Friday, August 29, 2014


Silly Dictator Story #12: Azerbaijan's Olympic Dreams For Sale

Azerbaijan's Elvin Mamishzada (left) boxes Mongolia's Tugstsogt Nyambayar in London. No word yet from Azerbaijan if anyone was watching.
Azerbaijan's Elvin Mamishzada (left) boxes Mongolia's Tugstsogt Nyambayar in London. No word yet from Azerbaijan if anyone was watching.
If a national team's boxer boxes in London and no officials from the Olympic delegation are there to watch it, did the fight ever happen?

SkyNews has published hidden camera video of a man claiming to be from the National Olympic Committee of the Azerbaijani Republic who is scalping tickets outside the Olympics boxing venue. Through an interpreter, he says the tickets were given to him for free by "some officials" who, according to the man, did not seem too passionate about their Olympians' efforts. 

Draped in the Azerbaijani national flag, the man sells what SkyNews claims are tickets worth 75 pounds ($118) for just 20 ($31). He then encourages the buyer to look for "someone wearing the Azerbaijani flag" the next day if he wants another good deal.

One would think that Azerbaijan's Olympic authority -- headed by the country's President Ilham Aliyev himself -- would take a pretty active interest in the fate of its athletes given the amount of money it (potentially) has riding on their performances. 

Authorities have pledged $510,000 for every gold medal, $255,000 for every silver, and $128,000 for every bronze hauled in by Azerbaijani athletes. Thus far, Azerbaijan has just one medal, a bronze in weightlifting courtesy of Valentin Hristov

They are going to have to sell a few more tickets to pay his reward.

-- Zach Peterson

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Tags: silly dictators

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Comment Sorting
by: Anonymous from: Toronto, Canada
July 31, 2012 17:11
Your accusations of "silly dictatorship" are quite silly themselves in this case. You've probably never been to Azerbaijan, so don't criticise what you don't know based on obvious prejudice. I was born in and lived in Azerbaijan until I moved to Canada (I still visit back though) to try to go to a "better place" after the mess of the former Soviet Union was sorting itself out, and frankly, after living in Canada for many years, I think it was better to live in Azerbaijan. The police are regular there most of the time (I know one officer as a good friend actually), and the elections are fine. You seem to think that just because someone wins all the time, he's cheating. You don't consider the fact that people actually like him, like Roosevelt when he served 4 terms. In conclusion, don't criticise what you obviously don't understand. The majority of the people of Azerbaijan are not with you.
In Response

by: Hasan from: London, England
July 31, 2012 20:33
Silly dictator is right on, you dont have to visit a place to know that it is the most corrupt country in the world. I think you should go back to the mothership and see if you can get some of those oil dollars Alieyev and his mafiosa family are throwing the world.
In Response

by: Anonymous from: Toronto, Canada
August 01, 2012 18:32
"Silly dictator" is more of a meaningless insult than a backed accusation, Aliyev, as I said in a reply to another response to my original comment, is a mostly generic leader, it's just that his political method is conservative. My family, especially my father and me are more liberal, and we don't actually like Aliyev, but I don't like people like Stephen Harper either. I accept that Stephen Harper is an OK leader and that he won his position fairly, I just oppose his political views and many of his policies. Same with Aliyev. He's not a ruthless savage, and Azerbaijan isn't the "most corrupt country in the world" (southern African countries come to mind), he's a conservative and a slight nationalist. Not very impressive, but foreigners tend to exaggerate such things without looking at the good things that happen in countries like Azerbaijan. You have to have been there for a fair amount of time to realize that it's a normal place generally and that the good stuff outweighs the bad. The oil you mentioned is a very good thing for the Azeri economy and in turn the people, and seeing as Azerbaijan has only 1% unemployment, the third best in the world, and is the 28th highest by account balance (source for both: CIA World Factbook), I'd say it's certainly not bad there, and it's getting better every day (the Human Development index is ranked as "High" and is increasing by the way).
In Response

by: Jack from: US
July 31, 2012 22:43
You might be a NATO minion. I suggest you move back to Afghanistan.
In Response

by: Anonymous from: Toronto, Canada
August 01, 2012 18:37
If you were responding to me, then I'll have you know I'm strictly anti-NATO, and I've never even been in the general vicinity of Afghanistan, don't share their background (Turkic, me vs. mainly Pashtun and Tajik, them), language (Azeri, English and French, me, mainly Pashto and Dari, them), or even religion (atheist, converted from non-religious muslim, me, strict muslims, them).

