Ilham Aliyev © Wikimedia Commons
George Bernard Shaw considered their spilled blood as necessary and praised the “efficiency” of totalitarian rule compared to the “toothless western parliaments”. The genius playwright at least in this case was wrong ‑ there are currently no worse, more cynically managed and poorer nations than those, which are enclosed in totalitarian regimes.
We have chosen the ten most corrupt and brutal dictators of today:
10. Ilham Aliyev, Azerbaijan
Re-elected for a second term as President of Azerbaijan in 2008, Aliyev initiated referendum on removing the restriction of presidential consecutive term limit. 87% of participating citizens voted in favour of lifting the restriction and thus legitimized the actual monarchy in the oil-rich country. Excellent, though paradoxical example: to destroy democracy you can take advantage of the same democracy.
However, the field in which Aliyev is really unsurpassed is enormous scale of corruption. The secret businesses owned by the president family are traced from Panama to the Czech Republic, as well as the hidden shares in foreign banks or construction companies. The family also profits from the Azerbaijani oil industry. It is estimated that the assets of Aliyev are exceeding half a billion dollars, and his son has nine luxury villas in Dubai.
Knowing that Aliyev is now able to lead the country for as long as he want, his and his family wealth will grow, it can be said, unlimitedly. At such speed in which the country’s economy would grow under the sane mind.
Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov © Wikimedia Commons
9. Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, Turkmenistan
Saparmurat Niyazov who died in 2006, was one of the most eccentric Central Asia dictators and probably most notorious for changing the names of months from the old Turkmen language into his own invented words. January, for example, was called “the leader of Turkmen” – here Niyazov, of course, had himself in mind.
When the candidate, who was considered as the most tangible presidential successor, was arrested under the mysterious circumstances, the former health minister Berdimuhamedov was named as the interim president. He has kept this position in two ensuing elections, as it is customary in Turkmenistan, which has nothing resembling a free media, gathering over 90% of the votes.
Current presidential regime gained more confidence from the west, than the former. Berdimuhamedov at least restored the old Turkmen month names, promised to remove the giant golden statue in the center of the capital, which was built in honor of the old president, and also refused the presidential right to rename any object in the country as he like. So, the President of Turkmenistan, at least is not obsessed with his divine visions, but neither makes any progression towards democracy nor fighting against the massive corruption, which moves the country downwards.
Omar al-Bashir © Wikimedia Commons
8. Omar al-Bashir, Sudan
Came to power by military coup in 1989, deposing the government of a brutal civil war-torn Sudan. President Omar al-Bashir still wears military uniform in public. In 2005 his government finally negotiated an end to the civil war, one of deadliest wars in the world’s history, which lasted for over 20 years. However, under this success the hardly imaginable dark side is hiding.
Peace was signed with the consent of the central government to grant autonomy to South Sudan, which was later allowed to fully separate, however with the Darfur region in the west of the country happened otherwise. Darfur has long suffered from the fighting between nomadic Arab tribes and local Sudanese who fought for rare water supplies and fertile land. Eventually Sudanese guerrillas accused al-Bashir’s government of aiding Arab tribes and their people repression, and then began attacking the central government owned objects.
The president responded with the actual war and genocide against the Sudanese in region of Darfur: the army carried out mass killing of civilians, rape and robbery. The United Nations estimates that nearly three million people have been forced to flee their homes. The international Hague tribunal has issued an arrest warrant for Omar al-Bashir.
Alexander Lukashenko © Wikimedia Commons
7. Alexander Lukashenko, Belarus
After Putin’s behavior in the last six months, it became clear that if, Russia ‑ Europe, than Lukashenko’s “the last dictator in Europe” title has been challenged. Perhaps this is the reason why sometimes in public he seems resentful and not inclined to succumb to Putin? It is well known that Lukashenko, in contrast to the vast majority of people in this list, does not try to avoid the dictator’s label, but proudly refer to his form of governance as “dictatorship”.
Now, for example, the eternal regime of President of Belarus, which does not avoid the falsification of election results or to disperse the peaceful demonstrators to prisons, is planning to bring back serfdom. Farmers in Belarus can be forbidden to quit their jobs and move to the cities. Maybe in the near future it will be banned to go shopping in Vilnius “Akropolis” and “IKEA”, bearing in mind the recent Lukashenko’s reproaches on his countrymen for the country’s cash flow movement to Lithuania?
