In the Canadian hamlet of Niagara-on-the-Lake stands an unusual monument – especially for a North American town of fewer than 15,000 inhabitants. It’s a statue of Mehriban Aliyeva, the wife of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, styled as a “divine muse.”
The statue was raised as part of a drive by cash-rich Azerbaijan to make a global name for itself. Drawing on its abundant profits from energy exports, Aliyev’s administration seems determined to gain international attention for something other than imprisoned bloggers and protest crackdowns, and the arts -- both performing and fine arts -- are proving the ticket.
To read the full story
Khadija Ismayilova is a freelance reporter in Baku and hosts a daily program on current affairs broadcast by the Azeri Service of RFE/RL.