Azerbaijan And Corruption
“Since no state, old or new, is entirely free of corruption, the question is not its presence or absence. The relevant analytical problem is rather to determine how different political systems foster diverse levels and varieties and to assess its effects in that system.” (Scott, 1972, 10)
James C. Scott analyzes political systems in how structure influences corruption. Azerbaijan changed regimes from Soviet party domination and domination by one leader, to a regime that was supposedly free and fair: to a system where elections influenced who would be in Parliament and who would be the President.
According to Scott and other political scientists, corruption should decrease when the system changes to a free and fair one. Why? Because the media is free to report on scandals and citizens are free to protest and lobby if they feel officials are taking taxes and using the funds to enrich their own pockets. (Contemporary example: sit-in at Harvard protesting the living wage; Harvard has a huge endowment but pays its workers less than ten dollars an hour.) Corruption should decrease because citizens can vote out those officials who have been reported (by the free media) to be lining their own pockets.
Yet Azerbaijan , according to Transparency International, is #96 out of 99 countries in the Bribe Payers Index. Azerbaijan rates a 1.7 along with Indonesia ; Nigeria is a 1/10 of a point below. (“1999 Corruption Perceptions Index,” Transparency International, www.transparency.de/documents/cpi/index.html) (This is determined according to 17 surveys given out to businesses, with 3 the minimum. 5 were used with Azerbaijan .)
Why should this be? Azerbaijan has had elections since Mutalibov was kicked out, a former Soviet leader left in place after the fall of the Soviet Union . Azerbaijan has plenty of opposition newspapers and NGO’s running; businesses are free to form and make deals; citizens have access to the Internet, protest in the streets, and lobby Milli Meljis , Azerbaijan ’s Parliament.
What explains why Azerbaijan is still so corrupt? There are many reasons that I can think of: the lack of a civil society; the legacy of the Soviets, economic and political; institutions that lack transparency; the dictatorship of Heydar Aliev; repression; the high stakes of oil; and the Azerbaijani culture.
First off is the legacy of the Soviets. When I write this, I mean that they are left with a culture that is used to doing business under the table. Charles van der Leeuw, author of Azerbaijan: A Quest for Identity, describes social conditions under Stalin in the following way:
State shops remained empty, but black markets flourished. In offices, bribery was the main topic of discussion. Murders were frequent in all this wickedness…Workers & peasants continued to live in misery…Khans and beks had merely been replaced by civil servants who more than matched feudal predecessors in ruthlessness and corruption. (Leeuw, date, 129)
For seventy years the Azerbaijanis did business in this way. Their state officials cheated the people and the people ignored this because they had no choice. Audrey Altstadt, author of a scholarly article on the development of Azerbaijan , describes this legacy as a “mentality of control,” leading the Azerbaijanis to expect that their republic would be controlled by the “center.” (Altstadt, 1995, 115) Thus, today they continue to ignore the state officials because this is the way business has always been done. Unfortunately, this theory does not hold up: people protest in the streets almost every day; opposition newspapers attempt to write up the scandals of the officials; and people start NGO’s with the purpose of bringing attention to this.
