Azerbaijan Under Pressure
Protests in Azerbaijan have been met with a heavy security response. In a nation that depends on oil to keep the economic wheels turning, the continued slump in crude prices, along with the recent drop in value of the national currency, is putting enormous pressure on ordinary people. In recent years President Ilham Aliyev has spent billions on glittering vanity projects, especially in the capital, Baku. But with a government known for corruption and brutality, many Azeris are unimpressed with state spending on the capital’s skyline and the “caviar diplomacy” that has earned the country several recent sporting and cultural events. As the protests continue to simmer, there’s concern that a perfect storm of discontent may be brewing.