Fidel and Raul Castro © Wikimedia Commons
6. Fidel and Raul Castro, Cuba
When in 1959 Brothers Fidel and Raul Castro led guerrillas to victory and overthrew the regime of Cuban dictator Batista in Havana, many residents greeted the first communist government in the West as their liberators. This mood did not lasted for long ‑ shooting squads, repressions for their beliefs, strict information and freedom of movement restrictions led to the agony of a half a century lasting experiment.
Initially, the new Fidel Castro’s Cuba served as an outpost of the Soviet Union fight against the “Western imperialism”. Archival documents show that Castro himself asked Khrushchev for missiles, which in 1963 almost led to the Third World War. When Khrushchev began to tend to the de-escalation of the crisis and the avoidance of devastating war with US, the Cuban revolutionary did not want to do so. When eventually the crisis resolved peacefully, Castro began to get bored and immersed in the classic “better than all” life – women, cigars, champagne, passionate speeches about the poor country’s light and festive meetings with one after another dying Soviet leaders.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Castro has lost a sense of meaning in life, so unofficially since 1997 and now officially since 2008, Cuba is led by his brother Raul who once named to be even more radical than Fidel.
Islam Karimov © Wikimedia Commons
5. Islam Karimov, Uzbekistan
If in the age of internet you want to find out how does it feel to sit in the train wagon with Leonid Brezhnev (in this case – Karimov), close the curtains and pretend that the train is moving, then please visit the Uzbekistan National News Agency website. The news article of June 28, for example, claims that: “A rich grain yield has been grown in our country this year. This is primarily an outcome of the peace and calmness in the nation, harmony and cohesion of our people.”
However, when you open the curtains you see that the train went off the rails and lie overturned. Karimov became the head of the Communist Party of Uzbekistan in 1989, but over the next two years, the Soviet Union collapsed, so by the end of summer 1991 the country, which wasn’t actively interested in independence has left no other choice but to declare their independence. Karimov to remain the head of country had to declare presidential election, falsify its results and chase his opponents. He is still the president today
A United Nations report on the human rights situation in Uzbekistan, says that situation is “appalling”, the torture of people is widespread in the criminal system, there is no freedom of the press and prisons are filled with political prisoners.
In the city of Andijan in 2005, a group of protesters publicly expressed their opposition to the imprisonment of people for political reasons. Result? Troops shot several hundred peaceful protesters. And now let’s go back to read the Uzbekistan National News Agency reports – in the city of Gulistan just ended the contest of the best nurse of the country.
Vladimir Putin © Wikimedia Commons
4. Vladimir Putin, Russia
The fastest rising star in this list. Until recently, Putin managed to hide quite well behind the Russian democratic facade built for western eyes and investors. The news of mysteriously disappearing Putin’s political opponents, journalists being killed, poisoned Litvinenko and imprisoned Khodorkovsky relatively rarely and reluctantly has reached large ears of western society
Even the invasion in Georgia in 2008 went through without any serious consequences, but when this winter in Ukraine, Yanukovych the president faithful to Russia, who practically aimed to become the European Bashar al-Assad, was ousted, Putin finally spat to his image in the West. You can repeat the already clichéd Brzezinski’s words that Russia without Ukraine ‑ State, with Ukraine ‑ an empire. Indeed, Putin’s dreamed Eurasian Customs Union without Ukraine is only a ghost of a creature, glued from one large and several small dictators, not even worthy to appear on any map.
During the Putin government, the Russian media has become an actively censored machine of aggressive propaganda. The propaganda channel “Russia Today”, which is funded with hundreds of millions of dollars in subsidies from the Kremlin, is beating the news viewing records in YouTube. In the accurate Austrian Anschluss style successfully annexed Crimea and ongoing unconventional war in support of separatists in the eastern Ukraine. At the same time, this man is beating the records of popularity in Russia ‑ a trend particularly dangerous and unpredictable for our region.