Another way of looking at the legacy of the Soviets is to look solely at how the Azerbaijanis are left with the high-ranking officials controlling their governments. The nomenklatura are doubly hard to evict 1) because they have been entrenched in power for so long and 2) have now used their positions to gain wealth. Aliyev is himself a remnant of Soviet political rule; he was a Politburo member, an Azerbaijani party chief, and a KGB man. He partied with Gorbachev and Shevardnaze. These officials are used to getting what they want, when they want, and no amount of protest will stop them; they will only put down those opposition newspapers and parties who protest their policies. (Jalal Aliyev, e-mail 5/4/01 )
As in Russia , these crooked politicians have used reform to their advantage. When people cried for reform, politicians only carried them through partially. They allow people to buy privatization vouchers at government auctions, but there is little doubt that once they are sold, they are bought back by political and economic elites, at a higher price and then used to make a profit off these industries by buying up majority stakes in these industries. (Hellman, 1998, 226) Most citizens in Azerbaijan live below the poverty level; policemen and civil servants, who are higher paid, receive wages right at this level, equal to about fifty U.S. dollars per capita. (Safarlieva, e-mail 4/3/01)
Another reason that could explain the amount of corruption in Azerbaijan is the country’s poor institutionalism. The Milli Meljis is not obliged by Azerbaijan’s constitution to hold sessions open to the public, nor does its majority party, Yeni Azerbaijan (Aliyev’s party) allow ready access to draft legislations and decrees unless the state releases them through its own newspapers. (“Nations in Transit,” 1998, freedomhouse.org) Thus, if citizens or media cannot monitor Parliament, who is to say what sort of deals that Parliament is making? And if they do, citizens and the media can be prosecuted for dishonoring the politician’s “dignity.” (Ibid) Elections have been fraudulent since Aliyev has come into power. There is no way that people can force the members to step down without looking like anti-freedom supporters as well. (Goltz, 1998, 203-7) According to Jalal S. Aliyev, head of the Center for Democracy in Azerbaijan , “ Azerbaijan needs new election in every level. And I hope that in the nearly [sic] future we will provide (conduct) new wlwctions [sic].”(Reply by e-mail, 5/4/01 )
Fear of prosecution by these officials, as well as little oversight of Parliament, has led to many business scams of high-ranking officials. According to Radio Free Europe, an official may not own a business, but his family often own businesses that depend on the “protection and access that the official can grant.” Popular business scams include creating an NGO (controlled by a family member) to import supplies duty-free and then sell them at a profit in Azerbaijan and the rest of the former Soviet Union . Other scams include acquiring state subsidies for industry and selling off the public goods on the private market. (“Nations in Transit: Corruption,” 1998, freedomhouse.org; Hellman, 1998, 219; lecture by Professor John Gould, March 2001.)
There is little access to Aliev and his actions and decisions. Thomas Goltz said in a public lecture, “It was insane. I had to go see President Aliyev to get approval to ride on a motorcycle with the first barrel of oil from the pipeline…I didn’t get it from the oil companies, I had to get it from the president. Because I knew him personally, I could go right up.” He went on to say that people must pay kickpacks to see him, and even this works rarely. (Goltz lecture, 4/10) In another example, the public as well as opposition ministers in the Meljis had no knowledge of the agenda, nor of the substance of talks about Karabakh at Key West . (Mammadov, 4/2-6/01, andf-az.org; Huseynov, 4/17/01 , Reuters) This keeps not only the public in the dark, but the opposition in the Azerbaijani Parliament as well. This means if Aliev has control and no one can see him, no one can report on his activities and monitor them. This could certainly lead to corruption.
Citizens have little access to or conflicting information about laws passed on business licenses, property rights, and court decisions. Besides not being able to acquire information about legislation, the laws the Milli Meljis passes are often poorly designed. According to Dr. Safarliyeva, high and low level corruption is due to “inconsistent and poorly designed legislation which in most cases is copied from Russian.” (e-mail 5/3/01 )
Unclear property rights certainly encourage corruption. According to the “Nations in Transit” article put forth by Radio Free Azerbaijan, property rights are guaranteed, but there are no specific laws guaranteeing them and thus there is little real protection for them. The article reports that “to the extent that they exist, bureaucratic procedures pertaining to property ownership and sale are extremely complex and frequently corrupt. There is no official outlet for publicizing changes in laws.” New regulations are rarely published, and “predatory practices” by government agencies and powerful criminal organizations are common. (“Nations in Transit,”1998, freedomhouse.org) There have been reports of journalistic media being assessed by the “tax police” if they have printed negative reports about high government officials, especially preceding national elections. (“Crossroads: Caucasus and Central Asia ,” hrw.org)
For example, the Mayor of Baku, Abutalibov, has been tearing down mosques, street kiosks, and small businesses that operate on Baku streets. He calls them “improvement reforms” but they are in reality to carry out vendettas against independent news outlets; I have not read any reports on why he is destroying other small businesses, but perhaps they are in competition with his own black-market sales. His excuse has been that these buildings were not constructed in the proper zoned areas or in accordance with the city’s architecture, even though they were previously approved by him and can be proved so in official documents. He has not paid these people back for their loss of property. (Eldaroglu, 4/2-6/01, Bulletin on andf-az.org) According to Khanhusein Aliev, head of “ Gaya ”, The Mayor has torn down news-stalls belonging to the “ Gaya ” press distribution company at the order of the mayor. These buildings had been built with the orders of “corresponding bodies” and previously approved by him. (Hajibeyli, 4/23-27/01, andf-az.org) The fact that property rights are not clearly protected allows the Mayor of Baku to tear down anything that threatens this power. This is clearly an abuse of power if not an example of corruption; he is using his office’s powers to destroy the opposition and keep his own power.
