Mankind's only alternative 27   JAN.   23  
Mankind's only alternative
War Nerd RSS

The Fall of The eXile For all those wondering what the "Save The eXile Fundrasier" banner is all about, here it is as simply as it can be phrased: The eXile is shutting down.
June 11, 2008 in eXile Blog

War Nerd: War of the Babies in Taki's Magazine The War Nerd talks about babies, the greatest weapon of the 20th century.
May 28, 2008 in eXile Blog

Kids, Meet Your President A website for Russian kids to learn all about President Medvedev's passion for school, sports and family.
May 22, 2008 in eXile Blog

Cellphone Democracy Cam If this girl was exposed to Jeffersonian democracy...
May 20, 2008 in Face Control

More Classy B&W Dyev Photos Yet another hot Russian babe imitating the Catpower look...
May 20, 2008 in Face Control

Proof That Genetic Memory Is Real! Sure, the Ottomans shut down the Istanbul Slavic slave markets centuries ago...
May 15, 2008 in Face Control

Russia's Orthodox Church Youth Outreach Program The priest is going, "Father Sansei is very impressed with grasshopper Sasha’s...
May 15, 2008 in Face Control

More Classy B&W Club Photos w/Russian Dyevs We took the Pepsi Challenge here...
May 15, 2008 in Face Control

Blogs RSS feed

Russia March 27, 2008
There Will Be Krov: Oil-soaked Travels Through Azerbaijan
Blood, Oil, and Borat in Azerbaijan By Alexander Zaitchik Browse author Email
Page 3 of 7

Museums Azeris can choose to avoid. Not so the ubiquitous presidential billboards. They are everywhere in Azerbaijan, most of them faded by time and pollution to resemble the pages of a 1970s Intourist catalogue of Black Sea resorts. Dominating the country’s roads are hundreds of massive signs displaying Heydar Aliyev in various poses. Sometimes he is alone, sometimes he is shown having a serious discussion with his son and successor, Ilham. The multi-generational billboards depict the duo wading into adoring crowds (Heydar first); discussing the glorious future of Azerbaijan in front of power plants; and contemplating unknown subjects requiring subtle and sensitive minds, possibly the mystery of the obvious cheapness of Ilham’s gold watch. Despite their riches, both presidents seem to share an affinity for cheap suits. The son’s sense of style especially appears to have been molded by his playboy years in Turkish casinos.

Recently a new billboard has begun to pop up outside the capital that has lit up the Azeri blogosphere and sent Azerbaijan’s opposition into a deep depression. It shows not two Aliyevs, but three. Trailing behind Ilham is the little boy-dictator-in-waiting, Heydar Jr., a kind of Damien figure who may be the world’s first non-Tibetan figurehead to warrant his own pre-pubescent secession propaganda. The text leaves little doubt about the message: “Independent Azerbaijan's yesterday, today and future!!!”

In clumsy, Borat-like public relations efforts, Ilham does his best to project a cosmopolitan image. Any meeting with visiting foreigners is heavily publicized in the state media. When a freelancer with Forbes interviewed Aliyev shortly after he assumed power, the leading pro-government daily plastered its front page with an image of the president being interviewed by the young journalist. And when Herbie Hancock headlined the 2006 Baku Jazz Festival, the following year’s program opened with a two-page spread of Hancock and Aliyev sitting on couches with painfully forced smiles on their faces. The text beneath the photo read: “Herbie Hancock: ‘Your president is a very nice guy!’”

* * * *

Someone else who thinks Aliyev is a very nice guy is Dick Cheney.

The U.S. Vice President’s links to Azerbaijan date back to 1993, when the newly ensconced Heydar Aliyev made it a foreign policy priority to cultivate ties with politically connected world of Texas Oil. It was a natural alliance, one with a cultural element on top of the obvious political and economic logic. Houston and Baku are two of the world’s greatest oil capitals, and two cities which deserve the “asshole of the [fill in large geographical location here]” moniker more than just about any place on earth. They are official “sister cities.” A team from Houston is currently advising the Azeri government on a planned Museum of Oil in Baku, based on the one in Texas.

Fully aroused by rumors of Saudi-levels of crude in the Caspian, Texas Oil was eager to return Aliyev’s embrace. A friendship was established in 1993 and cemented in 1994, the year Aliyev inaugurated Azerbaijan’s post-Soviet oil boom by signing the so-called “Contract of the Century” with western majors. As Aliyev hoped, Houston was the key to unlocking to deeper cooperation with Washington. As David Case recounted in a 2004 Mother Jones article:

A "poverty burqa" on the streets of Baku. Despite the nation's oil wealth, one-third of Azeris live on less than $250 a month.  

SHARE:  Digg  My Web  Facebook  Reddit
Browse author
Alexander Zaitchik is an editor at The eXile. Email him at

Way East of Tynda: 116 Hours in A Small Room :


I Fought The Law: Edward Limonov on Trial :
Bar Dak
The National: The eXile Interview :


Save The eXile: The War Nerd Calls Mayday
The future of The eXile is in your hands! We're holding a fundraiser to save the paper, and your soul. Tune in to Gary Brecher's urgent request for reinforcements and donate as much as you can. If you don't, we'll be overrun and wiped off the face of the earth, forever.

Scanning Moscow’s Traffic Cops
Automotive Section
We’re happy to introduce a new column in which we publish Moscow’s raw radio communications, courtesy of a Russian amateur radio enthusiast. This issue, eXile readers are given a peek into the secret conversations of Moscow’s traffic police, the notorious "GAIshniki."

Eleven Years of Threats: The eXile's Incredible Journey
Feature Story By The eXile
Good Night, and Bad Luck: In a nation terrorized by its own government, one newspaper dared to fart in its face. Get out your hankies, cuz we’re taking a look back at the impossible crises we overcame.

Your Letters
Russia's freedom-loving free market martyr Mikhail Khodorkovsky answers some of this week's letters, and he's got nothing but praise for President Medvedev.

Clubbing Adventures Through Time
Club Review By Dmitriy Babooshka
eXile club reviewer Babooshka takes a trip through time with the ghost of Moscow clubbing past, present and future, and true to form, gets laid in the process.

The Fortnight Spin
Bardak Calendar By Jared Lindquist
Jared comes out with yet another roundup of upcoming bardak sessions.

Your Letters
Richard Gere tackles this week's letters. Now reformed, he fights for gerbil rights all around the world.

13 Toxic Talents: Hollywood’s Worst Polluters
America By Eileen Jones
Everybody complains about celebrities, but nobody does anything about them. People, it’s time to stop fretting about whether we’re a celebrity-obsessed culture—we are, we have been, we’re going to be—and instead take practical steps to clean up the celebrity-obsessed culture we’ve got...


    MAIN    |    RUSSIA    |    WAR NERD     |    [SIC!]    |    BAR-DAK    |    THE VAULT    |    ABOUT US    |    RSS

© "the eXile". Tel.: +7 (495) 623-3565, fax: +7 (495) 623-5442