جمهوری آذربایجان

از ویکی‌پدیا، دانشنامهٔ آزاد
پرش به: ناوبری، جستجو
فارسیEnglish

مختصات: ۴۰°۱۸′شمالی ۴۷°۴۲′شرقی / ۴۰.۳°شمالی ۴۷.۷°شرقی / 40.3; 47.7

جمهوری آذربایجان
Azərbaycan Respublikası
جمهوری آذربایجان
پرچم نشان ملی
سرود ملیسرود ملی جمهوری آذربایجان
پایتخت
(و بزرگترین شهر)
باکو
۴۰°۲۲′ شمالی ۴۹°۵۳′ شرقی / ۴۰.۳۶۷°شمالی ۴۹.۸۸۳°شرقی / 40.367; 49.883
زبان رسمی ترکی آذربایجانی
نوع حکومت جمهوری
نام حاکمان 
 • رئیس‌جمهور
 • نخست‌وزیر

الهام علی‌اف
آرتور راسی‌زاده 
موارد منجر به تشکیل
 • اعلام استقلال
 • رسمیت استقلال
از شوروی
۸ شهریور ۱۳۷۰
۲۶ مهر ۱۳۷۰ (۱۹۹۱)
مساحت
 -  مساحت ۸۶٬۶۰۰کیلومتر مربع (۱۱۳ام)
 -  آب‌ها (٪) ۱٫۶٪
جمعیت
 -  سرشماری [۱] ۹٬۶۱۱٬۷۰۰ 
(۸۹ام)
 -  تراکم جمعیت ۱۰۳‎/km۲‏ (۸۹ام)
تولید ناخالص داخلی (تخمین ۱۳۹۵)
 -  مجموع ۳۵٬۶۸۶ میلیارد دلار رتبه تولید ناخالص داخلی = ۹۶ام 
 -  سرانه ۳٬۷۵۹ دلار 
جینی (۲۰۰۸) ۳۳٫۷ 
واحد پول منات (AZN)
منطقه زمانی EET (ساعت جهانی+۴)
 -  تابستانی (DST) EEST (ساعت جهانی)
نوع تقویم میلادی
دامنه اینترنتی .az
پیش‌شماره تلفنی +۹۹۴
برق
 -  اختلاف پتانسیل ۲۲۰ ولت
از سه دایره درون هم به رنگ‌های (به ترتیب از داخل به خارج) سبز، قرمز و آبی تشکیل شده درون این سه دایره یک ستاره هشت پر با پس زمینهٔ سفید وجود دارد و درون آن واژه الله به صورت شعله برافروخته ترسیم شده‌است و در قسمت آبی رنگ هم هشت نقطه زرد رنگ وجود دارد به علاوه یک خوشهگندم و یک شاخه از درخت بلوط به صورت نیم دایره دور این دایره را پوشانده‌است.[۲]

جمهوری آذربایجان (به ترکی آذربایجانی: Azərbaycan Respublikası) بزرگترین کشور قفقاز و در گذرگاه اروپا و آسیای شمال غربی و در کنار دریای خزر است. پایتخت آن باکو است.

کشورهای ایران در جنوب، ارمنستان و ترکیه در غرب، گرجستان در شمال غربی و روسیه در شمال آذربایجان قرار دارند. همچنین این کشور دارای مرز آبی با کشورهای ترکمنستان و قزاقستان در کنارهٔ دریای خزر است. جمعیت آذربایجان در سال ۲۰۱۲ حدود ۹٫۱۲۵ میلیون نفر بوده‌است. تولید ناخالص داخلی آن در سال ۲۰۱۶ معادل ۳۵ میلیارد دلار (بر اساس ارزش اسمی) بوده‌است که تولید ناخالص سرانه اهالی کشور را معادل ۳۷۵۹ دلار می‌کند.[۳]