Another example of how poor institutionalism encourages corruption; there is poor regulation on market trading. Insider trading is not prohibited; thus it is frequent. (“Nations in Transit,” 1998, freedomhouse.org) High-level officials would benefit the most from insider trading, because they are the ones overseeing large business deals and creating legislation to benefit off of them. Privatization vouchers is another example of how confusing or non-existent legislation can lead to corruption. Vouchers are sold at government auctions and also on the black market. (“Nations in Transit,” ibid.) There is no formal stock exchange at which shares in enterprises can be traded; there is no time limit on how long individuals are required to hold on to their vouchers; there is an agency which tracks these vouchers but you must report the sale yourself; and there is no limit on how many vouchers an individual can buy. (“Nations in Transit,” ibid) There is a story reported by Fortune on Victor Kozeny, the “Pirate of Prague,” about how he was able to buy up many vouchers of SOCAR, the national oil company that was going to be privatized. Had it been privatized, some high-ranking officials in Azerbaijan , as well as U.S. businessmen, would have benefited enormously. It was never privatized, so the businessmen lost out; but the Azerbaijani officials still won, pocketing “millions.” (Elkind, 1998, 8)
An all-powerful police force is yet another symptom of poor institutionalism. According to Aydin Ajalov, “There has been created a police regime in the country. The number of police bodies in Baku with 1,5 million populations is more than those with 12 million inhabiting in Istanbul .” No force in government that uses violence to stop people, without checks, can be an example of good government. The politicians use the police force as a political bodyguard; independent journalists, members of the Azerbaijan Popular Front and of Musavat, as well as of other parties were arbitrarily arrested in 1997 and 1998; many have been beaten and abused. “In August 1997, for example, 30 defendants in a trial of former OPON (special police) members complained of beatings and torture by electric shocks.” (op.cit) Police are required to ask for warrants, but police conduct searches and arrests without them. Policemen are not held to the spirit and letter of the international law that says courts are not allowed to take evidence from torture. (“No Rule of Law in Azerbaijan Abusive Security Forces,” 8/5/99 , hrw.org) Thus, police can make their victims say anything and use this against them in court; they could make an independent journalist admit to having threatened the life of a politician when they did no such thing.
There is little certainty of legislations. Aliev promised to change the election rules to allow more political opponents and easier registration. Yet he changed the rules back once Azerbaijan was admitted into the Council of Europe. (Human Rights Watch, hrw.org) He was using his power of decree to enhance his prestige and acquire entrance into an important institution for Azerbaijan . This is most certainly using one’s power to acquire something, and a symptom of poor institutionalism; there is no check holding him back from changing election laws all the time. In an article by Agence France-Presse , Western businessmen cited rampant corruption and a lack of transparency in business dealings as their biggest obstacles. "You can't get anything done here, unless you show the little green things," said one western businessman, referring to the necessity of paying bribes in dollars. “And they change the law here about as often as I change my underwear," he added. (Stern, 3/12/98 , Agence France-Presse from aliyev.com)
The courts have limited independence. The Economic Court and the Supreme Court are the highest courts, but decisions by the Economic Court cannot be appealed in the Supreme Court. Thus there is no other oversight on it. (“Nations in Transit, 1998, freedomhouse.org) It can take up to 2.5 years for a case to be heard and longer to be carried out. Thus, according to this report, “political or economic patrons” frequently mediate disputes. (Ibid) There is a great example of how high-level officials used the courts, electoral fraud, and an all-powerful police to gain power for themselves, and specifically for Aliev. According to a letter by Holly Cartner, executive director of the Europe and Central Asia Division of Human Rights Watch, requesting that Azerbaijan not be admitted to the Council of Europe for abuses, the 1998 presidential election campaign was characterized by
attempts to stifle the legal exercise of electoral rights, by police brutality against public demonstrators and physical abuse in custody after their detention, and by harassment of and attempts to stifle the print and broadcast media. Following the October 11 presidential elections, the police continued to physically abuse demonstrators, and government officials turned to the courts -- which enjoy no independence from the executive -- to squelch freedom of the press through a wave of criminal and civil defamation suits against journalists and newspapers. (Cartner, 1, hrw.org)
This allowed Aliev to gain power for the second time; he was able to take advantage of a poorly institutionalized government to gain what he wanted, the presidency of Azerbaijan . Not only did he gain the office of President, but he was accused by the opposition newspaper Azadlyg of holding hasty and fraudulent elections in order to begin the process of privatizing the gas, oil, and telecom industries, which right now are held at artificially low prices, and to keep citizens out of the privatization process so that the “ruling circle” could benefit. (Husanli, 10/31/98 , "The Authorities Wish To Misappropriate Strategic Enterprises,” Azadlyg from aliyev.com)
This leads into my third hypothesis and explanation for corruption in Azerbaijan , otherwise known as 'It’s All Aliyev’s Fault.'
