The legendary Soviet singer, now an Azerbaijani diplomat, ambassador to Moscow, Polad Bul-Bul oglu, was reprimanded from the very top – from the entourage of President Aliyev. The reason was the ambassador’s frivolous attitude to the death of the Russian Mi-24 in Armenia. Will the scandal complicate relations between Moscow and Baku and will it cost the former artist a diplomatic career?
“In war as in war – anything can happen. The commission is still working, there are no conclusions yet. ” So the ambassador of Azerbaijan to Moscow Polad Bul-Bul oglu on Thursday appreciated the death of the crew of the Russian Mi-24 helicopter, which at the beginning of the week was shot down Azerbaijani missile over the territory of Armenia. As a result, the commander of the crew, Major Yuri Ishchuk and Senior Lieutenant Roman Fedin, were killed, the third crew member was seriously wounded.
To the ambassador’s remark, responded at the Russian Foreign Ministry: “This is a big mistake. If Russia professed the principle “in war as in war”, then the answer would be crushing. ” The Foreign Ministry proceeds from the fact that Azerbaijan will no longer allow any ambiguous statements on its part in connection with the tragic incident, the Foreign Ministry said. In addition, they reminded President Aliyev of the undertaken obligations to investigate the death of the Mi-24 and punish those responsible.
The leadership of Azerbaijan, as you know, immediately after the incident acknowledged the blame of their military. President Ilham Aliyev then called his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, apologized and expressed his readiness for an impartial investigation and payment of compensation. It is obvious that Baku seeks to smooth over the consequences of one of the most controversial episodes of the Second Karabakh War as soon as possible. Therefore, the frivolous statement of 75-year-old Ambassador Bul-Bul oglu on Friday was followed by a harsh rebuke from Baku.
“The ambassador’s comment on this issue is inappropriate,” the Azertac news agency reported on the words of Presidential Aide Hikmet Hajiyev. Aliyev’s spokesman pointed out that the heads of diplomatic missions “and other officials must refrain from arbitrary statements that contradict the official position of the country” and the policy pursued by the head of state. ”
The current incident is perhaps the first public blunder in the already 14-year diplomatic career of Polad Bul-Bul oglu. He is the doyenne of the diplomatic corps in Moscow, that is, the oldest of the ambassadors accredited in our capital. He has been in charge of the embassy since 2006, and before that, for almost two decades, he headed the Ministry of Culture, first of the Azerbaijan SSR, and then of the independent republic of the same name. It is noted in Baku that he retained the ministerial post under four presidents, including under Heydar Aliyev and his son Ilham, the current head of state.
But throughout the former Soviet Union, Bul-Bul oglu is known primarily as a pop singer, composer – and, as they said in Soviet times, the successor of the creative dynasty. He is the son of the People’s Artist of the USSR, opera soloist Murtuza Mamedov, better known under the stage name Bul-Bul (Nightingale). Polad was not even 20 years old when he became famous for his songs – “Song of Moscow”, “Song of Sumgait”, “From the first date”, “Good morning”. Bul-Bul oglu also composed several songs for his childhood friend Muslim Magomayev. In 1981, the main hit of the TV season was the two-part film by Yuli Gusman “Don’t be afraid, I’m with you”, in which the future ambassador played the main role and performed one of his most famous songs.
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Back in 1976, Bul-Bul oglu headed the Variety Ensemble of the Azerbaijan SSR, with which he traveled throughout the Union and visited more than 70 countries. The Azerbaijani and Russian press later claimed that Bul-Bul oglu sometimes had quarrels with Magomayev, and Heydar Aliyev personally had to reconcile them, who patronized both stars. It is believed that the benevolent attitude of the leaders of the republic to Bul-Bul oglu contributed to his career in the Ministry of Culture, and then in diplomacy. But, as experts note, after the current scandal, President Ilham Aliyev may change his mercy to anger.
Director General of the Russian International Affairs Council Andrei Kortunov, in turn, admits that Bul-Bul oglu’s statement was not a simple reservation of a single diplomat. “The ambassador could have been influenced by euphoric sentiments in the political elite of Azerbaijan … The rapture of victory dulls the feeling of caution and leads to impulsive statements, – said Kortunov to the newspaper LOOK. “In the long term, these moods can be dangerous – the dizziness from success does not lead to anything good.”
“Ambassadors are often divided into two categories. There are professional diplomats, and there are PR agents of their countries with a less formal manner of activity. Bul-Bul oglu belongs to the diplomats of the second type, ”Kortunov added.
Experts in Baku do not exclude that the scandal may cost the position of Bul-Bul oglu. “The ambassador’s blunder is serious. It can damage our relations, Azeri political scientist Zardusht Alizadeh told VZGLYAD newspaper. – Now everything depends on the President’s grace. It was an unfortunate and thoughtless statement, but, on the other hand, it is not a deadly, not fatal mistake. Therefore, the ambassador is unlikely to be fired. And even if they are removed, then not immediately, so that it does not look like they were immediately dismissed for one reservation, for an unsuccessful phrase. ”
The interlocutor added that the incident with Bul-Bul oglu speaks of a larger-scale problem of Azerbaijani diplomacy. “I think our ambassadorial corps needs serious strengthening – rejuvenation.
Let the more professional people who have received modern education come, and not singers or dancers.
We need strong young cadres who can keep their mouths shut and speak publicly only what is necessary for our state, ”Alizade said.
The presence of a direct dialogue between the presidents of Russia and Azerbaijan makes it possible to exclude the possibility of provocations in connection with such statements, said Ilgar Velizade, another Baku expert, head of the South Caucasus political scientists’ club. “It is difficult to say why the ambassador made such a statement. He is a fairly experienced person who has been in office for a long time. In any case, the main thing for us is the president’s assessment of the event, ”- said Velizade to the newspaper LOOK.
It is important that President Aliyev personally suppresses such heady sentiments, adds Kortunov. The scandal will not affect relations between Moscow and Baku, since “the main political decisions are made through personal communication between presidents who know each other well. In this case, the ambassador plays a lesser role, ”the political scientist stressed.
As for the reaction of the Russian Foreign Ministry, it, according to the interlocutor, was both prompt and correct. “After all, the ambassador’s frivolity was inappropriate, considering that the matter concerns the death of people. There has already been a case when the Turks shot down our plane, and Russia long sought an apology before they followed. Taking into account the Turkish experience, Baku promptly admitted guilt, “Kortunov summed up.
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