این سرزمین تا حدود دویست سال پیش جزو خاک ایران بود ولی در جنگ ایران و روسیه، طی قراردادهای گلستان و ترکمنچای به روسیه ملحق شد. آذربایجان دارای میراث فرهنگی باستانی و تاریخیست و اولین کشور با اکثریت مسلمان است که دارای اپرا و تئاتر شده‌است.[۴] جمهوری دمکراتیک آذربایجان که در ۲۸ می ۱۹۱۸ تأسیس شد، در ۱۹۲۰ به اتحاد شوروی ضمیمه شد.[۵] آذربایجان در ۱۹۹۱ استقلال خود را بازیافت. ا

جمهوری خودمختار نخجوان که از خاک اصلی جمهوری آذربایجان جدا مانده ناحیهٔ قره‌باغ و هفت بخش پیرامون آن واقع در جنوب غربی جمهوری آذربایجان در جریان جنگ قره‌باغ به اشغال نیروهای ارمنستان درآمده‌است.[۶]

نوع حکومت جمهوری آذربایجان، جمهوری پارلمانی چند حزبی با یک مجلس قانون‌گذاری است. این جمهوری سکولار بوده و از سال ۲۰۰۱ به عضویت شورای اروپا درآمده‌است.

دین و زبان[ویرایش]

۹۵ درصد جمعیت جمهوری آذربایجان مسلمان هستند. ۸۵ درصد جمعیت مسلمان جمهوری آذربایجان شیعه و ۱۵ درصد بقیه سنی هستند.[۷] زبان رسمی کشور ترکی آذربایجانی می‌باشد. در کنار زبان ترکی آذربایجانی، زبان‌های روسی، ارمنی، لزگی، کردی، تالشی تاتی و فارسی نیز صحبت می‌شود. ترکی آذربایجانی از نظر تقسیمات زبانی، جزئی از دسته ترکی جنوب باختری یا ترکی اوغوز می‌باشد. ترکی آذربایجانی، ترکی استانبولی و ترکمنی در گروه ترکی جنوب باختری (اوغوز) قرار می‌گیرند.

وجه تسمیه[ویرایش]

اعتراض رسمی ایران به عثمانی در خصوص انتخاب نام «آذربایجان» از سوی حزب مساوات برای آران
تحریف تاریخ در شوروی

امسال، در مدارس شوروی، از دو درس تاریخ و علوم اجتماعی، امتحان نهایی به عمل نخواهد آمد، چرا که در چند دههٔ گذشته، تاریخ آن کشور به صورت کاملاً تحریف شده‌ای در کتاب‌های درسی مورد بحث قرار گرفته‌است.

«
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روزنامهٔ ایزوستیا[۸][۹]

این کشور که تا سال ۱۹۱۸ میلادی (۱۲۹۷ش) هرگز آذربایجان نامیده نمی‌شد زمانی نام کهن آن آلبانیا بود. در روستای «بویوک دَکَن» واقع در بخش نوخای قفقاز نوشته‌ای به خط و زبان یونانی باستان به دست آمده که تاریخ آن را سده ۲ میلادی دانسته‌اند و در آن از «آلبانیا» یاد شده‌است. در نوشته‌های مورخان باستان از جمله پلیبیوس و استرابون نیز این با نام «آلبانیا» آمده‌است. به نظر بعضی محققان، آلبانیا در منابع پارتی زبان به صورت «اردان» آمده‌است. در منابع عهد اسلامی این نام اران و «الران» نوشته‌اند. این نام به احتمال قوی با نام پارتی «اردان» مرتبط است. گاه نیز از این سرزمین با دو نام اران و شروان یاد کرده‌اند. پس از لشکرکشی‌های تیمور و داستان ترکمان‌های آق قویونلو و قره قوینلو نام اران به تدریج از کتاب‌ها برداشته شد[۱۰]