His is what is known as a neopatrimonial leadership; where the state appears to be a modern party-based government, but is so strongly manipulated by a single, powerful individual that it is, in reality, a dictatorship. (Eisenstadt, 1978, 71) Aliyev appears to be a benevolent dictator who is only looking out for his people and for Azerbaijan , when in reality he is out for himself, his family, and his friends. (See neopatrimonial article) He is charming and convincing, and if you read Thomas Goltz’s book Azerbaijan Diary Goltz writes in the postscript that Aliyev’s public show of affection moved Goltz; he writes that at that moment he was glad to record “Heydar’s hour.” (Goltz, 1998, 485-7) Aliev built up his power as a leader of Nakhjivan and then when Abulfaz Elchibey ran out in the face of an attempted coup on his government, his own people asked him to step up and take power.
Aliev now controls everything. He controls Parliament and its elections. Liz Fuller wrote in an article for Radio Free Azerbaijan just before the ’00 Parliamentary elections, that an opposition candidate Matlab Mutallimli, published a list of 99 names that he predicted would be elected in the 2000 Parliamentary elections. She writes that a similar list that he published before the 1995 Parliamentary elections proved “almost 100 percent accurate.” (Fuller, 2000, “Parliamentary Elections Unlikely to Be Fair,” rferl.org)
Aliev also controls who will be his successor. This is a way to directly benefit himself and his family. He has chosen his son as his likely successor. According to Aydin Ajalov, Chairman of Intibah Democratic Fund, Aliev is accomplishing this by only supporting people who will then support his son as the next President. He can do this because he has wide-ranging powers.
Aliev decided who would run Baku . He put in place a mayor who would only support his own policies and help him keep his power. This way Aliev indirectly enforces his policies of rooting out opposition journalists to keep his own power. We can look back at the example of the Mayor tearing down kiosks and small businesses. Abutalibov, the new mayor, has gone around destroying kiosks and is in the process of tearing down a mosque and a complex near Shehidler Xiyabani, the Martyrs' Lane Cemetery . Radio Free Europe alleges that it would be “unthinkable” for Abutalibov to risk displeasing Ankara , who had provided the funds for building them, if he had not the backing of Aliev. (Fuller, 4/26/01 , “New Baku Mayor’s Cleanup Campaign Sparks Protests,” Caucasus Report, www.rferl.org) One can see the example in this light as encouraging corruption not because of poor institutionalism/unclear property rights, but as a function of an overly powerful president attempting to hold on to his power.
