4 June 2013
Berlin ESI at the German Bundestag: European values, repression, and authoritarian rule. Why Azerbaijan matters
Emin Milli and Gerald Knaus. Photo: ESI
Emin Milli and Gerald Knaus. Photo: ESI

In recent years the Caucasian republic of Azerbaijan, independent since 1991, has experienced rapid economic change. While oil and gas revenues are skyrocketing, the regime of Ilham Aliyev consolidated its authoritarian grip on Azeri society. Opposition activists are arrested and put to trial on trumped up charges. Once again – as in the time of Vaclav Havel and Adam Michnik – there are political prisoners and dissidents in Europe. Even though Azerbaijan has been a member of the Council of Europe since 2001 and ratified the European Convention on Human Rights, it tries to silence all criticism, also in the Council of Europe, through its "caviar diplomacy" (see ESI report: Caviar Diplomacy. How Azerbaijan silenced the Council of Europe, 2012).

At a "parliamentary evening" at the German Bundestag in Berlin, ESI's Gerald Knaus and Emin Milli, a blogger and dissident from Azerbaijan, discussed what can be done to defend the values of the Council of Europe.

Emin Milli and Gerald Knaus. Photo: ESI
Emin Milli and Gerald Knaus. Photo: ESI
Gerald Knaus and Christoph Strässer, the former PACE rapporteur for Azerbaijan. Photo: ESI
Gerald Knaus and Christoph Strässer, the former PACE rapporteur for Azerbaijan. Photo: ESI
About us
Photo credits
Alan Grant is an Irish photographer who travelled extensively in the Balkans and other countries and regions of the world. Thanks to him, ESI is able to show fascinating pictures of the Balkans: the facades of Tirana, the painted mosques of Travnik, the fabulous old houses of Plovdiv and the spectacular blue of water - dark in the Bay of Kotor, emerald in the river valleys of Bosnia, deep blue in Ohrid, twinkling in the Aegean Sea and on the Bosporus.

You can find out more about Alan Grant on his websites:
Jonathan Lewis lives between London and Istanbul. He moved to London and spent many years studying photography and now specialises in photojournalism, documentary photography and commercial work for a wide variety of private and commercial clients in the UK, Europe and Turkey. His work has appeared in a number of magazines and publications and is used on the ESI website as well.

You can find out more about Jonathan Lewis on his website www.jonathanlewisphoto.com