پس از پایان جنگ ایران و روس و ضمیمه شدن این سرزمین به خاک روسیه در سال ۱۹۱۱ م حزب مساوات در اراضی کنونی جمهوری آذربایجان تأسیس یافت. مساواتیان در مارس ۱۹۱۸ م قیامی مسلحانه در باکو ترتیب دادند که اندکی بعد به دیگر نواحی آن کشیده شد. اینان در ۲۷ مه ۱۹۱۸ در شهر تفلیس دولتی تشکیل دادند و با نام «جمهوری آذربایجان» اعلام استقلال کردند. در پایان ۱۹۱۹ و اوایل ۱۹۲۰ م دولت مساواتیان دستخوش بحران سیاسی و اقتصادی شد. در بهار ۱۹۱۹ م در نواحی مغان و لنکران دولت شوروی تأسیس یافت. در ۲۶ آوریل ۱۹۲۰ کمیته موقت انقلاب به ریاست نریمان نریمانف تشکیل گشت. در ۲۸ آوریل ۱۹۲۰ م دولت مساواتیان ساقط شد و کمیته انقلاب قدرت را در باکو در دست گرفت و خود را دولت «جمهوری شوروی سوسیالیستی آذربایجان» نامید[۱۰]

تورج دریایی می‌گوید: «این استالین بود که تصمیم گرفت برای مداخله در امور ایران نام این منطقه را از آران (در تاریخ باستان با نام آلبانی) به آذربایجان تغییر دهد و آن را خاری کند در چشم ایران.»[۱۱]

جغرافیا[ویرایش]

توپوگرافی جمهوری آذربایجان

کشور آذربایجان از نظر موقعیت جغرافیایی بین طول جغرافیایی ۲۰”/ ۵۹′/ ۴۴° تا ۵۴”/ ۳۶′/ ۵۰° شرقی و عرض جغرافیایی ۳۰″/ ۲۶′/ ۳۸° تا ۳۶″/ ۵۴′/ ۴۱° شمالی واقع شده‌است. این مختصات مزبور به خاک اصلی جمهوری آذربایجان است (بدون احتساب نخجوان).[۱۲]

جمهوری آذربایجان در جنوب رشته کوه‌های قفقاز و شمال رودخانه ارس و در کنار دریای خزر واقع شده‌است. سه رشته‌کوه قفقاز بزرگ در شمال، قفقاز کوچک در غرب، و کوه‌های تالش در جنوب این کشور را احاطه کرده‌است. این کوه‌ها ۴۰ درصد از مساحت جمهوری آذربایجان را دربرگرفته‌است[۱۳] و قله کوه بازاردوزو (Bazardüzü) با ارتفاع ۴۴۶۶ متر بلندترین نقطه آن است. نواحی میانی شامل جلگه‌های آران مرکزی، مغان و میل و سواحل دریای خزر کم ارتفاع و پست بوده و ارتفاع در پست‌ترین قسمت ۲۸ متر پایین‌تر از سطح دریاهای آزاد است. جمهوری آذربایجان یک کشور محاط در خشکی است. این کشور در پیرامون دریای خزر، که یک دریای بسته‌است، واقع شده و طول خط ساحلی آن ۸۰۰ کیلومتر است.[۱۴] تنوع زیستی و گیاهی آذربایجان به دلیل تنوع آبو هوا بسیار زیاد است به گونه‌ای که تنها بیش از ۴۵۰۰ گونه گیاه در کوهستانهای آذربایجان دیده می‌شود

جنگل‌های اسماعیلی
کوه مورو در قفقاز
کوه بش بارماق
نمایی از جمهوری آذربایجان از مرز ایران (شهرستان گرمی)

مرزها[ویرایش]

 • ارمنستان: ۱۰۰۷کیلومتر  • ایران: ۷۶۵کیلومتر  • گرجستان:۴۸۰کیلومتر  • روسیه: ۳۹۰کیلومتر  • ترکیه: ۱۵ کیلومتر (از طریق جمهوری خودمختار نخجوان)

آب و هوا[ویرایش]

