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Azerbaijan: A Test Case for Democratic Solidarity

International Forum for Democratic Studies at the National Endowment for Democracy

Thursday, May 7, 2015 from 10:00 AM to 11:30 AM (EDT)

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The International Forum for Democratic Studies and the Eurasia Program

at The National Endowment for Democracy

cordially invite you to a presentation entitled

Azerbaijan: A Test Case for Democratic Solidarity


Emin Milli

Managing Director, Meydan TV

Kenan Aliyev

Director, RFE/RL’s Azerbaijani Service

Thomas de Waal

Senior Associate, Russia and Eurasia Program, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

moderated by

Miriam Lanskoy

Director of Russia and Eurasia Programs, National Endowment for Democracy

Thursday, May 7, 2015

10:00–11:30 a.m.

1025 F. Street, N.W., Suite 800, Washington, D.C. 20004
Telephone: 202-378-9675

Livestream of the event will be available here.

Twitter: Follow @ThinkDemocracy and use #NEDEvents to join the conversation.


All cameras and media must register with NED public affairs. Please email to register as a member of the press.


Azerbaijan has had a longstanding, dismal record on human rights but the dramatic crackdown over the last year has taken the government’s repression to a new level, decimating the country’s civil society and forcing dozens of organizations to close. Many of the country’s best-known human rights activists, lawyers, and journalists are now in jail. Because Azerbaijan remains a member of the Council of Europe and is an energy supplier for Europe, this unprecedented crackdown presents a particularly difficult challenge for international institutions that might otherwise hold the regime to account. At the same time, appeals from civil society organizations and prominent individuals to hold the government of Azerbaijan accountable are mounting. In April 2015, the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) downgraded Azerbaijan’s membership due to its deepening repression of NGOs. Under these circumstances, what can be done to support the significant number of political prisoners? How can civil society remain active despite deepening authoritarianism? In this panel discussion, Emin Milli, Kenan Aliyev, and Thomas de Waal will examine the domestic and international dimensions of this crackdown, as well as its broader implications for regional human rights standards.


Kenan Aliyev is the director of RFE/RL’s Azerbaijani Service. Prior to joining RFE/RL in 2004, Aliyev worked in Washington, DC as a broadcaster for Voice of America and was also a regular contributor for BBC World Service. Aliyev served as a Baku-based reporter for RFE/RL’s Russian Service and for the local Azadliq newspaper before he immigrated to the US in 1997.


Emin Milli is managing director of Meydan TV, one of few alternative and independent media platforms in Azerbaijan. Milli was politically persecuted and subsequently imprisoned in 2009 for two and a half years. In 2014 he was named as one of the “outstanding challengers from Central and Eastern Europe” in the project NewEurope 100 supported by Google and Financial Times.


Thomas de Waal is a senior associate in the Russia and Eurasia Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, specializing primarily in the South Caucasus region, as well as in the wider Black Sea region. De Waal is an acknowledged expert on the unresolved conflicts of the South Caucasus: Abkhazia, Nagorny Karabakh, and South Ossetia. His latest book is Great Catastrophe: Armenians and Turks in the Shadow of Genocide (Oxford University Press, 2015).

Have questions about Azerbaijan: A Test Case for Democratic Solidarity? Contact International Forum for Democratic Studies at the National Endowment for Democracy

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