This Baku building collapse is tragic -- seven dead are already reported and the toll may be up to 15. And officials are shocked! shocked! that building violations might have been the cause.
ANS television quoted a senior emergency ministry official, Kamil Bagirov, as saying that a preliminary investigation had found that violations of safety rules were behind the collapse.
Azerbaijani prosecutor general Zakir Garalov told reporters that he had "issued an order to initiate a criminal case over this incident based on violations of safety rules during construction of the building."
Anyone who acts surprised that such a thing could happen must have their head firmly stuck in their ass.
You couldn't pay me to live in one of those new high rises. I frequently complain about Turkish construction techniques (I have never seen a door hung properly nor a flush wall in this country), but everything is relative. I'd take Turkish over Azeri or Russian construction, though those old Stalin-era buildings seem pretty solid. What the hell is the point of having a dictator if not to enforce building standards?
Just after I made the comment that the only people who think there are laws to violate in Azerbaijan are those who haven't spent much time in Baku, I saw this comment left on the Global Voices link to this post.
Author : Jamil Barirov
How can it be no one knew about the construction of this building? How can you hide a 16 stories building in downtown Baku when you can't even make an international call from here anymore without having your conversation bugged?
The truth is that all new buildings have either official or unofficial approval through bribes and that for larger buildings like the one that collapsed these bribes take place at a ministerial level. Moreover most new large buildings projects are owned by people at a very high political level (such as ministers) but these people stay in the shadows while their stooges take the fall. The property marked is manipulated by these people so on average apartment of 1000 sqft typically cost US$ 150,000, while the average Azeri citizen typically earns US $ 200-300 per month. Not to worry though, financing is available at bargain prices for 15-20% interest rate per year! Baku is set up for a major catastrophe when the next earthquake hits as most of the new buildings will not be able to withstand even a minor tremor, and unfortunately the real culprits are not likely ever to be held accountable.
Spot on, my friend.