The President can issue presidential decrees, which are specific and published in government newsletters. (“Nations in Transition,” 1998, freedomhouse.org) Like Yeltsin and Putin, his decrees by law have equal force to Parliament’s legislation until theirs is passed; in reality they have more force. (DeBardeleben, 2000, 454; Fortune, 1998)
Aliev decides who gets what in this system of government. There is a Fortune article about “The Great Azerbaijani Swindle,” about Victor Kozeny, forwarded to me by Dr. Rena Safarlieva, executive director of Transparency Azerbaijan. Kozeny attempted to buy up all the privatization vouchers for SOCAR, the state oil company, for American businessmen, by buying the vouchers off the street. Aliyev insisted that Kozeny see him, and was told that his man on the streets would only be released if vouchers were bought through Barat Nuriyev’s brother. Nuriyev was a high-level official, a no. 2 official in the State Property Committee. “To Kozeny, the implication was clear: The President was getting in on the action. "You don't do anything there unless the people on top get their lick," he [Kozeny] states. Because SOCAR was never privatized, and the businessmen never got their money back, excepting Kozeny, President Aliev and Nuriyev as well as others in the government must have taken the missing money. This is a clear example of how a super-powerful president leads to high-level corruption in the Azerbaijan government.
Aliyev uses his position to benefit his sons, sons-in-law and daughters-in-law, probably cousins, etc. According to Aydin Ajalov, Chairman of the Intibah Democratic Revival Fund (another Azerbaijani NGO), the authority comes “100% from the nomenclature [sic] of the former Central Communist Bodies, including Mr. H. Aliyev,” who is completely corrupt and has lengthened his stay for the sole purpose of giving the office to his son. “For this purpose he only shares top posts to his close friends in order to support Ilham.” An article I received from the Habarlar digest supports this viewpoint: according to the Azerbaijani newspaper Zerkalo, the current structural reforms in the government are being used to create a team that will support Ilham. (Baguirov, 4/30/01 , Zerkalo)
There is anecdotal evidence that President Aliyev has been using his connections to benefit family members. “Some call Pres. Aliyeva a dictator and it has been said that he ‘built a dynasty of family members whose sway extends to virtually all walks of life.’ Nepotism and corruption are widespread in the country.” (Croissant, 42; from “Aliyev keeps power in the family,” origin from Agence France Press (5 May 96) ABBU News Review (No. 22, Part 2, 7 June 96) The Turkish government released a “Sussurluk Report” on corruption in its own security services. Apparently Turkish development aid was diverted to build a luxury hotel, and then given to a Turkish organized crime group to pay off the gambling debts of an Aliyev family member. President Aliyev denied that his family was involved. He then fired his Foreign Minister Hasan Hasanov for the Turkish scandal and closed all the casinos, for the reason that this activity “undermined Azeri cultural values and promoted money-laundering.”(“Nations in Transit,” 1998, freedomhouse.org; also Stern, 2/13/98 , Agence France-Presse from aliyev.com) Aliyev’s angry denial and the subsequent closing of casinos definitely points to a guilty conscience.
Aliyev has claimed to decrease corruption in his government by kicking out the Prime Minister Hasan Hasanov and eight other ministers/officials as well as others, but these firings have mainly been against members of the former Elchibey and Mutalibov governments.
Aliyev makes all the important decisions alone. He is deciding the fate of relations with Turkey , Iran , Russia , and of Nagorno-Karabakh without help of opposition leaders and probably his own as well. Besides the Key West talks where he has not released information, he signed the “Contract of the Century” with major U.S. oil companies. (Croissant, 2000, 2) She does not write that he signed it with the blessings of the legislature. Aliyev made the decision himself. Thus, we don’t know what other things has he decided. He obviously allows Meljis members to benefit from mafia connections.
