Jumping the shark in Azerbaijan
Speaking of excess (below), Trump may be synonymous with over-the-top urban design and popular-culture excess, but he’s small fry compared to Ibrahim Ibrahimov, the guy who’s jumping the shark in Azerbaijan:
The New York Times has a profile of him and his dream, Khazar Islands:
The result will be a sprawling, lobster-shaped development called Khazar Islands — an archipelago of 55 artificial islands in the Caspian Sea with thousands of apartments, at least eight hotels, a Formula One racetrack, a yacht club, an airport and the tallest building on earth, Azerbaijan Tower, which will rise 3,445 feet.
All based on oil and gas, of course – and oligarchy capitalism:
If the proposed Nabucco pipeline, running from Turkey to Austria, is built, Azerbaijan would become a conduit for gas reserves, linking Central Asia to Europe. … It could also generate billions of dollars every year for Azerbaijan, which between 2006 and 2008 had the world’s fastest-growing economy, at an average pace of 28 percent annually. …
Ibrahimov said what oligarchs have been saying since Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the Russian industrialist, was exiled to Siberia in 2003: “I don’t know anything about politics.” But “biznessmen” are much more intimately woven into the political fabric of Russia or Azerbaijan than C.E.O.’s in the West. They may wear crocodile-skin shoes, but they rely on the state for pipelines and extraction rights.
What hurts is that it’s so damn ostentatiously ugly.