by: lt from: usa
August 01, 2012 00:40
To anonymous from Toronto. If you think azerbaijan is so cool, why don't you live there instead of Canada? I don't think anyone will hold you back from moving out of the country to the corrupt country of yourrs
In Response

by: Anonymous from: Toronto, Canada
August 01, 2012 18:22
I dispute your use of the word "corrupt", as you likely don't have any idea of the conditions in the country or any good evidence. Anyway, I'll get to your question, which was a good one. I don't want to answer it here directly, as I would reveal too much info about myself online, but I can say that I don't have Azeri citizenship anymore as Azerbaijan doesn't allow dual citizenship, and I left at a pretty young age, so I'm not as articulate with the Azeri language as I should like to be. I visit often though, as most of my relatives are still there. I don't doubt there's problems there, my family is actually generally opposed to the current leadership, especially me and my father, but still, such things are often exaggerated by foreigners who cherry pick only the bad things. I think the opposite is true, and that's my point. If people actually like the leader, and most of them do, then I don't have a problem with the leader being in power (although I do oppose many of his views). That's how democracy works, you accept it when a party you don't like wins. I think most of the president's policies aren't that bad anyway, and are generic policies, just his political method is conservative, whereas I'm more liberal.

by: Sinav from: South Azerbaijan
August 01, 2012 12:35
Now what if the man was wearing a U.S. flag? And what then?

A man scalps Olympic tickets while wearing an Azerbaijani flag and claiming to be connected to “Some Officials” and then the delusional RFE-RL comes up with its own selective conspiracy theory. I’m happy that he was not carrying any emblems of MI6, MI5, FBI, CIA, DIA, DOD and et al.

Your banner “Silly Dictator Story” was indeed looking for a subject for a while. But let me remind you that, you the RFE-RL’s U.S. sponsors and the West, You are the real silly dictators, you are the ones who have messed up whole this planet, you are the ones who have your prides soaked in our blood and you are the ones who must be ridiculed on the quasi-news portals. Actually, we are the ones who should call you dictatorial.

@IT from USA
He’ll do so as soon as you get your mercenaries out of our backyard.

by: Anonymous from: Toronto, Canada
August 01, 2012 18:45
I don't really see the point of this article. How does it prove dictatorship? Sounds more like a conspiracy theory with very little evidence. Even if it was true, what is the accusation again? Selling tickets? Evil! (Note the sarcasm if you haven't). I don't know why it's thought that paying medal winners is a bad thing either, they deserve it. Certainly there's more pressing problems in Azerbaijan, like pollution from oil extraction, or the fight against corruption.
In Response

by: Elchin Hasanov from: Canada
August 01, 2012 22:07
These pro Aliyev stooges are telling fairy tales. 1% unemployed in Azerbaijan? If Azerbaijan under the Aliyev regime is so good why are you in Canada? Aliyev sold Karabakh with his dad so that their family can rob the oil wealth, killed many Karabakh war heroes in Azerbaijan. Armenian president was actually fighting in Karabakh while Ilham was selling leather jackets in Istanbul.

The Aliyev clan backed by the West is the greatest Azeri tragedy.
In Response

by: Sinav from: South Azerbaijan
August 02, 2012 11:25
Seems that pro Kerimli stooges are telling fairy tales too.
In Response

by: Anonymous from: Toronto, Canada
August 03, 2012 04:09
"The Aliyev clan backed by the West is the greatest Azeri tragedy."

Definitely agreed, I prefer a return to the Azeri SSR and increased relations with neighbours, not with far away debt-riddled countries.

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Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at

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