He is the key source of repression in this society. People cannot lobby, or write about their activities; high-level (and low-level) officials are allowed to do what they want. He represses the media. They cannot report on the shady activities of Parliament, the President, the judicial system, other high level ministers, without being prosecuted or thrown in jail. There are no watchdogs; officials can do what they want. The Freedom House report states that the Central Administration for the Protection of State Secrets in the Press still influences media coverage. The Law on Mass Media, signed in February 2000, prohibits coverage that "insults the honor and dignity of the state and the Azerbaijani people" or that "is contrary to the national interest." Article 4 of the press law, left-over from the Soviet-era code, prohibits "assaults on the honor and dignity of citizens." The criminal code limits the criticism of government officials through several articles. Article 121, on libel, punishes "false and dishonoring" comments; Article 122 punishes insults; and Article 188.6 specifically prohibits "critical comments on the activity" of the President of the republic. (From “Nations in Transit, 1998,” Radio Free Azerbaijan, freedomhouse.org/nit98/azer.html, Accessed April 2001.) Newspapers’ offices are forced to close; equipment is confiscated, and journalists are threatened and assaulted. Not only official laws, but also a bad economy makes matters worse for the media, who relies on advertising to support their papers. Although there are 50 to 60 independent newspapers, they are not always published on a regular basis, and then only in Baku . Outside of Baku , there are very few weekly papers, for lack of advertising and perhaps for lack interest. People are too busy trying to survive. This treatment of the media industry most likely leads to paranoia and fear of publishing something that will insult the “dignity” of a high public official. Obviously, although they do regularly publish scandals, they are forced to run with these articles whited out or else are arrested and harassed. This makes it hard for journalists to ferret out scandals. If one looks at the example of Richard Nixon and how hard it was to ferret out all the details of his abuse of power, then multiply that a hundred times when it comes to Azerbaijan . This leads to public officials that can do what they want without fear of recrimination. (“All the President’s Men”)
He also represses NGO’s and allows few of them to register. Even for innocuous ones like the Women’s Teacher’s Association, the process can take up to six months, if not longer. (“Nations in Transit,” 1998, freedomhouse.org) According to Dr. Rena Safarliyeva, Executive director of Transparency Azerbaijan, “a major factor impeding development of the civil sector is a very difficult process of registration with the Ministry of Justice. Among about 250 NGOs registered with NGO Forum about 50% have applied for registration, some up to 2 years ago, and still are pending for the Ministry’s decision.” Dr. Safarlieva, when asked about whether the dictatorship of Aliyev was a major factor in corruption, refused to name names. This implies that people in Azerbaijan are still afraid to say anything too revealing which might get them in trouble with the government. This leaves officials free to be corrupt. Only 60 NGO’s exist out of hundreds that tried to register (from website www.andf-az.org) There is little engagement between NGO’s and public officials; most are for refugee relief, rather than opposition political groups, because they aren’t recognized and allowed to register by the government. (op.cit)
He represses political parties. He doesn’t allow opposition parties to register, except for a select few. (““Crossroads: Caucasus and Central Asia,” hrw.org) There is evidence that he planned out exactly who was getting into Parliament. According to Aydin Ajalov, “He in every possible way ignores the opinion of the population, forges results of municipal and presidential elections.” “Recent parliamentary elections are notorious for numerous violations,” writes Dr. Rena Safarliyeva. There is intimidation of election candidates and delay tactics when registering. Domestic independent groups are not allowed to monitor elections. (www.hrw.org, “Azerbaijan: Government Interference in Elections,” New York, October 30, 2000) According to a report by the non-partisan Human Rights Center of Azerbaijan, there were 900 political prisoners at the end of December 1997. (“Nations in Transit,” 1998, freedomhouse.org)
There are other alternate hypotheses that are not as convincing. The salary is too low salary for high-level officials. According to Dr. Safarlieva, the poverty line is considered about 50 to 70 USD, while ministers and members of Parliament receive about 500 USD. There is the cultural argument: high-ranking officials cannot make deals any other way; it is their culture. It may be due to Soviet influence and how they grew up, but there is no need to do business in this way, especially if they get enough money from their salaries.
There is the oil argument, which is more convincing. Oil companies usually support dictators or whoever is in power, and make their native countries support them as well. The U.S. supported the Shah of Iran in order to get oil, for example. “Oil companies played a role in the efforts to keeps their fingers on oil taps and assure short-term profits rather than create a balanced strategy for the future.” Oil people almost always go for profits, although they would like stability and it would be smart for them to support it.
Although people are left with crumbling economic infrastructure, shaky political system, they have been attempting, in spite of repression, to register political parties, to register NGO’s, and to start newspapers. There are many Internet sites (Baku-vision, Aliyev.com, azeri-net.com, etc. about Azerbaijan now: this is evidence that people want to have a real society and would clean away corruption if they could.
