This analysis is an attempt to put in perspective the dynastic transition of an authoritarian regime in the Caucasus: Ilham Aliev’s succession to his father as President of the Republic of Azerbaijan.  Instead of focusing on the usual aspects of Azerbaijan’s prospects (the Caspian oil potential, the Qarabagh conflict and the implementation of macro economic reforms), the study casts light on a dual and potentially conflictual society after the brutal “transition period,” even if a climate of general apathy towards politics prevails nowadays. Basically, the regime is supported by the nouveau riches who have amalgamated in the New Azerbaijan Party, the main political organisation on the political scene since Heydar Aliev’s triumphant come back to politics since 1993.  A substantial number of people who depend on the Alievs’ patronage for their privileged position are also loyal to the regime.  However, one may notice a growing social discontent among the destitute middle class, and among those who do not benefit from the economic boom and suffer from the now widespread nepotism and cronyism.  Their social despair can not materialise in political mobilisations because of a lack of reliable opposition parties.  Without bringing a radically new analysis, this article offers a useful presentation of Azerbaijan’s chaotic transition from the Soviet period to a liberalised economy and an authoritarian regime.

Gilles Riaux, French Institute of Research in Iran, Tehran
CER: I-8.3.C-715