Civil factor as keystone of Azerbaijan’s state policy
Professor Ali Hasanov, assistant to the Azerbaijani President for Public and Political Issues was interviewed by AzTV on October 20. He first expressed his views on the course of reform, announced by President Ilham Aliyev since April 2018, and its implications and directions. He noted that the people of Azerbaijan have constant expectations from the head of state for improving the economic, political, and social consequences of all areas in the country.
According to the President’s Assistant, the interests of the citizens of Azerbaijan are in the spotlight of the state policy under the leadership of the head of state. "The social factor - the civil factor - has been the keystone of President Aliyev's activities until 2018, and of his new policy systematized for renewal and modernization since 2018. In 2018, President Ilham Aliyev has announced a new course of reforms in the country following his re-election. The new course envisages the increasingly diminished dependence on oil revenues in the economic field, the development of the non-oil sector, as well as the agricultural and agrarian reforms, the deepening and transparency of mechanisms and norms of the market economy in the country. Against this background, a dynamic increase in working conditions, daily living, and salaries of Azerbaijani citizens has been announced a unified course of the state policy. The policy carried out and the results achieved during this year are obvious. Incomes gained from tax revenues, increase of customs authorities' transfers to the state budget and entrepreneurship development are directed to the social sphere and social policy. In other words, economic reform is a major part of the government's course of reforms,” he said.
Hasanov also emphasized the state programs adopted so far and their implementation, the realization of specific economic programs, the industrialization, the establishment and expansion of economic relations of the state with the foreign world, the development of Azerbaijan’s agrarian potential and reserves, the improvement of employment of the population in rural areas, the improvement of their living conditions, the increase of the state’s export potential and the growth of budget revenues.
The President’s Assistant said that most of President Ilham Aliyev's reforms have been structural reforms. According to him, since April 2018the radical structural reforms have been underway in the country. "Many structures that were created at different times but which did not play a significant role in the management, were eliminated. The destruction of these structures was not just a mechanical process. The Azerbaijani citizens worked in these structures. The policy of the resettlement of those people to other areas was implemented. Citizenship has always been the keystone of state policy pursued by the national leader Heydar Aliyev and continued by President Ilham Aliyev. Therefore, the majority of citizens who lost their jobs as a result of structural reforms have been employed in other areas. Structural reforms are still underway. President Aliyev is still taking necessary steps to systematically carry out the work on rebuilding, consolidating, and expanding some of the structures that are still in the administration,” he noted.
Hasanov said that large-scale reforms were implemented in the social sphere as well. He noted that the policy pursued by President Ilham Aliyev contributed to the improvement of the social sphere in comparison with previous periods. "In Azerbaijan, there was a social security system that did not justify itself. There were, particularly, the dark aspects, corruption, and bribery in the field of provision of low-income citizens from the state budget. Social protection and pension provision of citizens working in entrepreneurship entities, including companies and private enterprises, as well as payments to social funds were not at the required level, people were employed without labor contracts, and so on. This is unacceptable in any country. Therefore, appropriate steps have been taken. As a result of the social policy implemented over a year, the future and pension provision of our citizens have been improved. The steps taken to improve the pension system and the results achieved are obvious. Unfair exploitation of people in need of social protection has been prevented. Thanks to the measures taken by the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection, the system has been improved, the system of targeted assistance to the population has been launched. As a result of the reforms, the funds saved in the state budget are being used to improve the lives of the low-income population, citizens in need of social protection, and those who are difficult to adapt to the market economy,” Hasanov added.
He stressed that the Azerbaijani state is pursuing an active social policy. "It is not the state's duty to pay for the property lost by a citizen as a result of a natural disaster. There is an insurance system around the world for that. Citizen ensures the movable and immovable property, which makes it possible for the appropriate insurance company to pay to the citizen for damage caused to him or her as a result of a natural disaster. The Azerbaijani state implements not only all the issues within the functions of the state but also non-state functions. Social policy has improved over the past year in Azerbaijan under the leadership of President Ilham Aliyev. It gives a good impetus to the future development of Azerbaijan, building healthy relations on the basis of the population's relations with the state,” the President’s Assistant said.
