1 March 2017

AfD and FPÖ politicans observe the illegitimate referendum in Nagorno-Karabakh

On 20 February 2017, the de-facto authorities of the unrecognised state of Nagorno-Karabakh held a "constitutional referendum". It was observed by a number of fake electoral monitors including several European far right politicians.

Nagorno-Karabakh is the territory populated largely by ethnic Armenians and is disputed by Azerbaijan and Armenia, but is internationally recognised as part of Azerbaijan. Moscow is formally not taking sides in this conflict and has not recognised the legitimacy of the "constitutional referendum". And yet the Kremlin is interested in maintaining the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh and is eagerly selling heavy weaponry to both countries. Instability and enmity between Russia's neighbours helps Moscow keep them in its sphere of influence.

Thus, it was hardly a surprise to see in Nagorno-Karabakh "electoral monitors", in particular, from the far right Alternative für Deutschland (Alternative for Germany) and Freiheitliche Partei Österreichs (Freedom Party of Austria, FPÖ), which had already worked for various Russian structures promoting Moscow's foreign policy interests through biased "electoral observation". They were accompanied by Manuel Ochsenreiter, the editor of the far-right German magazine Zuerst! who had been engaged in pro-Moscow activities for several years already.

(left to right) Enrico Komning (AfD), Thomas Rudy (AfD), Holger Arppe (AfD), Manuel Ochsenreiter (Zuerst!). Nagorno-Karabakh, February 2017
(left to right) Holger Arppe (AfD), Wolfgang Jung (FPÖ). Nagorno-Karabakh, February 2017
(left to right) Enrico Komning (AfD), Gerhard Dörfler (FPÖ). Nagorno-Karabakh, February 2017

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