second lie

'The authorities offered me cooperation. At the highest level, with the participation of international mediators. But I did not communicate with representatives of the government,' Karimli plays the hypocrite. And lies again. In the late 1990s, the absolute majority of Karimli's deputies were paid and full-time agents of the authorities.

Karimli's deputy on international issues Asim Mollazadeh was in touch with Anar Mammadkhanov, one of the closest people of the future President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev. His other deputy, Jamil Hasanli, was under the control of the Minister of Economic Development, his fellow-townsman Farhad Aliyev. Karimli's third deputy, Gudrat Hasanguliyev worked with the presidential administration household manager Akif Muradverdiyev. Karimli's fourth deputy, Gulamhuseyn Alibeyli was a member of the Azerbaijani parliamentary delegation to PACE headed by the future President Ilham Aliyev. Pay attention to the photographs of that period: Gulamhuseyn Alibeyli in the PACE hall is sitting next to Ilham Aliyev. And this is only the highest echelon of teh Popular Front Party! What can we say about the editor-in-chief of the Azadlig newspaper and a close friend of Ali Karimli, Gunduz Tahirli, who was directly funded by the Presidential Administration! And the middle echelon of the PFPA was completely stuffed with an agent network and informers of the 'eye' of the authorities, Namig Abbasov. And the rank and file reported to the district police... The entire system of the Popular Front Party was intertwined with political institutions and operational services of the Azerbaijani government.

Serpent's third lie

'At the initiative of Gudrat Hasanguliyev, the idea of creating a coalition government with our participation was proposed. It was about five ministerial portfolios for PFPA. And I was offered the post of parliamentary speaker. I refused it. After that, the government began a campaign of black PR and pressure against me. The authorities feared that the opposition would unite around a single candidate,' Karimli says fervently. And again a blatant lie. How so? After all, it was Ali Karimli, who, together with Etibar Mammadov, disrupted the nomination of a more promising opposition leader Isa Gambar as a single candidate on the eve of 2003. Serpent Karimli acted in his own manner, meanly and treacherously, supporting the chanceless Etibar Mammadov. And Etibar Mamedov had a single task: to split the protest electorate and not allow Gambar to be nominated as a single candidate. How could the authorities fear a single candidate from the opposition, if Karimli himself undermined all the efforts to form the institution of a single candidate from the inside? Karimli did everything to break the game of the hated Gambar.

As for the idea of a coalition government and the participation of international mediators, Karimli told only part of the truth in this matter. 17 years ago in the 'Monitor' magazine I wrote about the notorious plan of the then American Ambassador Escudero to form a coalition government. Why lie, Mr Karimli? After all, this is not about the events of a hundred years ago, this whole big game was going on before our own eyes...

What happened after that? All the deputies of Ali Karimli, who did not forgive his treachery, slammed the doors behind them with force. Karimli crossed up not only himself, but also his team, which crumbled like a house of cards...

But Karimli got entangled in his lies. The politician continues to lie and distort even the story of three years ago. 'I am not so closely acquainted with Taleh Bagirzadeh [Shiite extremist, one of the organisers of the bloody events in Nardaran - Author]. And the events in Nardaran were inspired by the authorities. And they took us and tied us with them.' No words, just astonishment! How can you just lie like that? Didn't Ali Karimli and the PFPA launch a large-scale campaign in defence of the extremists led by Taleh Bagirzadeh? Wasn't it the deputy of Ali Karimli, Fuad Gahramanli who was making religious appeals in social networks, strange for a secular politician? Didn't Karimli himself at the rallies called for the immediate release of Haji Taleh and all those involved in the bloody events in Nardaran? Didn't Karimli himself persistently create an alliance with the radical Shiite fraternity, declaring barricades in Nardaran to be the Kaaba of the resistance movement and the Mecca of every dissenter? And now out of a sudden Karimli is almost not acquainted with Haji Taleh and the activists of the theocratic Nardaran...

Three years ago, Ali Karimli rushed into battle for Haji Taleh

How is it possible to lie shamelessly and in cold blood? What can laws do in politics without morality? The classic of Marxism wrote that in politics, for the sake of a certain goal, you can make an alliance even with the devil himself: you just need to be sure that you will trick the devil, and not vice-versa. In this whole story, watching Karimli, who even in twenty years will be no better off than at the start, I realise only one truth: the leader of the Popular Front Party is the devil himself, who for 30 years has been trying only to deceive himself. In addition to himself, he could not convince anyone of his lies. Neither the government, nor the opposition, nor the people...

 

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