The end of the XX century saw global processes that brought about the end of the “cold war” defined by bipolar ideological and military-political confrontation, the collapse of the Soviet Union, the disintegration of the socialist camp and the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact. These, in their turn, led to the fundamental transformation of the political climate and the establishment of a new global geopolitical situation.

These processes gave birth to the emergence of new sovereign states. The integration of the new sovereign states into the world community, their pursuance of own foreign policies that meet their national interests were accompanied by the formation of a new order of interstate relations worldwide.

The new world order, on the one hand, was characterized by the disappearance of the global confrontation and the international political détente, on the other hand, the emergence of several regional centers of strategic, political, economic and military importance where interests clash.

On 18 October 1991, the Supreme Soviet of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the nation located in a pivotal geostrategic region, adopted the Constitutional Act on State Independence. The newly-independent Azerbaijan has declared the building of a civil, democratic, law-governed state and civil society oriented to the market economy, cooperation with world states on mutual respect and benefits, the integration into the civilized world and the influential international organizations as the priority directions of Azerbaijan’s domestic and foreign policies.

The prompt and successive recognition of Azerbaijan’s sovereignty by the world states and the establishment of diplomatic relations have provided it with abundant opportunities for the systematic integration into the world community. Thus, the establishment of bilateral and multilateral political relations has paved the way for the development of economic and cultural relations; for its turn, the mutually beneficial economic cooperation adds utmost importance for deepening political relations and strengthening of mutual trust.

After restoring its state independence, except for world states, Azerbaijan has begun establishing relationship with universal and regional international organizations. Azerbaijan considered it necessary to take advantage of the role of the international organizations for the solution of a number of major problems it faced, first of all, the protection of the state independence, a peaceful liberation of Nagorno-Karabakh region and other occupied territories of the country from the Armenian invasion, the implementation of the market-oriented economic reforms and for closer involvement in the global integration processes. Azerbaijan became a member of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation in 1991 (formerly the Organization of Islamic Conference). In early 1992, Azerbaijan became a member of the OSCE and the UN and entered into close cooperation with the European Union, NATO and other organizations. In 2001, the country joined the Council of Europe.

Since the restoration of the state independence, Azerbaijan has simultaneously seen a period of development of the civil society institutions. Although the third sector representatives faced various difficulties of objective and subjective nature throughout their development, they have established themselves as fully-fledged actors in society. After a while, the civil society institutions have developed a potential to support wide-ranging state policies and measures.

The majority of the population of the newly-independent Azerbaijan, as was the case with the other post-Soviet republics, was born and formed under the former USSR and were aware of the Soviet totalitarian governance system. The post-Soviet population had huge faith in and hoped for the western democracy with the people of Azerbaijan being in the lead to this end.

The people of Azerbaijan had high hopes for the western democracy, for the integration into Europe’s democratic institutions and for the impartiality of the European organizations. We naively trusted in European organizations to become Azerbaijan’s partners in building a democratic, law-governed state and civil society on mutually advantageous grounds. On many occasions, the trust of our society was euphoric and was accompanied by sentimental feelings. As a whole, the trust in the European democracy was unlimited in Azerbaijani society.

However, the first two decades of the XXI century put an end to this euphoria. Azerbaijan was subjected to double standards, deliberate, groundless actions and discrimination at European institutions. At European organizations, in which we once had unlimited trust, a dirty “democracy” game in the truest sense of the word was being played out against Azerbaijan.

I was one of the participants in those events, and as an active actor of some of them, I came under groundless accusations. Sometimes, what happened made me happy, sometimes I was disappointed, and on several occasions, I was horrified by injustices. In my opinion, the wider public should know the exact nature of those events. Therefore, in view of this and the need to keep our readers in the loop, I tried to systemize developments that had happened at European institutions of which Azerbaijan is a member.