Forbidden City of Oil Platforms: The Rise and Fall of Stalin's Atlantis

Forbidden City of Oil Platforms: The Rise and Fall of Stalin's Atlantis

SPIEGEL ONLINE - November 14, 2012

In the 1950s, Soviet engineers built a massive city in the Caspian Sea off the coast of Azerbaijan. It was a network of oil platforms linked by hundreds of kilometers of roads and housing 5,000 workers, with a cinema, a park and apartment blocks. Gradually disintegrating but still closely guarded, this astonishing place inspired a fiery scene in a James Bond movie. By Arno Frank more... Comment ]

Superficial Song Contest: Baku Opts for a Party over Politics

Superficial Song Contest: Baku Opts for a Party over Politics

SPIEGEL ONLINE - May 28, 2012

Azerbaijan's pledges to respect human rights ahead of the Eurovision Song Contest turned out to be largely superficial, despite widespread international criticism. But organizers also failed to ensure that their democratic values were upheld, avoiding conflict for the sake of a good party. By Stefan Niggemeier more...

Intolerant Eurovision Host: Gays Face Rampant Homophobia in Azerbaijan

Intolerant Eurovision Host: Gays Face Rampant Homophobia in Azerbaijan

SPIEGEL ONLINE - May 25, 2012

The Eurovision Song Contest has a massive gay following. But homophobia is rife in this year's host country, Azerbaijan, where gays and lesbians have to keep a low profile and fear violent attacks. Even so, locals say that gay Eurovision fans traveling to Baku needn't fear for their safety -- because the regime doesn't want any trouble. By Annette Langer in Baku more... Comment ]

Diplomatic Dissonance: Tehran Protests Eurovision 'Gay Parade' in Baku

Diplomatic Dissonance: Tehran Protests Eurovision 'Gay Parade' in Baku

SPIEGEL ONLINE - May 23, 2012

Preparations for the first semi-final of the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest on Tuesday were overshadowed by a diplomatic row between host country Azerbaijan and its neighbor Iran. The latter recalled its ambassador over accusations that Baku was planning an accompanying "gay parade." more...

Azerbaijan's Eurovision Hopeful: Singer Sees Contest as Chance To 'Open Our Hearts to Europe'

Azerbaijan's Eurovision Hopeful: Singer Sees Contest as Chance To 'Open Our Hearts to Europe'

SPIEGEL ONLINE - May 22, 2012

Azerbaijan's Eurovision hopeful believes the world's largest non-sports TV event is an opportunity to "open our hearts to Europe." But Sabina Babayeva seems baffled by the idea that some Europeans believe that they should neither visit nor support a country with an oppressive regime like that of the Aliyevs in Baku. By Annette Langer more... Comment ]

'I Don't Believe EBU's Image Will Be Damaged': Eurovision Organizer Defends Azerbaijan Song Contest

'I Don't Believe EBU's Image Will Be Damaged': Eurovision Organizer Defends Azerbaijan Song Contest

SPIEGEL ONLINE - May 10, 2012

Ingrid Deltenre heads the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), which organizes the Eurovision Song Contest being held in Azerbaijan, a country widely criticized for human rights violations, at the end of May. In a SPEIGEL interview she defends the choice of the controversial location and warns that politicizing the contest could kill it. more...

Eurovision Discord: Azerbaijan Accuses Germany of Smear Campaign

Eurovision Discord: Azerbaijan Accuses Germany of Smear Campaign

SPIEGEL ONLINE - May 02, 2012

German television stations and newspapers have been reporting extensively on human rights abuses in Azerbaijan ahead of the Eurovision Song Contest there. Now Baku has accused "certain circles" in Germany of orchestrating a media campaign of slander and deceit against the country. more... Comment ]

Azerbaijan and Eurovision: German Government Report Slams 'State Repression'

Azerbaijan and Eurovision: German Government Report Slams 'State Repression'

SPIEGEL ONLINE - May 02, 2012

On the eve of the Eurovision Song Contest, scrutiny of host Azerbaijan is increasing, particularly the country's human rights record. A confidential German Foreign Ministry report, which SPIEGEL has seen, criticizes "state repression" in the country. By Walter Mayr more... Comment ]

Anguish in Azerbaijan: Residents Forcibly Cleared to Make Way for Modernity

Anguish in Azerbaijan: Residents Forcibly Cleared to Make Way for Modernity

SPIEGEL ONLINE - April 06, 2012

Baku, set to host the Eurovision Song Contest in just over a month, is rapidly trying to become a modern city. To do so, it is forcibly removing residents from their homes to make way for slick new skyscrapers and other development projects. Those who try to stay bear the brunt of the government's wrath. By Annette Langer  in Baku, Azerbaijan more...

Big Brother in Baku: Azerbaijan Flouts Free Press on Eve of Eurovision

Big Brother in Baku: Azerbaijan Flouts Free Press on Eve of Eurovision

SPIEGEL ONLINE - April 02, 2012

They are frequently harassed, sometimes beaten and even filmed while having sex: The risks to journalists in Azerbaijan are many. Ahead of the Eurovision Song Contest, the authoritarian government in Baku has shown no signs of relenting. The country's opposition says foreign journalists should beware. By Annette Langer  in Baku, Azerbaijan more... Comment ]