WASHINGTON – The co-chairs of the Armenian Assembly of America call on Washington lobbying firms to reject business from Azerbaijan, a corrupt autocratic country led by President Aliyev, who inherited his presidency and has no regard for human rights.
“Instead of flacking for the Aliyev regime whose leader has promised to wipe out the Christian Armenians ‘like dogs,’ these firms need to stop taking blood money from Azerbaijan and Turkey if they have any conscience or sense of American patriotism,” said Board Co-Chairs Anthony Barsamian and Van Krikorian. “Accepting blood money to spread disinformation from the Aliyev and Erdogan regimes to members of Congress and the Trump Administration is immoral and indefensible. These tyrants in Baku and Ankara have imported avowed jihadist terrorists to show the world what attempted genocide looks like in 2020. No amount of K Street whitewashing is going to cover up their records in not only spreading but subsidizing international terrorism replete with more beheadings of Christians,” they added.
The firms and their other clients, whom we will be calling on to dissociate from the firms, should be ashamed. Azerbaijan’s armed forces have targeted schools, churches, hospitals, urban infrastructure, and residential areas of Artsakh with heavy artillery and sophisticated strike drones. Civilians are paying a steep price in lives.
As leaders, Erdogan and Aliyev stand alone in refusing to observe signed cease-fires, not even allowing the removal of Azerbaijani, Turkish and jihadist fighters dead on the battlefields. In view of these developments, lobbying firms that represent some of America’s leading corporations should not accept blood money from Baku.
News reports disclose that the Azerbaijani government alone admits retaining the services of some of the most influential lobbying firms in Washington, D.C. The lead firm, BGR Group, reported more than $500,000 in fees in 2019. Other firms listed in news stories include the Livingston Group headed by former House Appropriations Committee Chairman and Speaker-designate Robert Livingston, and Stellar Jay Communications. In addition, corporate interests such as BP plc, as well as and former officials and other Americans with undisclosed financial interests, actively carry Azerbaijan’s water in what is commonly referred to as the “Azerbaijan Laundromat.”
Human rights organizations and the US State Department regularly cite the Azerbaijani government for suppressing dissent, and jailing and torturing critics of the government. Reporters Without Borders ranks Azerbaijan 168th in press freedom out of 180 countries that it monitors.