The public is unhappy that nobody has answered for mistakes already made" />

Azerbaijani President: time to end ‘construction mayhem’ in Baku. Citizens doubtful

The public is unhappy that nobody has answered for mistakes already made

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev received the head of Baku executive authority, Eldar Azizov, who was appointed to the position last year. The President spoke about the many problems of the capital, demanding they be dealt with. 

This meeting did not escape the attention of social media users; citizens are skeptical that anything can be done to reverse the damage done to the city in recent years. 

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A sensitive subject

The head of the city and its activities are sensitive topics for Baku.

First off, it is not the people of Baku who choose the city head, but the president. However, the Azerbaijani government long ago promised to make this post an elected one. 

Secondly, for almost 20 years, the head of the executive branch was Hajibala Abutalybov, an eccentric official who was remembered by the townspeople for his strange statements and actions. 

The public at the time eagerly awaited for the city to be ‘taken away’ from him. 

And so, in the spring of 2018, Eldar Azizov became the new head of Baku. Previously, he headed another major city – Sumgayit. For many, he is primarily associated with giant cakes baked on his order in honour of the president’s birthday.

What did the president and the mayor talk about?

At the meeting held on November 4, Ilham Aliyev and Eldar Azizov spoke about the improvement of courtyards and residential high-rise buildings, the replacement of old elevators and other “household” issues.

The president also spoke about illegal and improper construction.

“We need to try to ensure that all corners of the city of Baku are landscaped, problems that bother citizens, including issues related to construction, be eliminated. I have given relevant instructions about this. Sometimes places for construction are seized, sometimes orders are illegally issued, trees are cut down. From now on, the rules of urban development should be fully ensured in Baku,” he said.

In this vein, the conversation went on: the president listed problems, Azizov said how they would be solved. 

It was also said that today Baku is a “city of green parks, squares”, and that “the environmental situation is improving.”

The public reaction

The public received this conversation with a fair amount of skepticism.

The competence of Eldar Azizov is doubted by many.

“When Eldar Azizov was the head of Sumgayit, he built a ten-story house for internally displaced people on the school sports ground,” journalist Natig Javadli says, recalling that Azizov himself had recently been engaged in the same improper construction, bypassing all the rules and regulations.

Some consider these measures belated, and remember the former head of the city, Hajibalu Abutalybov, with an unkind word:

“This is not even funny. To recall the violation of building regulations, when everyone who can be [deprived] has long been deprived of sunlight, and all the more or less empty areas have been built up. Now it’s strictly forbidden to build close to schools. And what to do with already built buildings? And who will answer for this?”

“How was the ex-head of the city punished, whose signature is on the permits for all these buildings? The buildings they mentioned? With an order of honour and a high pension? ”

Natiq Jafarli, an economist and member of the opposition party Real Alternative, commented on the president’s position on Facebook:

“From all the criticism and reproaches against the executive authorities voiced by the president to the government and executive authorities, I conclude that he wants to be both the government and the opposition.”

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