Like Father, Like Son


HAND-OFF: Critics say Ilham has neither the drive nor the skill to fill his father's shoes

Throughout his career, Heydar Aliyev — President of Azerbaijan, KGB general and veteran of spectacular Kremlin intrigues in the waning years of the U.S.S.R. — was a consummate in-fighter who prided himself on total control of the state machine. Earlier this month, as the 80-year-old Aliyev lay in a Turkish hospital, reportedly near death, he pulled off his final piece of political gamesmanship: the appointment of his 41-year-old son, Ilham, as Prime Minister, ensuring that should Heydar die or become incapacitated, Ilham can take over as acting President. And as a Russian IL-62 flying hospital rushed Aliyev from Turkey to the...

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