Corruption does not deter those businessmen in for a quick profit from investing in Azerbaijan: look at those who invested in the privatization schemes with Kozeny, or the U.S. oil companies investing in the Caspian through Aliev. In an article in Agence France-Presse, a western analyst said that in "The environment today, you hear a lot of complaints. Nevertheless, they still keep coming, setting up shop," said one western analyst. However, he conceded: “The benchmark is, how many would have come without the hassles? I can assure you that it would have been substantially higher than the number that did come." (Stern, David. “Azerbaijan's economic upturn blighted by corruption,” Agence France-Presse, Baku: 3/12/98.) According to an Azadlyg (March 26 1999) report more than 110 Turkish companies have packed up their bags and left, corruption being the main cause. According to that same report, more than 60 European companies have also left because of corruption. (www.aliyev.com) As this analyst said, many more companies would be investing in this oil-rich country were it not for corruption.
The most plausible explanation for corruption is this super-powerful president. Nothing else explains corruption in Azerbaijan so well. The legacy of the Soviets will not last; the lack of transparency can only be changed by its elite. It all comes down to Azerbaijan’s President. That the President can control the media, the police, the Parliament, the Mayor, the elections, the appointment of his successor, and business with outside countries, says that the only way to reduce corruption in Azerbaijan is to reduce the power of the President. It is hard to make sure elections are not fraudulent if the police, who are controlled by the President, have weapons to monitor them and the citizens do not. Even with free elections and free media there could continue to be widespread corruption if Azerbaijan’s institutions are not reformed and oil companies and other foreign businessmen attempt to make quick profits off of this country; but perhaps there would be less than there is today.
I asked contacts at a number of NGO’s about whether a new successor to Aliyev would change the structure of government and thus reduce corruption, as Aliyev claims will happen. Dr. Safarlieva replied that changing the governments’ structure without actually changing the government would not change much. Azerbaijan may be developing slowly, but without a change to true democracy, its oil and wealth will continue to be drained off by its top leaders.
1. Thomas Goltz
a. Goltz, Thomas. Azerbaijan Diary. New York: M.E. Sharpe. 1998.
Note: got to know all people in the government personally. Thus, it reflects his personal opinions. He became friends in a way with Heydar Aliyev, and has a good opinion of him despite his repressionist tendencies.
b. Goltz, Thomas. Lecture at Fletcher School of International Diplomacy.
2. Professor Andrew Hess. Interview, February 2001.
3. Professor John Gould. Interview and class lecture. March 2001.
4. E-mail interview with NGO organizers. Sent out query using addresses on www.andf-az.org. Wednesday, May 2, 2001.
a. Aydin Ajalov, Chairman of Intibah Democracatic Revival Fund. E-mail: email@example.com. Fri, 4 May 2001 10:22:38 +0400.
b. Jalal S. Aliyev, Institute for Development and Democracy. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Fri, 04 May 2001 19:52:41 +0400.
c. Originally sent to Azay Guliev, at Forum of NGOs of the Republic of Azerbaijan. E -mail: email@example.com. Forwarded to: Dr. Rena Safarliyeva, Executive Director of Transparency Azerbaijan. Thu, 3 May 2001 11:02:42 +0400. AND Fri, 04 May 2001 10:24:15 +0400
5. Leeuw, Charles van der. Azerbaijan: A Quest for Identity. New York: St. Martin’s Press. 2000.
6. Swietchowski, Tadeusz. Russia and Azerbaijan. New York: Columbia University Press. 1995.
7. “1999 Corruption Perceptions Index,” Transparency International, www.transparency.de/documents/cpi/index.html; Accessed February 2001.
8. Azerbaijan National Democracy Monitor. www.andf-az.org. 2000. (multiple articles)
9. Subscription to Haberlalfirstname.lastname@example.org, daily news bulletin on Azerbaijan. (where did I get this subscription from??)
10. Human rights watch, www.hrw.org
11. The anti-Aliyev site. www.aliyev.com
12. Radio Free Europe/Liberty site for Azerbaijani news. www.rferl.org/bd/az/
13. Croissant, Cynthia. Azerbaijan, Oil, and Geopolitics. New York: Nova Science Publishers, Inc. 1998.
14. Human rights watch/Helsinski. Azerbaijan: Seven Years of Conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh. Washington D.C.: The U.S. Committee for Human Rights, March 1994.