میانگین بارش سالانه در جمهوری آذربایجان
دمای میانگین سالانه در جمهوری آذربایجان

از لحاظ آب و هوایی، جمهوری آذربایجان دارای چندین نوع آب و هوای مختلف است. به طوری که از ۱۱ ناحیه آب و هوایی ۹ گونه ناحیه در آذربایجان وجود دارد.[۱۵] درجه هوای متوسط در مناطق جلگه‌ای شمال و شرق کشور تا ۶ سانتیگراد در زمستان و ۳۶ درجه سانتیگراد در تابستان می‌رسد، در حالیکه در مناطق کوهستانی غربی زمستانها تا ۹- در زمستان و ۱۲ درجه سانتیگراد در تابستان می‌رسد. پایین‌ترین دمای مطلق در اردوباد به میزان ۳۳- درجه سانتیگراد و بالاترین دمای مطلق در جلفا به میزان ۴۶ درجه سانتیگراد ثبت شده‌است.[۱۵] به‌طور کلی شمال و شرق کشور دارای آب و هوای نسبتاً خشک و کوهستانی است در حالیکه منطقه جنوب شرقی آب و هوای مرطوب و ملایم تری دارد. مناطق غربی و شمالی و جنوبی شامل قره باغ و شمال شرقی جمهوری خودمختار نخجوان، دامنه کوه‌های قفقاز و ناحیه لنکران-آستارا و کوه‌های تالش بسیار مرطوب هستند. بیشترین میزان بارش سالانه در لنکران و به میزان ۱۶۰۰ تا ۱۸۰۰ میلیمتر و کمترین میزان بارش سالانه به میزان ۲۰۰ تا ۳۵۰ میلیمتر در آبشوران روی می‌دهد. مناطق مرکزی شامل جلگه‌های وسیع مستعد کشاورزی است که توسط رود کورا و ارس آبرسانی می‌شوند.

تقسیمات کشوری[ویرایش]

جمهوری آذربایجان به ۵۹ بخش، ۱۱ شهر و ۱ جمهوری خودمختار تقسیم شده‌است. جمهوری خودمختار نخجوان دارای ۷ بخش است و بدین ترتیب، این کشور جمعاً به ۶۶ بخش تقسیم شده‌است.

علاوه بر این این کشور به ۱۰ ناحیه اقتصادی تقسیم شده‌است. هر ناحیه اقتصادی شامل چند بخش می‌باشد. نواحی اقتصادی جمهوری آذربایجان عبارتند از:

  • آبشوران
  • قوبا-خاچماز
  • داغلیق شیروان
  • شکی-زاکاتالا
  • گنجه-قازاخ
  • یوخاری قاراباغ
  • کلبجر-لاچین
  • کورا
  • کورای مرکزی
  • لنکران-آستارا

شهرهای مهم[ویرایش]

ردیف نام شهر جمعیت ردیف نام شهر جمعیت

باکو
باکو


گنجه

۱ باکو (Bakı) ۲٬۰۳۹٬۷۰۰ ۱۱ خان کندی (Xankəndi) ۵۵٬۲۸۲
۲ گنجه (Gəncə) ۳۲۳٬۷۶۰ ۱۲ لنکران (Lənkəran) ۵۰٬۵۳۴
۳ سومقاییت (Sumqayıt) ۲۸۲٬۲۸۰ ۱۳ رسول‌زاده (Rəsulzadə) ۴۸٬۷۱۶
۴ مینگچویر (Mingəçevir) ۱۰۰٬۷۷۸ ۱۴ بیله جری (Biləcəri) ۴۵٬۶۷۸
۵ قاراچوخور(Qaraçuxur) ۷۸٬۷۳۰ ۱۵ مشتاغا(Maştağa) ۴۲٬۶۳۵
۶ شیروان (Şirvan) ۷۶٬۶۴۸ ۱۶ آغدام (Ağdam) ۴۲٬۵۸۷
۷ نخجوان (Naxçıvan) ۷۵٬۹۷۲ ۱۷ بردع (Bərdə) ۴۰٬۷۴۱
۸ باکیخانوف(Bakıxanov) ۷۱٬۸۳۶ ۱۸ خاچماز (Xaçmaz) ۴۰٬۳۹۱
۹ شکی (Şəki) ۶۵٬۶۱۶ ۱۹ جلیل‌آباد (Cəlilabad) ۳۹٬۹۷۴
۱۰ یولاخ (Yevlax) ۵۷٬۴۴۹ ۲۰ هوسان(Hövsan) ۳۸٬۶۷۵
توضیح: جمعیت شهرها بر اساس آمار سال ۲۰۰۹ می باشد
اطلاعات بیش‌تر: فهرست شهرهای جمهوری آذربایجان

