X

Azerbaijani Interns Have Infiltrated Germany’s Parliament

August 2nd, 2021 16:43

US media report­ed last month that interns with ties to the regime of Azerbaijan’s Pres­i­dent Ilham Aliyev have been work­ing for years in the Ger­man par­lia­ment (Bun­destag). The arti­cle says that the net­work of Azer­bai­jani interns has helped con­sol­i­date Aliyev’s influ­ence abroad. Accord­ing to the VICE inves­ti­ga­tion:

June 8, 2020 In the Bun­destag, the Ger­man par­lia­ment, interns with ties to the regime of Azerbaijan’s Pres­i­dent Ilham Aliyev have been work­ing in the cen­tre of pow­er for years. They are employed by MPs, some of whom them­selves main­tain con­nec­tions with the coun­try in the South Cau­ca­sus. The sys­tem that under­pins these con­nec­tions is large and com­plex, with many play­ers: a renowned Berlin uni­ver­si­ty that receives hun­dreds of thou­sands of euros from Azer­bai­jan; mem­bers of almost all par­ties in the Ger­man par­lia­ment; and the embassies of two coun­tries.   They all help to ensure that interns with close ties to the Aliyev regime were employed in the heart of Ger­man democ­ra­cy. Aliyev leads an author­i­tar­i­an regime that mis­treats and impris­ons oppo­si­tion fig­ures and per­se­cutes jour­nal­ists. He has ruled for almost 20 years, and last year he waged a bloody war over the dis­put­ed region of Nagorno-Karabakh with Arme­nia. This net­work of Azer­bai­jani interns is spread across sev­er­al par­lia­men­tary groups. It helps Aliyev, who likes to appear in pub­lic dressed in cam­ou­flage and appoint­ed his wife as his deputy by decree a few years ago, con­sol­i­date his influ­ence abroad to the dis­ad­van­tage of the oppo­si­tion in Baku.   Interns in the Bun­destag are giv­en a pass that gives them access to most places: to the offices of mem­bers of par­lia­ment, com­mit­tees, and meet­ing rooms.

Read the rest here.

The VICE inves­ti­ga­tion also indi­cates that a for­mer Azer­bai­jani intern lat­er devel­oped an exten­sive busi­ness rela­tion­ship with Ger­man MP Stef­fen-Clau­dio Lemme, who in 2020 observed the par­lia­men­tary elec­tions in Baku on his own ini­tia­tive. Con­trary to state­ments by offi­cial OSCE elec­tion observers, Lemme claimed: “no vio­la­tions were recorded.”

In April, we report­ed on an Azer­bai­jani influ­ence cam­paign cen­tered on con­ser­v­a­tive Ger­man politi­cians: The coun­try had spent large sums of mon­ey attempt­ing to buy itself a bet­ter image in Ger­many through spon­sor­ing sport­ing events, the use of a small Ger­man tele­vi­sion sta­tion, as well the bribery of elect­ed officials.