Happy 2015 by a persona non grata

I want to tell  that I have discovered (again) my name on a list of personae non gratae – unwanted persons for entry in the state territory – in Azerbaijan:


My „crime“ consisted in 2013 in being embedded, as Chief Editor of „European Union Foreign Affairs Journal“ (EUFAJ), into a delegation of presidential election observers in Nagorno Karabakh, composed by EuFoA (European Friends of Armenia), a Brussels-based office which works for closer contacts between the peoples of the EU and Armenia. I am not a member of EuFoA, but always open for talks, contacts and other journalistic démarches towards everybody. I had also published in EUFAJ several articles by Azerbaijani authors, which were directly working for the government there or glorified the present government – I never had a problem with this, as my whole work is in favour of press freedom and free expression of opinions, also within a paper which is e.g. led by myself.

However, for being kept on this list which is often called a „list of shame“ for the Baku government, I am very grateful. It will give me the possibility, if asked (or not), to mention the persecution of journalists, bloggers, critical civil society representatives, to mention the fact that Azerbaijan is at present probably the European champion in corruption and in manipulative diplomacy („caviar diplomacy“). After all, it is a honour for me to be included on this list – I am in very nice company, with e.g. the former EU Special Representative for the South Caucasus, with many distinguished scientists and members of different parliaments – and with Montserrat Caballé, the Spanish singer.

Rests only to state that the Azerbaijani personnel files need an urgent update. What I have been attributed, to be a „German Member of European Parliament“, was finished in my first youth on 31th July, 1989. It is recommended therefore to every person likely to come „on the list“ to travel with topical bio notes, to help the helpless Azerbaijani authorities.

If one knows that e.g. the former Council of Europe rapporteur on Azerbaijan, Mr. Strässer M.P./Germany, has been barred to enter the country because he was a rapporteur (now he is charged with Human Rights for the German Federal Government), I cannot feel bad but feel a great honour to be included on this list. Unfortunately, I cannot travel now to Azerbaijan any more, but this won’t prevent me to publish remarks at every possibility and where it is appropriate on the Human Rights‘ situation in the country, and about the „specificities“ of the reign of Mr. Ilham Aliev (whom I cannot address as „Mr. President“ as he had faked all the election results in the past).If this is too „subjective“ for the Azerbaijani authorities, they always can invite me, but please do not forget then to change the list before.

All the best for a happy 2015,


Hans-Jürgen Zahorka, LIBERTAS – Europaeisches Institut GmbH

Chief Editor, European Union Foreign Affairs Journal (EUFAJ)

www.libertas-institut.eu, EUFAJ: www.eufaj.eu

Facebook: European Union Foreign Affairs Journal


Did ESISC Become the Victim of Azerbaijan’s „Caviar Diplomacy“ – Or Is It Just A Normal Lobbying Job?

By Hans-Jürgen Zahorka
Chief Editor, European Union Foreign Affairs Journal

The „European Strategic Intelligence and Security Center“ has published under the date of 9.9.2013 a paper: ANALYSIS – THE REPUBLIC OF AZERBAIJAN: A MODEL OF GOOD GOVERNANCE, written by William Racimora, „Vice-CEO“ of the ESISC in Brussels. This organisation offers also lobbying services. On its homepage (http://www.esisc.org) it writes: „In recent years, Brussels has become one of the centers of the world. More than 80% of national legislatures of the member-states of the European Union have their origins here…“. What??? Already this shows a deep basic knowledge of European politics and history… What about the remaining 20% – where is their origin? 🙂 It continues after various other phrases: „… we established a branch specifically dedicated to lobbying. We are able to defend the complex or delicate operations of states or companies through our modern and effective lobbying practice. Our lobbying goes beyond just the structures of the European Union (the Commission, the Parliament, and the Council), as we regularly interact with the Council of Europe, various member-states (at the government-level or at the level of elected assemblies), the United States, the U.N., and various Arab, African or Asian states. Our lobbying operations can defend an industrial portfolio, the economic opening of a new market, or the political interests of a state.“

Nothing against lobbying, Mr. Vice-CEO, and when this lobbying as you try it turns out what is in your text under
http://www.esisc.org/upload/publications/analyses/the-republic-of-azerbaijan-a-model-of-good-governance/Analysis%20-%20The%20Republic%20of%20Azerbaijan%20A%20model%20of%20good%20governance.pdf, then you do not need to declare this as a lobbying text. Because this your text is so uncritical to those who must have paid you, so unilateral good, not at all trying to deal with negative aspects, so beaming in a „well-informed“ way of an authoritarian developing country in the 1970s, that you must be a „victim“ of the „Caviar Diplomacy“ of the Azerbaijani regime. No word about the fact that the country is among the top of the pops in corruption (where it would have been good to declare that the next president wants to try to wipe it out, of course), no word about the „extremely good“ relations to the Council of Europe legal conventions (as seen in the Ramilov case), no word about the many young and gifted people thrown in prison for critical journalism or blogging, nothing about the resolution of the European Parliament and the report of the Council of Europe, both on the state of democracry and human rights, nothing about its proven reputation as author of „Caviar Diplomacy“, nothing about human rights offences when distributing places in boards of civil society associations, nothing about the not too soft way of tearing down houses in the heart of Baku, nothing about beating up journalists and opposition people, nothing about prohibiting other opposition candidates, nothing about the contested practices of SOCAR (the state petrol Company) which are said to be partly in the pockets of some „oiligarchs“, and so on … In the eyes of ESISC the country is just a „model of good governance“. This is so funny what the Vice-CEO writes that you will have big difficulties to be taken serious in the future, and maybe a crash course in human rights and democracy, or in effective lobbying, should be suffered? Everything what you wrote, write and will write has either to be set aside immediately or very critically examined. This is an excellent example how an organisation, who is evidently paid (for nobody in Europe who wants to be taken serious can write such a nonsense without being paid for this) to publish this a couple of weeks before the elections, can become deploringly someone whom nobody believes anymore. We know that it is Azerbaijan’s way to work with 100% of laus tibi only – which is remarkably unprofessional, by the way. For the Azerbaijan regime, and for the lobbying company.

So everyone in the EU working for good governance should read this paper to learn about the standards of Azerbaijan…, on a Website in which no imprint, no legal form of the ESISC has been found, just a link to „Brussels Invest & Export“, the foreign trade and investments agency of the Brussels – Capital Region who evidently helped with the Website or with General funding. Maybe this is one of the examples of „good governance“.