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Azerbaijan: With Celebrity Candidate Rustam Ibragimbekov, a New Script for Presidential Vote?

Oscar-winning screenwriter Rustam Ibragimbekov has been nominated for president of Azerbaijan, an award that the post-Soviet cinema celebrity will need to snatch from the current, all-powerful, ever-incumbent president, Ilham Aliyev.


“The East is a delicate matter,” goes a popular trope from a cult Soviet movie co-written by Ibragimbekov, "The White Sun of the Desert", a Soviet version of a Spaghetti Western where a cowboy-style hero confronts a guerrilla ringleader on the Caspian Sea's shores.  This movie, and numerous others, such as the Academy-Award-winning "Burnt by the Sun," are what Ibragimbekov brings to the table in this real-life fight with a Caspian boss.     


Opposition groups, long drubbed into a political corner by President Aliyev’s Yeni Azerbaijan Party juggernaut, hope that the Moscow-based Ibragimbekov’s status and connections will help them get voters' nod for Azerbaijan's lead political role.

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Azerbaijan: With Celebrity Candidate Rustam Ibragimbekov, a New Script for Presidential Vote?

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