Even when Hasan Suleymanov had a steady job, he could barely get by on his salary of less than $300 per month as an architect and designer. Then, Azerbaijan’s economy started to nosedive, forcing his employer – which he asked not be named – to close down in 2015, making his situation untenable.
Suleymanov suddenly was no longer able to pay off a debt he had incurred to buy a computer, and the bank that gave him the loan was threatening to sue him. He tried to go to the State Employment Service, which helps unemployed Azerbaijanis find work, but they could not find him a new job. Stress kept him awake at night.
Finally, he decided to leave. He now lives in a 15-square-meter room in Cologne, Germany, working as an intern at an architecture firm.
“No one wants to leave his hometown, loved ones, all his memories and childhood behind for something totally new and unknown,” Suleymanov said.
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Lamiya Adilgizi is a freelance Azerbaijani reporter.