World

Baku got natives to pose as foreign tourists praising Azerbaijan

A propaganda campaign to drum up support for the Olympic European Games is fuel for memes.
The first Olympic European Games are currently underway in Azerbaijan, and President Ilham Aliyev is extremely worried about his nation’s image. So much so that pro-government TV stations have been dressing up native Azerbaijanis as foreign tourists or getting sympathetic vacationers to praise the oil-rich Caucasian country in outlandish terms, The Daily Beast reveals.

On Lider TV, for instance, a channel owned by one of Aliyev’s cousins, carried this brief but hilarious exchange with a young man who identifies himself in heavily accented English as “James Bonner.” He claims to have come from London on his first ever trip to “beautiful” Baku, which he describes as “a very fantasy, just fantasy.” Also, the food is “really, really, really good, very good.”He would certainly know since James Bonner is in fact an Azeri-born man called Seymur Safarov, from the Jebrail region, according to Emin Milli, the managing director of independent Meydan TV and a recent contributor to The Daily Beast.

Clever social media sleuths at Meydan found Safarov’s original Facebook page, where he’s dressed exactly the same as he was for his Lider spot.ANS TV, another pro-Aliyev outlet, aired a testimony  from a vacationing Russian who says that he’s been to Hawaii and the archipelago has got nothing on the glorious Caspian Sea, a body of water where most of the aquatic life has disappeared due to overfishing and pollution—120,000 tons of sludge per year dropped by oil tankers, by one estimate.“People started to ridicule the government’s stupid idea to fake even tourists,” Milli said.

Meydan TV, for instance, published a cartoon showing grey, drab Azeris being put through a metamorphosis machine and coming out beamish citizens of rich European nations, ready for their close-ups on state-friendly television.

Show More
Check Also
Close
Back to top button