A public rift has widened between Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev’s dynastic administration and one of its longest-serving and most powerful former figures.
The gray cardinal who midwifed Aliyev to power as his autocratic father lay dying in 2003, Ramiz Mehdiyev, posted on a state-backed website an attack on “our authorities and the media” — which is nearly all state-controlled in Azerbaijan — for allegedly harming the country.
The 82-year-old’s outburst followed the leak of embarrassing videos of his son-in-law in handcuffs after a lavish wedding reception hosted by Mehdiyev that flouted the anti-pandemic measures weighing so heavily on ordinary Azerbaijanis.
Mehdiyev’s public attack marks a conspicuous challenge to Aliyev’s yearlong push to replace some of the regime’s old guard with new faces to usher in fresh economic and managerial thinking.
But the spat has also spawned questions as to how, in a country so tightly controlled by formal and informal