President Ilham Aliyev was born 24 December 1961. He is the fourth president of Azerbaijan, serving in the post since 31 October 2003.
The son and second child of the second Azerbaijani president Heydar Aliyev, Ilham Aliyev became president of Azerbaijan in 2003 following his father’s death, in an election defined by election fraud. Azerbaijan being oil-rich has strengthened the stability of Aliyev’s regime and enriched ruling elites in Azerbaijan, making it possible for the country to host lavish international events, as well as engage in extensive lobbying efforts.
Who Is Ilham Aliyev?
Aliyev’s family have enriched themselves through their ties to state-run businesses. They own significant parts of several major Azerbaijani banks, construction firms and telecommunications firms, and partially owns the country’s oil and gas industries. Much of the wealth is hidden through an elaborate network of offshore companies. He was named Corruption’s ‘Person Of The Year’ by Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project in 2012. In 2017, it was revealed that Aliyev and his family were involved in Azerbaijani laundromat, a complex money-laundering scheme to pay off prominent European politicians to deflect criticism of Aliyev and promote a positive image of his regime.
President Ilham Aliyev
Many observers see Aliyev as a dictator. He rules an authoritarian regime in Azerbaijan; elections are not free and fair, political power is concentrated in the hands of Aliyev and his extended family, corruption is rampant, and human rights violations are severe (including torture, arbitrary arrests, as well as harassment of journalists and non-governmental organizations). The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict continued during Aliyev’s presidency and culminated into a full-scale war in 2020 in which Azerbaijan regained control over the Armenian-occupied territories surrounding Nagorno-Karabakh that were lost during the First Nagorno-Karabakh War, as well as a part of Nagorno-Karabakh region itself.
Early life Ilham Aliyev
Ilham Aliyev is the son of Heydar Aliyev, president of Azerbaijan from 1993 to 2003. His mother Zarifa Aliyeva was an Azerbaijani ophthalmologist. He also has an older sister, Sevil Aliyeva. In 1977, Ilham Aliyev entered the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO-MSIIR) and in 1982, continued his education as a postgraduate. In 1985 he received a PhD degree in history. From 1985 to 1990 Aliyev lectured at MSIIR. From 1991 to 1994, he led a group of private industrial-commercial enterprises. In 1994–2003, he was vice-president, and later the first vice-president of SOCAR, the state-owned Azerbaijani oil and gas company. Since 1997, Aliyev is the president of the National Olympic Committee of Azerbaijan.