29. April 2005

Realniy Azerbaijan,
quoted from "Deutsche Welle"

«… in Europe the respect to the word "revolution" has been lost»

Mr. Andreas Gross, the co-reporter of Council of Europe PACE Monitoring Committee in the interview he gave to Deutsche welle warned about precarious situation in Azerbaijan. Heading the delegation of Council of Europe to South Caucasus Mr. Andres Gross summed up the results of his visit to Azerbaijan.

Response: The main conclusion we have made from this visit is as follows: the situation in Azerbaijan causes very big anxiety. Azerbaijan society is like a rabbit that being frozen of a scare looks at the eyes of boa. The situation in country is extremely nervous and society is divided into two parts: those who expect the profits from upcoming elections and those who do not know what to do in order to avoid the awful events. For Azerbaijan the elections can turn into real disaster.

And how do you assess the preparations for elections in Azerbaijan?

There have not been created any important pre-conditions for holding of fair elections. There exist neither freedom of assembly nor freedom of expression. The key figures of opposition cannot submit their candidacy because they served a term in prison. There is no dialogue between government and opposition. On the other hand the biggest oil pipeline to Turkey will be opened this year and thus Azerbaijan, which is not poor country, will become richer but only 5-10 % of population will get the oil profits. Everybody, especially the President of State and governmental authorities, are responsible for results of elections but it seems nobody wants to undertake this responsibility.

What can Council of Europe do in this situation?

First of all, Council of Europe can illuminate the problems and openly formulate the issues, which are kept by everybody in themselves, and submit the proposals so that elections would correspond to democratic norms.

Is it possible that Azerbaijan will be a country where next revolution will take place?

You know this question is posed incorrectly. I have an impression that in Europe the respect to the word "revolution" has been lost. Revolution is the change of government but nobody calls it this way because in most cases such change of government is accompanied by violence and bloodshed. Today as if everybody had forgotten about this, thinking that the revolutions always take place bloodless. In Azerbaijan there are no pre-conditions for revolution. However, perhaps in this meaning there is no need for revolution. But the struggle against political elite, if it is compelled to protect itself, will cause not hundreds but thousands of causalities. This must not happen. And one should imagine that we are sitting in cinema and watching the people in different countries overthrowing the governments. I think that politicians and journalists have also, to some extent, lost the respect to politics and to what the politicians do.

Andreas Gross

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