Touching upon President Ilham Aliyev's speech regarding the reforms at the meeting on economic area, Hasanov noted that these reforms are not easily implemented and that there are forces, officials, entrepreneurship entities, as well as structures that do not fully pay the state tax, who want to obstruct it. "There are still structures that are not inclined to transparency and want to avoid the state's tax and social security systems. For their own interests, these people are in some cases struggling and blackmailing ministers, committees, and company executives who are leading the appropriate reform course. As President Aliyev noted, unfortunately, they sometimes use media for their purposes. These are all realities of our social, political, and economic life. Of course, the Azerbaijani state is part of the modern world. Azerbaijan also has some indicators of all the positive and negative processes that exist in other countries of the world. Azerbaijan is not an ideal society. No matter how positive the policy pursued by the Azerbaijani state is, and how much it is based on the interests of citizens, this policy has its disadvantages as well. That is why the head of the state urged not to interfere with people with new thinking, energy, and enthusiasm. People working in the civil service and entrepreneurship for a long time must gradually adapt to the new requirements of the state, modernity and time,” he said.
Hasanov also spoke about the October 19 rally of the radical opposition. He said about 200,000 Baku residents use subway and buses around the 28 May square, and the attempt to rally unauthorized has ruined people’s rhythmic lives. "In addition, the area around the square is quite busy with business entities, shops, shopping centers, schools, hospitals, and institutions. This anti-civil action of the Azerbaijani opposition has literally ruined the rhythmic lives of over 200,000 people in Baku that day. It also violated the rhythmic movement of traffic, the socio-political order of the city. Police were compelled to restrict the movement of citizens to protect the public order. So I apologize on behalf of the police and the Azerbaijani state to our civilians, and to those citizens who had nothing to do with the action that day. In fact, the opposition should apologize. The opposition, organizers, and politicians who want to turn the center of Azerbaijan into confrontation, chaos, and anarchy bear the responsibility of breaking the rhythmic lives of 200,000 people. For 25-26 years, the authority I also represent governs the state of Azerbaijan. It forms and implements the economic, political and social policy of Azerbaijan. It comes into contact with Azerbaijani citizens. It pursues a policy to realize their wishes. All citizens of Azerbaijan are satisfied with this government. The polls show this as well," he emphasized.
The change of the authority and leadership of a country depends on the will and desire of its citizens, said the President’s Assistant. According to him, any force that is unable to win this will and desire is doomed to failure. "The Azerbaijani opposition has been boycotted by the Azerbaijani people for 25-26 years. Our citizens must understand it. Ali Karimli and the anti-national forces around him have been opposed to the government and state administration, order, government reforms, as well as an active social policy pursued by the state with the same nonsensical ideas for 26 years. Look how cruelly the police are behaving to the citizens who want to break the order abroad. We have witnessed many such cases in Paris, Barcelona, Amsterdam, and London which are the centers of the civilized world. People wishing to undermine public order, the rhythmic lives of the people, and the traffic will face the police and security guards and any means will be considered acceptable,” said Hasanov.
He noted that for the radicals boycotted by the Azerbaijani people for 26 years, the opposition has become a way of life and a source of life. "For them, the opposition has become a means of communication with anti-Azerbaijani forces around the world. Azerbaijan is a rich geo-economic, geopolitical, geostrategic factor. Each of the modern world and global powers wants a share from the wealth of Azerbaijan. This wealth belongs only to the citizens of Azerbaijan. Forces that seek to take advantage of this wealth, in one way or another, use mechanisms of state pressure. These forces use radical opposition against the state. In spite of all this, President Ilham Aliyev pursues a modern, independent, voluntary and determined policy. The interests of the Azerbaijani people are at the heart of this policy. That is why the head of state declined any proposals that did not meet the national-state interests of Azerbaijan. In such cases, the anti-Azerbaijani circles are pushing the radical opposition to take certain steps. They have also adopted this lifestyle and are not inclined to change. However, there is a healthy opposition in Azerbaijan as well. These remarks are not addressed to the opposition in general. There is also an opposition that is a healthy opponent of the Azerbaijani state and its government, and that maintains healthy relations with the state and people. But the radical opposition is slandering the healthy opposition institution. Unfortunately, there is no hope for such opposition - the radicals. Renewed Azerbaijan needs a new opposition. This new opposition should also be created by modern Azerbaijani youth,” the President’s Assistant emphasized.