Saturday, March 6, 2010

Real estate genius?

The latest evidence of the wealth accruing to the ruling family in Azerbaijan has been published on the Internet. This article by the Times details the real estate riches acquired by Heydar Aliyev, the 12-year-old son of the current president of Azerbaijan. Nine luxury properties in Dubai had been bought during a two-week period last year when the youth spent $44 million. In all, the president's children have real estate holdings of about $75 million.

This is wonderful. It's very important that young people be taught how to invest and save. The president is setting a fine example for other parents in Azerbaijan, encouraging his son's thrift and enterprise.

President Ilham Aliyev indeed sets a very notable example, and apparently, it has an effect. The country, after all, is recognized for its stubbornly high level of corruption.

It's also recognized for its high level of income disparity. While the president's son is investing millions of dollars in Dubai, the yearly gross national income per capita is roughly $666.

(As it happened, I needed to talk with someone in Azerbaijan this morning. The journalist I was contacting, however, couldn't talk because her newsroom was facing a momentary crisis. The news outlet's website was facing very strange and serious problems. Very mysterious. Perhaps the president does not want to share the news about his financially savvy son?)


Ani said...

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, ruler of Dubai, would like to thank young Heydar and his family for this tremendous show of faith in their real estate purchases, especially since their value has since plummeted. To show his appreciation, not only will he provide them with canoes once the island starts to sink, but also paddles, which many other investors will lack.

(I wonder, though, if providing proper housing for the internally displaced people of Azerbaijan might have cost quite so much...)

one reflective teacher said...

I was talking to some politically active Azeri kids the other day and they had an interesting comment. If it were corruption, it would have been hidden quite easily. Real names were used, and a fake business could easily have been created.

I think it is obvious that the politicians just don't care what folks think about them.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I think it is an indication of the cynicism rampant in the country. The "leaders" don't care much about the public's perceptions - because they are not responsible to the public. And the public expects only the most venal behavior from both leaders in government and opposition leaders. Those seeking to control a population would do well to study Azerbaijan, and the issue of corruption. If a country become thoroughly corrupt, principled opposition becomes impossible. Democracy become impossible.

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