Western sanctions slowed down the Russian president rampage, but it seems that being eliminated from the civilized world’s most powerful eight G8, Putin’s Russia prefers to create their own G1 than to negotiate with somebody.
Bashar al-Assad © Wikimedia Commons
3. Bashar al-Assad, Syria
A month ago held Syrian presidential elections, in which Bashar al-Assad was “re-elected” for a third seven-year term, Russia has recognized as fully legitimate ‑ the first sign that there was something wrong. The third year of the ongoing civil war, more than 160,000 people killed, ruined cities ‑ all this mainly because that Assad does not even consider to retreat from the presidency and allow transitional government to try to stop the destruction of the country.
Bashar’s father stayed as Syrian president for 30 years until his death in 2000, when he transferred his post to the son ‑ so the bar of dynasty continuation is risen high and dictator , who is actively supported by Russian and Iranian regimes, is not intending to ruin it even if it would destroy the state itself.
Across the whole country due to war damage stopped working about 4,000 schools, millions of Syrian people became refugees, but in the height of humanitarian catastrophe elections are held. Areas controlled by the army, which is subordinate to the president were flooded with people waving Assad posters. For the entire recent Syrian grotesque spectacle and cynicism, Assad is now entrenched in the top of the list.
Robert Mugabe © Wikimedia Commons
2. Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe
The president of Zimbabwe Robert Mugabe is one of those who were partisans, for various reasons fought against their own government, was in prison, and then eventually became the president of country. Sometimes these people become great – as Nelson Mandela, the former president of South Africa or perhaps even the current leader of Uruguay, Jose Mujica. However, Robert Mugabe has chosen a different path.
In the 1970s he led the guerrilla movement, which fought against the European colonist minority government in Zimbabwe, and finally in 1987 was elected as Prime Minister of the country, and was quick to change the constitution, through it providing all the highest political powers to himself.
From the outset, his policy not aimed to reconcile the Zimbabwean society and raise it from to the devastating poverty, but to directly revenge on the descendants of white colonists ‑ a de facto impose of reversed apartheid. If your skin color is white, it is enough that living in Zimbabwe you would lose your property and suffer from the government supported armed attacks against you. The famine was raging in the country in 2002, but the president in office for a sixth term ordered the white people to permanently leave their owned farms in the country ‑ the lack of food and humanitarian crisis in the event of abandoned farms, of course, become much worse.
Theoretically, compared to Caucasians, all blacks in Mugabe’s Zimbabwe should be privileged. However, when we learn that in 2009, Mugabe spent $ 250,000 celebrating his birthday ‑ in a country where the average wage is 60 dollar cents per month, then you realize that there is only a few privileged out of a thirteen million.
Kim Jong-un © Wikimedia Commons
1. Kim Jong-un, North Korea
The current leader of North Korea shouldn’t have become what he is now. The youngest of three sons of the former “supreme leader” Kim Il-sung after his father’s death had to give up the throne for the eldest brother, but in 2001 he was caught attempting to enter Japan on a fake passport to visit Tokyo Disneyland. This story became an international media hit and father got terribly angry, so the blessing of inheritance had to descend to the second son in the line, but in the view of supreme leader he was too feminine in character and even has written a poem, where he dreams of the world’s nuclear disarmament.
The youngest, Kim Jong-un was contrary –while he was still a child he told his younger sister to refer to him as “comrade general”. He obviously did not lacked of true spirit, so no one was surprised, when after father’s death the youngest son was appointed as the new absolute god of the country.
When in 2012 power came into the hands of Kim Jong-un, many western analysts hoped that the country, which was frozen in the brutal and paranoid Stalinism, will experience some warming, for he is young, probably studied in Switzerland (probably because in North Korea there is no difference between the official data and myths), admires American basketball stars, computer games and listens to Eric Clapton.
The response to Western expectations was formally cancelled armisticeagreement with South Korea, which lasted for six decades and statements, which soon became a routine, about the destruction of America and a nuclear apocalypse. A few weeks ago Hollywood released the trailer of comedy film “The Interview”, which is coming to theaters this falls. In this film two American journalists got a secret mission to kill the leader of North Korea. How did the real Kim Jong-un react to this? Of course, Kim Jong-un publicly spoke of destruction of America and a nuclear apocalypse.