Azerbaijan has improved on e-government and administrative burden, but the overall control of corruption and its human rights record remain poor. A culture of impunity reigns, with some individuals above the law and no corruption disclosure can take place when the press freedom is the lowest in the world. Furthermore, evidence exists that the ruling regime has used its natural resources of strategic importance to polish its image abroad.
Selected trends from the Public Integrity Index
Trends in Judicial Independence, Administrative Burden, Freedom of the Press over the past 13 years
Azerbaijan’s longstanding relationship with corruption and cronyism are by no means an exception but quite overtly a norm that has existed since the fall of the Soviet Union. The government has reiterated its intention to implement reforms through a series of policy packages since 2015, but no clear results of progress have properly manifested. Their ability to establish policies such as ASAN, a parallel one-stop shop to take care of some public services rather than attempt reform of the state bodies themselves, as well as their high rankings via the Index of Public Integrity act predominantly as a guise for initiative, but have overall resulted in weak execution. More recently between the pandemic and the resurrecting of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, powerful vested interests have used these current events to push back against change, delaying once again Azerbaijan’s much-needed reforms.