The Armenian Assembly of America today announced a campaign to pressure lobbying and public relations firms to “reject blood money” from Azerbaijan, which is fighting Armenia over control of the disputed enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh. The group’s co-chairs, Anthony Barsamian and Van Krikorian, said they would be reaching to the firms as well as their other clients to urge them to take their business elsewhere.
“Instead of flacking for the Aliyev regime whose leader [President Ilham Aliyev] 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,” they said. The Armenian-American diaspora is estimated at between 500,000 and 1.5 million and is politically powerful on Capitol Hill.
Representing the government of Azerbaijan are BGR Public Affairs, public relations firm Stellar Jay and BGR subcontractor Baker Donelson. Former Rep. Bob Livingston (R-La.) terminated his Livingston Group‘s registration as a foreign agent of Azerbaijan last week, just three months after telling the US Justice Department that he was in the process of negotiating a contract with Baku, Foreign Lobby Report first reported Oct. 15. DLA Piper has also recently ended its work for Azerbaijan Railways CJSC (see new filings section below).
Already over the weekend, the Armenian diaspora bombarded the S-3 Group with more than a thousand emails with an identical message pressuring the Washington public affairs firm to stop representing a new client from Azerbaijan (Foreign Lobby Report was copied on the emails). The firm recently picked up a Baku-based company called Investment Corporation, LLC for $25,000 per month to “create and place earned and digital media to further diplomacy,” we first reported on Oct. 15. The diaspora letter, which you can read in its entirety here, describes S-3’s client as a “thinly veiled front for the Government of Azerbaijan through a proxy shell corporation.”
Per Foreign Lobby