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“A plane takes off from Turkey with either Aliyev alive or already dead on board”

Written by The Frontier Post

ANKARA (MK): Until now, nothing has been heard about the first president of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev. Some suppose that he “hid” in his homeland and is bargaining with Tokayev about the fate of his clan, others think that Nazarbayev may not be alive, but they hide this fact. For the post-Soviet space, the concealment of the death of a national leader is not surprising. We remembered similar situations that happened abroad as well.
Afterlife of Heydar Aliyev
The third president of Azerbaijan, 80-year-old Heydar Aliyev, according to official data, died on December 12, 2003. According to unofficial sources, death occurred in July 2003. The state of health of the Azerbaijani leader sharply deteriorated shortly before the presidential elections.
At the end of April, Aliyev performed at the Palace of the Republic, when suddenly he felt bad. First, he grabbed his heart, after which the guards took him off the stage. The president returned a few minutes later, but lost consciousness. On the third try, he nevertheless finished his speech, wishing everyone “health, happiness and success.”
Heydar Aliyev spent almost all of May in the Turkish military hospital “Gulhane”. In June he was at home, and in July he again went to Turkey for treatment. Since then, the head of the republic has not appeared in front of journalists. At the same time, the Aliyev family nominated two representatives of their family as candidates for the presidency of Azerbaijan: Heydar and his son Ilham. In addition, just in case, the son was also made prime minister (it is possible that, according to the Constitution, he could become acting president, if the secret suddenly becomes clear).
At the end of July, the President of Turkey visited Ilham Aliyev in the hospital, after which the representatives of the ruling elite who were closest to him visited the Azerbaijani leader. In early August, Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze expressed condolences to the Azerbaijanis in connection with the death of Aliyev. Then, however, it was attributed to a misunderstanding.
On August 6, a plane took off from Turkey, on board which was either alive or already dead Aliyev. According to the official version, he was sent to the United States for treatment, but there is an opinion that in fact the aircraft delivered the body to Baku. In any case, since then, no one has seen Aliyev again, but statements were periodically made on his behalf. The way it is now with Nursultan Nazarbayev.
For example, in September, the head of the State Security Service of Azerbaijan, Vagif Akhundov, announced that his boss was on the mend and would soon return to his homeland. In October, “at the will” of Aliyev, his candidacy was removed from the elections in favor of his son.
Ilham Aliyev won the elections on October 15, 2013. The new president officially announced the death of his father only on December 12, and he was buried on December 15 – 2 months after the elections.
According to Muslim traditions, Aliyev was buried in a closed coffin.
Turkmen secrets
The first president of Turkmenistan, Saparmurat Niyazov, according to the official version, died on December 21, 2006 at the age of 66. At the same time, the opposition claimed that the “leader of all Turkmens” had died a few days earlier, but the ruling elite did not want to talk about it in order to resolve the issue of the heir to the throne in silence.
State Turkmen propaganda claimed that Niyazov was “like a horse.” Every year he was examined by the best European doctors, who then declared that the President of Turkmenistan would live for many more years. In turn, the opposition argued that the elderly politician suffered from a whole bunch of serious illnesses, ranging from diabetes and heart failure, and ending with epilepsy. As a result, the elderly man, who imagined himself to be a demigod, had a heart failure.
Be that as it may, the security forces quickly “neutralized” the head of the Turkmen parliament, Ovezgeldy Atayev. According to the Constitution of the republic, it was he who was supposed to lead the country in the event of the death of Niyazov, but it suddenly turned out that he had driven the girl of his adopted son to suicide, as he opposed their marriage. Under this pretext, on December 22, 2006, Atayev was removed from power, and Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, the minister of health and the possible illegitimate son of Niyazov, became the acting president of Turkmenistan.
It is believed that a coup d’etat took place in the country, which was either provoked by the death of Niyazov, or the death was part of the plan. Since then, nothing has been known about Atayev, perhaps he is still being held in prison or he has already died. According to one version, the ex-presidential candidate fell into disgrace due to the fact that he was going to carry out democratic reforms.
Karimov’s stroke
According to official data, Islam Karimov ruled Uzbekistan for 27 years and never got sick during this time. Only occasionally did he feel weak. Everything changed on August 27, 2016 – the first president of the republic suffered a stroke.
Karimov, who at that time was already 78 years old, was immediately connected to a ventilator. Until September 2, the Uzbek authorities and Karimov’s relatives argued that the president’s condition was stable. The best doctors in Russia and the European Union fought for his life. On the whole, the appearance was created that the president, who by that time had the title of “yurtbashi” (head of the Motherland), could still return to a full life.
However, it later turned out that Karimov’s brain died immediately after the stroke. In fact, representatives of the ruling elite of Uzbekistan did not allow their president to die for a week. They needed this time in order to decide which of them would get the power and what would happen to the property, which Karimov’s relatives and friends had managed to acquire over the past 27 years.
In particular, the Prime Minister of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev fought with the head of the National Security Service Rustam Inoyatov, who was considered the “gray cardinal” of the republic. In addition, according to the Constitution, the presidential power should have passed into the hands of the head of parliament, Nigmatilla Yuldashev, but he refused such an honor (and made the right decision, because in 2019 he became the prosecutor general of Uzbekistan).
Formal democracy
Denis Letnyakov, Senior Researcher at the Sector of the History of Political Philosophy at the Institute of Philosophy of the Ru-ssian Academy of Sciences and Associate Professor at the Department of Political Science at GAUGN, told MK that all of the above cases occurred in authoritarian states, which at the same time have formal signs of democratic.
“At the same time, their key problem is that the process of power change is not institutionalized in them. For example, there is a monarchy, where everything is clear: one ruler has died, he is replaced by a son or an older brother. And there is democracy, where the change of power takes place in elections.
