Who is behind attacks against Azerbaijani president - UNEXPECTEDLY

Mon 25 September 2017 06:51 GMT | 10:51 Local Time

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This September has again become a trial for prospects of relations between Azerbaijan and the West.

Immediately after its publication, the notorious ‘The Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project’ (OCCRP) started to spread rapidly through international media, and official Baku faced serious accusations.

Azerbaijani authorities did not leave those accusations unanswered, claiming it was yet another provocation backed by billionaire George Soros, the sadly famous anti-Azerbaijani network and Armenians. 

However, many experts believe that the roots of the matter go deeper and it is wrong to link it only to George Soros’ attitude to Azerbaijan or to Armenians. It would be enough to consider the logical consequence and interconnection of events and facts. 

As is known, the US-Azerbaijani relations seriously worsened  in period of Barack Obama’s presidency. It is already not discussed that the Washington-led campaign against official Baku was directed by US Deputy Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, then regular critics David Kramer and Richard Kauzlarich, in Europe such figures as the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Niels Muižnieks, and the lower ranks occupied by Rebecca Vincent and other "amateurs of the Nationalizationists". If we add a broad network of media and NGOs, it would be easy to imagine the scale and strength of the influence of black PR campaign against Azerbaijan.

After Donald Trump’s election a US president in 2016, hopes grew for profound changes in Washington’s traditional policy, including its attitude to Azerbaijan. However, this issue was complicated by attacks and accusations against the current US president, which continue nowadays. It is possible to come to a conclusion that neither the White House nor the State Department are behind the new campaign unleashed against Azerbaijan 

It is no secret that OCCRP is the US project. When the interests of certain US circles are held back in any country, special services use such notorious structures to spread disinformation. The interest of The Guardian, BBC, Le Monde and other similar media outlets in generalizing this material is clear since during the First European Games everyone saw as the wide international network of media and NGOs worked the same way against Azerbaijan. But why did the Russian international information agency ‘Russia today’ and Kommersant newspaper support that smeary campaign against their friendly country? If the matter was about Baku’s energy projects and its partners, the Italian campaign against TAP pipeline and the futile attempts of former comedy player Beppe Grillo could have been understood, since our northern neighbor has its interests in issues of energy supplies to Europe. But how logical is the participation of Russia, which is constantly accused of human rights violations, corruption and so on, in the anti-Azerbaijan campaign? In addition, earlier it was stated that a documentary material published in Bulgarian Trud newspaper about Azerbaijani airline’s involvement into the arms trade also appeared owing to the Russian special services. On the other hand, the anti-Azerbaijan attacks of European politicians who are in warm relations with Russia, particularly the European parliamentarians and PACE deputies, whose friendship with Moscow is not doubted, are not understandable. 

For example, PACE Secretary General Thorborn Jagland cricitizes Azerbaijan in almost each of  his statements. On September 13, he urged to apply an unseen legal action against Azerbaijan for the refusal to release head of REAL organization Ilgar Mammadov, who was acquitted by the European Court of Human Rights. It would mean article 46.4 of the European Court, which would ultimately lead to Azerbaijan’s expulsion from the Countil Europe. Before that, when the notorious OCCRP material was disseminated, and even earlier, Jagland had repeatedly criticized Azerbaijan for no ground. Meanwhile, when the matter came to Russia, Mr.Jagland urged to resolve the problem in conditions of mutual understanding and this position can cause nothing but bewilderment.

Elected as the Council of Europe Secretary General in 2009, Thorborn Jagland travelled to Russia almost every year. There is a sufficient number of online reports about his cordial meetings with the Russian leadership and public representatives in Moscow and St.Petersburg in 2013-2016. While the visit to Syria jointly with the Russian delegation and the meeting with President Bashar Asad cost so much to PACE chairman Pedro Agramunt that he was accused of cooperating with Russians, why no such accusations come for Jagland, who is consistently paying visits to Russia? Who can guarantee that Mr.Jagland does not work for Russians? As is known, in 2014, following the annexation of the Crimea and Sevastopol, PACE imposed sanction on Russia and this decision of the structure still remains in force. Let’s consider Mr.Jagland’s actions in this situation. 

