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Two Indicators that Show Aliyev is Losing Control

The fall of world oil prices has created a very complicated situation in Azerbaijan. The Aliyev clan seems to be gradually losing control over the process. The announced reforms and approved restrictions are of more informal character and aim to create an imitation for ordinary Azerbaijanis that the authorities are trying to save the situation. Actually, the authorities are unable to do so, because economic institutions are not stable and were not ready for such a fall of oil prices. Moreover, deceiving the public for years with the legend that Azerbaijan has the region's largest economy, Aliyev has fallen today into his own trap because he can control neither the devaluation of manat nor the ongoing inflation rate.

To get the whole picture of the complexity of the situation in Azerbaijan it is enough to pay attention to two important factors.

  1. Spontaneous mass protests are taking place throughout the country. The fact that in an authoritarian country  like Azerbaijan where any form of freedom of expression is strictly punished, the ordinary people stood up to protest against the rising prices, the waste of billions of dollars and wrong economic policies, already shows how desperate the situation is. In addition, the fact that the sparked protests in almost all the major cities are not organized by any political party, but rather represent the civil disobedience, makes it more difficult for Baku authorities to intensify the pressure on those protests.
  2. The control over the press has also weakened. Some Azerbaijani news outlets, violating the tradition of silencing any criticism addressed to the government, have started to cover actively the ongoing social unrest in the Azerbaijani cities.

It is noteworthy that the situation is so complicated that Aliyev has been unable to use traditional playing card - the threat of war. If in the past during the various grievances and social tension, Aliyev was distracting the public's attention away to the borders with Armenia and Artsakh, threatening the public with a possible war, it is now hard to calm down angry and impoverished Azerbaijani society.

As mentioned earlier, the situation in Azerbaijan is quite complex and unpredictable, including the fate of Aliyev.


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