Angry demonstrators in Cairo most definitely don’t have the right to vote in Azerbaijan. But officials in Baku seem to be acting these days as though they do.
As part of an apparent campaign in Azerbaijan to minimize public grievances with the government, authorities are implementing anti-corruption measures. Some analysts see the clean-up effort as motivated more by Egypt’s ongoing political unrest than with any deep-rooted desire in Azerbaijan’s leadership to tackle rampant graft. Opposition activists at the same time are ridiculing the government response.
“What we see is . . . plastic surgery on a patient who needs urgent heart surgery,” said Qan Turali, a columnist for the opposition Azadliq (Liberty) newspaper. Turali added that the current anti-corruption effort reminded him of the “‘self-criticism campaigns’ of the Gorbachev era,” a reference to the Communist Party leader who presided over the Soviet Union’s implosion in 1991. “In the case of the Soviet Union, the patient ended up in the morgue.”
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Khadija Ismayilova is a freelance reporter based in Baku and hosts a daily program on current affairs broadcast by the Azeri Service of RFE/RL.