15. Elkind, Peter. “The Incredible Half-Billion-Dollar Azerbaijani Oil Swindle,” Fortune. 1998.
16. “The Perils of Presidentialism,” Juan Linz. Lectures on Presidentialism by Shinju Fujihira, professor who teaches Political Science 21, Introduction to Comparative Politics.
17. Introduction to Comparative Politics.
18. Mammadov, Farhad. “Double Impression about Key West Talks,” Azerbaijani Democracy Monitor – Bulletin, April 2001 from www.andf-az.org, APRIL 2-6 2001.
19. “MPs continue adopting laws,” Reuters Limited: Baku, 4/17/01. From Javid Huseynov, sent along on the Habarlar-L Azeri News Distribution List on 4/19/01.
20. Fuller, Elizabeth. “Azerbaijan: Parliamentary Elections Unlikely To Be Fair,” Radio Free Liberty newsmagazine, www.rferl.org, Accessed April 2001.
21. Cartner, Holly. “Letter to Special Rapporteurs / Azerbaijan: Messrs. Baumel and Clerfayt,” Europe and Central Asia Division Human Rights Watch, January 20, 1999. From www.hrw.org.
22. “Azerbaijan: Government Interference in Elections,” www.hrw.org, New York, October 30, 2000.
23. “Human Rights Watch Backgrounder: Azerbaijani Parliamentary Elections Manipulated,” www.hrw.org, October 2000.
24. “No Rule of Law in Azerbaijan Abusive Security Forces, Corruption, Must be Brought under Control,” www.hrw.org, Vol. 11, No. 9, August 5, 1999.
25. Baguirov, Adil. “Nomination of President’s son as successor imminent,” Zerkalo (from Azerbaijan News Distribution List, Habarlar-L@usc.edu) 30 Apr 2001.)
26. Fuller, Elizabeth. “New Baku Mayor’s Cleanup Campaign Sparks Protests,” Caucasus Report, www.rferl.org/bd/az/report, Volume 4, Number 16, 26 April 2001; Accessed May 1, 2001, from Azerbaijan Report Archive.
27. “All the President’s Men,” the movie. Shown April 2001.
28. Hajibeyli, Mustafa. “’Cleansing’ Operation in Baku,” Azerbaijan Bulletin , No. 17 (271) April 23-27 2001. from www.andf-az.org.
29. From “Nations in Transit, 1998,” Radio Free Azerbaijan, Accessed April 2001, freedomhouse.org/nit98/azer.html.
30. James C. Scott. Comparative Political Corruption, Englewood Cliffs NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1972.
31. “The principle of inviolability of property is violated in Azerbaijan,” Akbar Eldaroglu, Azerbaijani Democracy Monitor, April 2-6 2001. From Habarlar-L@usc.edu, also can be found on www.andf-az.org Accessed ???
32. “No Rule of Law in Azerbaijan Abusive Security Forces, Corruption, Must be Brought under Control,” www.hrw.org, Vol. 11, No. 9, August 5, 1999. Accessed April 2001.
33. DeBardeleben, Joan. “Russia,” Introduction to Comparative Politics, 2000, 454.
34. Stern, David. “Azerbaijan's economic upturn blighted by corruption,” Agence France-Presse, Baku: 3/12/98.)
35. Husanli, E. “The Authorities Wish to Misappropriate Strategic Enterprises,” Azadlyg, October 31, 1998. Accessed through archives of www.aliyev.com, May 6, 2001.)
36. Goldstone, Jack. “Revolutions in Modern Dictatorships,” Multicausal Analyses of Revolutions. Fort Worth TX: Harcourt Brace and Company, 1994.
37. Stern, David. “Azerbaijani foreign minister under fire over dubious hotel deal,” Agence France-Presse , 2/13/98, from www.aliyev.com, Accessed April 2001.
38. Altstadt, Audrey. “Azerbaijanis Struggle Toward Democracy,” from Conflict, Cleavage, and Change. This was provided by Professor Andrew Hess, but he did not provide me with more specific details about the article.
39. “Crossroads: Caucasus and Central Asia: Azerbaijani Parliamentary Elections Manipulated,” October 2000, www.hrw.org, Accessed March 2001.