A car accident that left two dead and two injured in the Azerbaijani capital city of Baku has drawn renewed attention to the spoilt lives of the children of the country's rich and powerful. On August 3, 23-year-old Nail Allahverdiyev was racing in a Mercedes G-class sport utility vehicle (SUV) against a friend who was driving an equally expensive car when a hit-and-run accident occurred killing two and injuring two more, according to local accounts.
Allahverdiyev is the grandson of Deputy Prime Minister Ali Hasanov. While in recent years criticism of the ruling class in Baku has been all but quashed as a result of an unprecedented crackdown on free speech, the few critics of the government remaining in the country protested on social media and in interviews given to opposition news agency Turan against the perceived privileges that benefit the offspring of the political elites in the country.
Many sons and daughters of Azerbaijani politicians can be found heading business empires, occupying top positions in public companies and owning properties incongruent with their young age or family's official income level.
On social media, Azerbaijanis questioned how the young Allahverdiyev could afford such a vehicle in the first place and why he would engage in car races on public roads in the city, where the speed limit is 60 km/hour.
However, it appears that Baku is set to make an example out of Allahverdiyev's case. Both he and his racing partner have been arrested and placed in pre-trial detention. Allahverdiyev is charged with violating traffic laws, two counts of murder and fleeing the place of an accident.
In a joint statement to APA news agency, the interior ministry and prosecutor general’s office wrote that “government officials and members of their families continue their arbitrariness and even criminal activity despite numerous warnings from the President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev”. The statement proceeded to warn officials and their families that “the most drastic measures will be taken” against them if they show “disrespect to society and go against traffic regulations and laws”.