Obama look-alike in Azerbaijan becomes celebrity

March 14th, 2009 - 3:14 pm ICT by IANS  

Moscow, March 14 (RIA Novosti) Asif Mustafayev, an artist in northwestern Azerbaijan, has become a celebrity in the ex-Soviet Caucasus state for bearing a striking resemblance to US President Barack Obama.
The 31-year-old with tanned skin and curly hair is called “our Obama” by his fellow villagers, who often drop into his place with their guests to show off the local look-alike of the world’s No.1 leader, Russian daily Vremya Novostei has reported.

Mustafayev earns his living by painting advertising hoardings, decorating schools and sprucing up the tourist centres that abound in the picturesque mountainous area, but has now often to leave his workshop to pose for a picture with fellow villagers and visitors, the paper said.

He does not seem to mind his neighbours’ frequent intrusions and invitations like “Hey, Obama, let’s have tea and a heart-to-heart chat”. Asif enjoys his new popularity and has even changed his artist’s smock for a decent suit, the paper said.

He has grown more interested in politics since his resemblance with Obama was noticed by village elders, who keep up to date with world news, the paper reported.

In an interview with an Azerbaijani television channel, Asif said he dreamt of meeting Obama one day to tell him about Azerbaijan and his view of its dispute with Armenia over Nagorny Karabakh.

Mustafayev’s village is in the Gabala region, which hosts a Russian anti-missile radar monitoring the Middle East. The radar could become a point of contention between Moscow and Washington as Russia’s lease agreement expires in 2012.

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