تاریخ[ویرایش]

دوره پیش از تاریخ[ویرایش]

سابقه حضور بشر در جمهوری آذربایجان به هزاران سال قبل بازمی‌گردد. کاوشهای غار آزیخ در بخش فضولی وجود آثاری از زندگی بشر به قدمت ۳۵۰ تا ۴۰۰ هزار سال را نشان می‌دهد.[۱۶] سنگ نگاره‌های قبوستان نیز تاریخی ۱۲ هزارساله دارند. در قرن نهم قبل از میلاد سکاهای آریایی در این ناحیه‌ای که هم اکنون جمهوری آذربایجان نامیده می‌شود، سکنی گزیدند. به دنبال آنان مادها وسپس هخامنشیان به رهبری کوروش بر منطقه حاکم گشتند. با حمله اسکندر دوران حکمرانی حاکمان وابسته به او در منطقه آغاز شد اما در دوره‌هایی حاکمان محلی با دادن خراج حکومتهای محلی خود را برپا می‌داشتند.[۱۷]

دوره باستان[ویرایش]

دروازه‌های شهر قبله پایتخت آلبانیای قفقاز

در فاصله قرن اول تا سوم میلادی رومیان بر این منطقه مسلط شدند و نام آن را آلبانیا نهادند[۱۸] در این دوران پادشاهی مسیحی آلبانیای قفقاز پدیدار شد اما در سال ۲۵۲–۲۵۳ پس از میلاد به دست شاپور اول ساسانی افتاد.[۱۹] کشمکش برای به دست گرفتن کنترل منطقه بین رومیها، پادشاهان ساسانی و حکام محلی ادامه داشت؛ و قدرت بین آنها دست به دست می‌شد.[۲۰]

دوره اسلام[ویرایش]

در زمان ظهور اسلام سلسله مسیحی مهرانی‌ها در آلبانیای قفقاز حاکم بودند. آنان همواره توسط ترکان خزر از شمال و اعراب از جنوب مورد تهدید واقع می‌شدند. اعراب مسلمان پس از شکست دادن رومیان و ساسانیان به سوی آذربایجان لشکرکشی کردند و پس از درهم شکستن مقاومت مسیحیان به رهبری جوانشیر در سال ۶۶۷ میلادی بر این ناحیه حاکم شدند.[۲۱]

شروانشاهان[ویرایش]

کاخ شروانشاهان در باکو

از اواخر قرن دوم شمسی شروانشاهان حکومت منطقه آذربایجان را در دست گرفتند. آنان با آمدن سلجوقیان نیز بر مسند قدرت باقی‌ماندند. چرا که به آنان خراج می‌دادند. این سلسله تا زمان انقراضش در سال ۹۱۷ خورشیدی (۹۴۵ قمری) به دست شاه تهماسب یکم صفوی، در قسمتهایی از آذربایجان به‌ویژه ناحیه شمال شرقی این جمهوری به صورت حاکمان محلی حکمرانی می‌کردند.