During the visit to Moscow in December 2016, the Secretary General told President of Russia Vladimir Putin that cooperation between Russia and the Council of Europe did not suffer. The statement came at the time when the entire West rose against Russia and imposed sanctions against that country. Meanwhile, at the meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron in August 2017, Mr.Jagland says that he wishes to see Russia as a full-pledged member of the Council of Europe. He explains his opinion by saying it was not right to keep 140 million people outside the jurisdiction of the European Court of Human Rights. It turns out that Jagland wishes to return a full membership to the country which annexed the territory of the Council of Europe member-state and created hot points in its other areas, while trying to sanction Azerbaijan’s withdrawal from the Council of Europe and deprive 10 million people of the chance to defend their rights in the European court for only one man.

In addition, since the Russia-organized referendum in the Crimea in 2014 raised doubts, the initiatives were put forth to conduct the referendum again under the international control. Meanwhile, Jagland says that no one is ready to hold such a referendum. He recommends Ukraine to conduct internal reforms and be stronger in confrontation with Russia. Does it not represent an enterprising protection of Russia’s stance and commitment to it?

On January 19, 2017, Russia’s Constitutional Court authorized the government not to fulfill the YUKOS-related decision of the European Court of Human Rights. Under the law passed in 2015, the decision of Russia’s Constitutional Court is considered superior to the decisions of the international courts. Thus, Russia does not implement dozens of decisions passed the European Court of Human Rights, including the politically motivated decisions, and Mr.Jagland does not see it. All the same, the decision of this instance on REAL chairman Ilgar Mammadov caused the Secretary General to urge actions aimed at removing Azerbaijan from the Council of Europe. Is it not a manifestation of Jagland’s double standards and his commitment to Russia’s interests? 

The farther, the more. It is no secret that Russia banned the activity of foreign NGOs and expelled almost all western organizations from the country. Funding local NGOs from abroad is also outlawed. There are no independent NGOs, public organizations and political parties. The actions of the Russian authorities against disgraced blogger Navalny is a bright example of it. Is Mr.Jagland so much infatuated by Russia’s special attention that he does not want to see the obvious things?! Is it not an example of bias demonstrated by the Council of Europe Secretary General?

As for the recent events, the facts, developments and the areal of participants show that Russia has already established close connections with such organizations as OCCRP and is expanding its interests in this direction. In fact, it is necessary to take a deep study of the activity of Luc Volonte, Eduard Linther and others accused of lobbying Azerbaijan’s interests to figure out which country’s network they belong to and from where they are financed. This investigation can bring clarity to the broad connections of Russia, suspected even of involvement in election process overseas in the United States and in Europe. It is also necessary to clarify the leverages Moscow uses to bring Marine le Pen in France, Geert Wilders in Belgium, Norbert Hofer in Austria to power.

Thus, Azerbaijan will have at least a small opportunity to know its friends and enemies. 

As is seen, the new wave of attacks against Azerbaijan is controlled not only by the notorious network overseas. Russia is also directly involved in this process, while the closure of the All-Russian Azerbaijanis Congress, the ultimatums voiced by the Russian Foreign Ministry against Azerbaijan and the statements of Moscow-controlled western media, NGOs and experts against Baku show that this assumption is nowise unfounded.

Perhaps, the positions of anti-Trump and simultaneously anti-Azerbaijan network against Baku coincide with Msocow’s interests. Russia’s motives here are quite clear: to hinder implementation of Azerbaijan’s global energy projects, not to allow the signing of associative agreement between Azerbaijan and EU, to attract Baku to the Eurasian Union, Collective Security Treaty Organization and to fully include it into its orbit influence, and isolate it from the West.

It is however not clear how the anti-Trump network benefit from this? Does it gain only Armenian loyalty and friendship? No, there is no doubt that Azerbaijan, deprived of the chance to maneuver, will have to ensure the private interests of this network.

So, what does the West think about it?

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