Leonid Slutsky

Russian politician. The deputy of the State Duma of the third (1999-2003), the fourth (2003-2007), the fifth (2007-2011) and the sixth convocation (2011-2016), a member of the LDPR faction.

Leonid Slutsky: “I was, I am and remain a friend of the Azerbaijani people. I have many decades of close relations with many Azerbaijani politicians and cultural figures.” Source: azertag.az

Leonid Slutsky: “For me, it is of great importance that I am making my first foreign visit as chairman of the international affairs of the State Duma to Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan has always been and will be an important strategic partner for Russia in all areas. This strategic partnership is strengthened from year to year. In recent years, under your wise leadership, the economy of your country has turned into one of the most developed economies on a scale larger than the CIS space.”Source: vakmos.org

Leonid Slutsky: “For the first time in our common history with Azerbaijan, we can state that flawless, impeccable elections to the Milli Majlis of the fifth convocation took place, because the violations and roughnesses were negligibly small compared with the enormous work done by the CEC with precinct election commissions for Consideration of those opinions that were expressed (by observers) several years ago during the last presidential and parliamentary elections. “Source:  ria.ru



Heydar Aliyev would be proud of his granddaughter Leyla

The head of the Duma Committee on CIS Affairs, Eurasian Integration and Ties with Compatriots, Leonid Slutsky, reminded that “Azerbaijan, over more than 20 years of our common modern history, walked a very difficult path. The founder of today’s modern Azerbaijani state, the great Heydar Aliyev, said that Azerbaijan and Russia should always be together. Azerbaijan coped with the hardest tasks, though many people in the former Soviet Union and in the world thought that Azerbaijan would not be able to cope with them. This is a program in the fight against poverty, which was founded on the heritage of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, because more than a million internally displaced persons appeared in the country. And the fact that Azerbaijan became an energy-independent state, and much more. All of this determined the look of today’s Azerbaijan as one of the most prosperous countries and prosperous economies far beyond the borders of former Soviet Union – announced State Duma Deputy Leonid Slutsky at the opening of the VI Forum of the Azerbaijani Youth Association of Russia (AMOR) “AMOR: for the sake of a decent future for young people”.

Speaking about the activities of AMOR, L. Slutsky mentioned that no nation, no country in the post-Soviet space has such a powerful and stable youth association in Russia. “I am a believer and it seems to me that today looking from heaven to his granddaughter, who confidently leads along the way of integration of thousands of young Azerbaijanis, Heydar Aliyevich is proud of Leila Khanum. AMOR activities are truly versatile and very effective: education, sport, health, a number of humanitarian projects which are significant far beyond the Azerbaijani community, significant for the whole of Russia. We are proud that we are related to the support of young people, Azerbaijanis, who are so active in today’s Russia, they carry out such large-scale humanitarian projects. And this is only the beginning. Our countries are young democracies, but our countries have already gone through a number of very serious challenges, including in our bilateral relations, and proved to ourselves and to the world that Russia and Azerbaijan will always and forever be together.” Source: haqqin.az

Journal of Democracy: Total electoral fraud in Azerbaijan reveals broken system of international election observation

Andreas Gross, a Swiss Social Democrat, having headed the election observation mission in Azerbaijan in November 2000, had no illusions about the quality of Azerbaijani democracy. He said that, after having observed thirteen elections in seven countries, it was the worst election fraud he saw, Gerald Knaus writes on Journal of Democracy website.

Yet Gross voted for Azerbaijan’s membership, convinced that shortcomings would best be corrected after accession, through pressure and support inside the organization. In 2001, Gross became a monitoring rapporteur for Azerbaijan. Already in January 2002, he warned Baku that if member states “do not follow the commitments and values, their membership in the Council is always at stake.” When, after the 2003 elections, hundreds of election officials and opposition supporters were arrested, PACE condemned the “excessive use of force” and warned that, absent progress, it might rethink Azerbaijan’s membership, Knaus writes.

The June 2005 parliamentary elections then turned out to be as bad as any. Gross felt that something had to be done. In January 2006, he and other parliamentarians launched a challenge to the credentials of the newly elected Azerbaijani delegation. However, in the Aliyev regime’s corner stood colorful supporters such as Leonid Slutsky, a Russian friend of Ilham Aliyev who condemned the very idea of sanctions. There was also Michael Hancock, a British Liberal Democrat, who argued that they were pointless given the longue durée of slow democratic evolution. And there was Robert Walter, a British Conservative. In the end, sanctions were rejected by 100 votes to 67. Gross’s idea that the Council of Europe could transform Azerbaijan had been defeated, according to Knaus.

As Azerbaijani sources told the European Stability Initiative in 2011, their government put ever more resources into an influence-building policy that its own officials called “caviar diplomacy.” During visits to Baku, deputies are given many expensive gifts, mostly expensive silk carpets, gold and silver items, drinks, caviar and money many other things. Many deputies are regularly invited to Azerbaijan and generously paid. In a normal year, at least 30 to 40 would be invited, some of them repeatedly. People are invited to conferences, events, sometimes for summer vacations, according to the article.

Behind caviar diplomacy’s success lay careful study of how decisions are made in Council of Europe institutions. Azerbaijan and its allies worked to secure posts within key forums. From these perches they could stop majorities from forming to back any decisions critical of Azerbaijan. Insiders in Strasbourg began to refer to a “dark coalition.” This informal coalition supported friends of the regime who were standing for key positions, as Knaus’s article reads.

The article further reads that in early 2011, the deputy head of the PACE election-monitoring mission, Polish ex-communist Tadeusz Iwiñski, told the assembly that the November 2010 parliamentary elections had been free and fair. His only complaint involved the long-term observers from the OSCE’s Office of Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) and their finding that Azerbaijan lacked the conditions “necessary for a meaningful democratic election.” In 2013, the British Conservative MP Robert Walter, leader of the PACE short-term election monitors, praised the country’s “free, fair and transparent” presidential election. By contrast, ODIHR, which had deployed a team of experts and long-term observers, saw overwhelming evidence of systemic fraud, with the counting process in 58 percent of observed polling stations assessed as bad or very bad.

The Azerbaijani elections of 2010 and 2013 reveal a broken system of international election observation. The problem is not just that electoral fraud has become routine, but that some of the very European institutions charged with safeguarding democracy appear determined to turn a blind eye to it. It is disturbing that none of this has triggered a serious investigation into how such a state of affairs has come about, Knaus stresses. On 9 October 2013 presidential elections took place in Azerbaijan in which the incumbent president Ilham Aliyev won the elections with almost 85% of the vote, thereby taking the post for the third time. The head of National Council of Democratic Forces Jamil Hasanli was second after Aliyev with 5.5% of vote. The opposition declared that it wouldn’t accept the election results because the elections were totally violated by ballot-box staffing, “carousel” etc. OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, U.S Department of State, The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Britain and European Parliament called the elections undemocratic and inconsistent with OSCE standards.

Source: http://www.journalofdemocracy.org/