Berlin – ESI at the Bundestag for film screening of “On the edge” about Azerbaijan’s caviar diplomacy

20 February 2024
Screenshot from documentary “Am Abgrund”
Screenshot from Documentary "Am Abgrund". Photo: ESI

At the invitation of the German delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council Europe (PACE), ESI’s Gerald Knaus took part in a panel discussion in the German Bundestag as part of the public premier of the film ‘Am Abgrund’ – ‘On the edge.’

The political thriller is inspired by the true story of Azerbaijani bribery and corruption in the Council of Europe, as told in ESI’s 2012 report ‘Caviar Diplomacy’. In the film, fictional parliamentarian Gerd Meineke travels to Baku as an election observer for the Council of Europe. Once in Baku, he realizes that the Azerbaijani government and corporate lobbyists are using politicians to gain legitimacy for their mining of high-value raw materials. In his fight to expose this corruption, he is joined by a young Azeri blogger, at great personal risk. According to the German newspaper of record Frankfurter Allgemeine, “director Daniel Harrich succeeds in telling the story” of Caviar Diplomacy “in an exciting, realistic way.”

The panel – which took place in front of a packed audience in the Bundestag – included director and producer Daniel Harrich and current German PACE delegation head Frank Schwabe, on whom the character Gerd Meineke is based. The panel discussed the Caviar Diplomacy case, with Gerald giving the audience a clearer understanding of ESI’s past and ongoing research into Azerbaijan, the Council of Europe and corruption.

Gerald at Am Abgrund Premier
Gerald at "Am Abgrund" premier. Photo: ESI
Audience at Am Abgrund Premier
Audience at "Am Abgrund" premier. Photo: ESI