London – Public ECFR-ESI event: Azerbaijan and the Council of Europe: who is transforming whom?

8 May 2012
Ilham and Haydar Aliyev. Photo:
Ilham and Haydar Aliyev. Photo:


Azerbaijan and the Council of Europe

Who is transforming whom?

Presentation of a new ESI report on Azerbaijan

8 May 2012, 9:00-10:30

ECFR London office
35 Old Queen Street,
London SW1H 9JA

"I do not care about the Council of Europe. I've already told them that if there will be sanctions we will withdraw. They know I'm not joking."

President Ilham Aliyev, June 2008


On the eve of Eurovision many Europeans have discovered this energy rich Caspian republic run for most of the past four decades by the same family, the Aliyevs,

Azerbaijan not only takes part in Eurovision, however. It is, since 2001, a member of the oldest Club of European democracies, the Council of Europe in Strassburg.

Instead of the Council of Europe transforming an autocratic regime, the Baku regime has instead transformed the Council of Europe as a result of sustained and determined political lobbying. Can democratic legitimacy be bought in Strassburg?  

Gerald Knaus, Founding Chairman of the European Stability Initiative (ESI), founding member of ECFR and Associate Fellow at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy, Harvard Kennedy School.

Emin Milli, a writer, blogger and dissident, a former political prisoner in Azerbaijan himself, who had worked for international organisations in Azerbaijan, advised the Council of Europe and was a political analyst for the OSCE/ODIHR Election Observation Mission in Azerbaijan.

Gerald Knaus Emin Milli
Gerald Knaus – Emin Milli

This event is chaired by Jana Kobzova, ECFR Policy Fellow

This event is jointly organized by the European Council on Foreign Relations, London,
and the European Stability Initiative, Berlin

To register, please write to:

ECFR website
ESI Report: Generation Facebook in Baku (2011)
ESI Website: Is Azerbaijan Still a Democracy? Does anybody care?
Update on Human Rights before Eurovision