And in authoritarian countries, this mechanism exists only formally, while the ruler tries to retain power in his hands using all possible means. Accordingly, the death of the ruler or his serious health condition is stressful for the system, ” says Letnyakov.
According to the political scientist, at this moment, within the ruling elite, a struggle for power between various clans and groupings begins. “For example, this is expressed in the fact that not those who should have come under the Constitution come to power. Inter-clan showdowns go on until the death of the ruler is officially announced …
In the case of Azerba-ijan, there was a slightly different story. Long before his death, Heydar Aliyev began to prepare his son for the presidency, but after his father’s death, Ilham apparently took some time to get used to his new position, ” said senior researcher at the Sector for the History of Political Philosophy at the Institute of Philosophy of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
Letnyakov argues that personalist regimes are entirely tied to their leaders, who block any talk about a successor, and this issue is constantly postponed. “If Niyazov died a relatively young politician, then Karimov, even at the age of 78, could not leave an heir. And it was dangerous for their environment to show some kind of excessive zeal or ambition, so as not to be in disgrace, – says the political scientist. – When the ruler dies or is incapacitated, they, on the contrary, are activated. At the same time, the death of the president, as a rule, triggers the redistribution of property, so the struggle is not only for power. “
Letnyakov believes that Nursultan Nazarbayev decided to venture into the transit of power in Kazakhstan just after he looked at the fate of the family of Islam Karimov. “Perhaps he didn’t want the same fate for his children, so he decided to play it safe and control the transit of power, ” the political scientist told MK.
“I was dead and resurrected”
The death of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez on March 5, 2013 was overgrown with rumors from the very beginning. First, after the version was expressed that the cancer that killed him was the result of an imperialist conspiracy. And then the former security guard of the leader of the Bolivarian Republic who escaped from the country said that in fact Chavez died in December 2012, but the authorities allegedly kept silent about his death for more than two months for political purposes. The same controversial version was supported by the former Attorney General Luisa Ortega Diaz.
In March last year, it became known about the death of the President of Tanzania, John Magufuli. The government said that the cause of his death was a long-term illness of the cardiovascular system. But even before the official announcement of the death of the head of the East African state, there was talk in the country that Magufuli, who disappeared from the public view, fell ill with a coronavirus, and if he had not already died, then he was dying either in Kenya or in India. …
Some oppositionists directly expressed their views that the president, who had actually left for treatment abroad for COVID-19, had allegedly left this world. Only a week after such rumors appeared, the authorities announced the death of the president.
In parting with him, several dozen people died as a result of the collapse of the wall, along which the mourners climbed in the hope of breaking through to the body of the deceased.
In May 2010, the press service of the President of Nigeria, Umaru Yar-Adua, announced the death of the head of state. Meanwhile, rumors about his death had been circulating for quite a long time – in November 2009, the “saga of the missing president” began. Then he was last seen in public.
Rumors of various ailments (heart disease known as pericarditis, as well as kidney problems) of the president are backed up by his constant travel abroad for treatment and the apparent external wilting of his body. Many in Nigeria seriously believed that Umaru Yar’Adua had died for several months, but the authorities are silent about this. Moreover, the acting was appointed. Head of State Goodluck Jonathan.
After receiving medical treatment abroad, the president returned to the country, but, according to rumors, he was on a life support apparatus. The announcement of his death put an end to talk about whether Umaru Yar-Adua is alive or not. But this story got a kind of continuation in the case of another president of this African country.
In 2017, rumors began to circulate in Nigeria about the death of President Muhammad Bukhari against the background of the fact that the head of state had looked sick for several months and had taken a long sick leave in London, and then left for Britain again, transferring his powers to the vice-president in accordance with constitution.
Despite attempts by the authorities to dispel gossip about the death of President Bukhari, rumors of his death continued to circulate, replete with a bunch of details. It was reported, in particular, that the very next day the body of the deceased would be delivered to the capital of Nigeria. It was alleged that the president died in London, where he received medical attention, and that Vice President Yemi Osi-nbajo would be sworn in as head of the Federal Repu-blic of Nigeria. Subsequ-ently, there were even claims that Muhammadu Bukhari was allegedly replaced by a “clone” – a double from Sudan.
The rumors turned out to be unfounded – President Bukhari still heads the state, but it was the lack of transparent information about the leader’s health that contributed to the appearance of fake messages.
In 2018, rumors arose that the President of Gabon, Ali Bongo Ondimba, had died. This happened after he passed out at a conference in Saudi Arabia. Sources told the Western press that the Gabonese leader suffered a stroke, but the presidential administration did not provide any specific details about his condition, other than that he suffered from fatigue and “bleeding.” This only fueled talk of Bongo’s death. But after about six weeks, he appeared in the public eye – video footage captured how the president, dressed in a blue and white robe, talks with the King of Morocco, Mohammed VI.
More than once, speculation has arisen about the death of another African leader, President of Zimbabwe Robert Mugabe, who ruled for several decades. As soon as he disappeared for several days from the field of view of the media, there were immediately suggestions that the elderly politician had died. At the same time, even the details of his departure to another world were called. It was reported that Mugabe lies dying in a Singapore hospital, then it was claimed that (this was in 2016) that he died on a plane during a flight from Dubai. In the latter case, Robert Mugabe, who landed at the Harare airport, laughed at the distributors of fakes: “Yes, I was dead. It is true that I was dead. I was resurrected, as I always do when I return to my country. I’m real again. “
It all ended in a palace coup, during which Mugabe was removed from the presidency, and then left for treatment in Singapore, where he died at the age of 95.

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