ARD corruption thriller “Am Abgrund” by Daniel Harrich | EUROtoday

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GTwo actors often called “Tatort” detectives have referred to as on ARD and SWR to curiosity the viewers of their new joint manufacturing entitled “Am Abgrund”: Hans-Jochen Wagner, who investigates within the Black Forest as Inspector Friedemann Berg, and Axel Milberg , who hunts monsters in Kiel as Klaus Borowski. There can also be Heiner Lauterbach and different well-known forged members. The superstar appearing was in all probability additionally seen as needed as a result of the topic of this movie appears unattractive at first look: it's about Azerbaijan and the Council of Europe.

Michael Martens

Correspondent for Southeast European nations based mostly in Vienna.

So it's a couple of former Soviet republic within the Caucasus, which in all probability not many contemporaries may instantly discover on a world map, and a couple of political physique that’s typically confused with the European Council, i.e. the EU, even by these occupied with politics.

A European drama

But the director Daniel Harrich manages to inform the subject excitingly, realistically and with out grotesque exaggerations. Of course, he has to tighten up and simplify his materials, which is sadly based mostly on a real story, and has to omit and invent it with the intention to flip the difficult actuality right into a story that may be informed in a function movie size. But he succeeds. Even those that haven’t been capable of finding Azerbaijan on the map and have by no means been capable of distinguish the Council of Europe from the European Council will have the ability to instantly perceive this European drama and corruption and seduction that appears to be taking place within the distance and but leads proper to the center of our democracy additionally discover it thrilling.

The focus is on the fictional Bundestag member Gerd Meineke (performed by Hans-Jochen Wagner), who can also be a member of the Council of Europe. It was based in 1949 after the turning level of the Second World War with the intention to promote democracy, human rights and the rule of legislation amongst its member states. Meineke is a member of its parliamentary meeting. This is a physique to which the 46 member states of the Council of Europe ship representatives.

“This is our Council of Europe!”

But over time, Meineke discovers that this previous group is in no way completely venerable. Azerbaijan, a dictatorial regime led by its President Ilham Aliyev and made wealthy by way of oil and gasoline offers, has infiltrated the group. To his horror, Meineke realizes that German MPs have additionally succumbed to the lure of the inhumane clan in Baku. In return for beneficiant presents – cash, gold, prostitutes and different favors – they don’t vote within the Council of Europe in step with democracy and human rights, however somewhat serve the Azerbaijani rulers.

This is especially noticeable in a vote initiated by Meineke, which ought to have condemned Azerbaijan due to the numerous political prisoners there. But the decision is voted down by the regime's many royally bribed associates. “This is not your Council of Europe, this is our Council of Europe!” a consultant of the regime shouts scornfully to the politician, who’s shocked by his defeat within the vote, in a single scene.

Opponents: the entrepreneur Konrad Günther (Axel Milberg, left), the MP Gerd Meineke (Hans-Jochen Wagner) and the Azerbaijani representative Tofik Gasimov (Navid Negahban, middle).

Opponents: the entrepreneur Konrad Günther (Axel Milberg, left), the MP Gerd Meineke (Hans-Jochen Wagner) and the Azerbaijani consultant Tofik Gasimov (Navid Negahban, center).

Bild: SWR/ARD/diwafilm/Maria Wiesler

At some factors, viewers who’ve by no means heard of Azerbaijan's so-called caviar diplomacy might marvel in disbelief whether or not a lot chutzpah, a lot open corruption, a lot callous disregard for democracy is likely to be a bit exaggerated. This is comprehensible, however not justified: what’s proven on this documentary movie really occurred. Even worse: it's nonetheless taking place.

One couldn’t be purchased or intimidated

This turned clear on Tuesday night within the Bundestag, the place a cross-party coalition made up of the CDU/CSU, SPD, FDP and Greens invited individuals to the premiere of the movie. Also current was the SPD politician Frank Schwabe, the real-life position mannequin for Gerd Meineke within the movie. Schwabe didn’t enable himself to be purchased or intimidated, however somewhat opposed Azerbaijan's initially extraordinarily profitable makes an attempt to purchase the Council of Europe and with it the Western democracies – not alone, but in addition not with a big majority of MPs behind him.