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Last Updated: Thursday, 16 October, 2003, 09:32 GMT 10:32 UK
Dynasties of the ex-USSR
One of the candidates in Azerbaijan's presidential election, Ilham Aliyev, has taken over the presidency from his father, the ailing Heydar Aliyev.

It is the first time that the rule of a post-Soviet state has passed from father to son - but some other countries in the region have also shown "dynastic" tendencies.

In many of them relatives of the president have amassed economic rather than political power, becoming some of the country's biggest businessmen and women.

Click on the map to see how power is used to reward family and friends:



In November 1999 a cement factory owner with no political experience was appointed prime minister - his only "qualification" was being the brother of Prime Minister Vazgen Sarkisian, who had just been shot dead in parliament.

In 2003 the son of another of those killed in the same massacre came second in presidential elections.


President Heydar Aliev anointed his son Ilham his "political successor" in early October. Voters have now fulfilled Aliyev senior's wishes by electing Aliyev junior president.


President Eduard Shevardnadze's nephews and a son-in-law are among the leaders of the country's biggest business clans. There has been speculation that his son Paata, a Unesco diplomat, could be in the running to succeed him when his term ends in 2005.


President Nursultan Nazarbayev's eldest daughter, Dariga, Kazakhstan's biggest media baron, is creating a new political party. Observers believe she is being groomed for the succession, though the 63-year-old president otherwise shows no sign of giving up the job he has held for 13 years.


President Askar Akayev married his eldest son, Aidar, to one of the Kazakh president's daughters five years ago, but they have since separated.

Aidar is now reported to be selling jet-fuel to the US airbase, but is overshadowed by his sister's husband, Adil Toigonbayev, whose empire includes vodka, sugar, cement, jet-fuel, TV and newspapers.


The son of President Vladimir Voronin, Oleg, is one of the country's most powerful business tycoons. The sons of two former presidents, Petru Lucinschi and Mircea Snegur, have also made use of their fathers' connections to get ahead in business.


Ex-president Boris Yeltsin relied on a group of advisers, including his daughter Tatiana Dyachenko, known as "the family". He chose a member of the group, Vladimir Putin, as his heir - he made him prime minister, and then retired, leaving him as acting president. In return, Mr Putin guaranteed his patron lifetime immunity from prosecution.


Saparmurat Niyazov is president for life, and does not appear to be planning his retirement. His son reportedly makes lots of money importing cigarettes and alcohol, and cutting deals with construction firms rebuilding the Turkmen capital, Ashkhabad.


President Leonid Kuchma's daughter Olena is married to one of the country's major oligarchs, Viktor Pinchuk, a steel and media magnate from Mr Kuchma's power base, Dnipropetrovsk.

Mr Pinchuk is a member of the Labour Ukraine party with close links to one of Mr Kuchma's possible successors, Serhiy Tyhypko, head of the national bank.


The daughter of President Islam Karimov, Gulnora, has built up a major business empire over the last two years. The president himself is reported to be unwell, and diplomats suggest that Ms Karimov may be manouevring to replace her father if he is forced to step down.

Azeri dynasty stays in power
16 Oct 03  |  Europe


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