غزنویان و سلجوقیان[ویرایش]

در اوایل قرن پنجم شمسی غزنویان بر قسمتی از منطقه مسلط شدند. آنان اولین حکومت ترک تبار در منطقه بودند و در تغییر ترکیب جمعیتی و زبانی آذربایجان نقش عمده‌ای داشتند. بدنبال غزنویان سلجوقیان که حکومتی ترک تبار بودند بر منطقه حاکم شدند. این دوران، دوران شکوفایی ادبیات فارسی در منطقه نیز می‌باشد. مشهورترین شاعران این دوران، نظامی گنجوی و خاقانی شروانی می‌باشند.[۲۲]

حمله مغول و تیمور[ویرایش]

در قرون سیزده و چهارده میلادی با هجوم مغولها و تاتارها (تیمور لنگ) سلسله‌های محلی برافتادند. در قرن پانزده میلادی خانات محلی تحت سلطه آق قویونلوها، تا به سلطنت رسیدن شاه اسماعیل صفوی به قسمت عمده اران، شروان و قره باغ تسلط داشتند. آران و شروان (جمهوری آذربایجان) جزو اولین مناطقی بود که شاه اسماعیل یکم صفوی تحت سلطه خود درآورد. بعد از جنگ تاریخی چالدران برای نخستین بار این منطقه به شکل موقت به اشغال ترکان عثمانی درآمد تا پس از دست بدست شدنهای زیاد هشتاد سال بعد ایرانیان در زمان (شاه عباس) موفق به بازپس‌گیری درازمدت این منطقه شدند.

افشاریه و قاجاریه[ویرایش]

در قرون بعد تحت حکومت افشاریه و سپس این سرزمین در داخل حکومت قاجاریه قرار داشته که در نهایت در سالهای ۱۱۹۳ و ۱۲۰۷ خورشیدی در پی پیمان گلستان و ترکمانچای میان ایران و روسیه از ایران جدا و به روسیه تزاری ضمیمه شد.

سلطه تزارها بر آذربایجان[ویرایش]

ساختمانی تاریخی در شهر باکو

پس از انعقاد پیمان گلستان و ترکمانچای میان ایران و روسیه تزارهای کنترل منطقه قفقاز را در دست گرفتند اما همچنان نفوذ فرهنگی و معنوی ایران و عثمانی در منطقه بیشر از نفوذ روسیه بود. در این دوره روسها سرمایه‌گذاری بسیار کمی در این ناحیه می‌کردند. اما با استخراج نفت توجه به آذربایجان بیشتر گردید و اقتصاد محلی رونق گرفت.[۲۳] در این دوره جمعیت شهر باکو به‌طور فزاینده‌ای افزایش یافت و مهاجران روس یک سوم جمعیت شهر را تشکیل می‌دادند. ارامنه نیز در دوایر رسمی مشغول بکار بودند. اینگونه تضادهای اجتماعی باعث وقوع شورشهایی در سال ۱۹۰۵ میلادی شد.[۲۴]

در دائرةالمعارف بزرگ شوروی آمده‌است که «در اواسط سدهٔ ۱۱م (۵ه‍. ق) هجوم اقوام ترک (ازجمله غُزان و دیگران) که دودمان سلجوقی در رأس آنها قرار داشتند به سرزمین اران و شیروان آغاز گردید». چند خان‌نشین، ملک‌نشین و سلطان‌نشین کوچک پدید آمد که در نیمهٔ دوم سدهٔ ۱۲ق/نیمه دوم سدهٔ ۱۸م شمارهٔ آنها به ۱۵ رسید. عمده‌ترین آنها عبارت بودند از خان‌نشینهای باکو، گنجه، دربند، قُبه (قوبا = کوبا). قراباغ، نخجوان، طالش، شَکی، شروان، ایروان، کوتکاشِن، قَبَله و شَمشادیل. سلطان‌نشینهای کوچک بعضی مستقل و بعضی دیگر تابع خانها بودند به عنوان نمونه سلطان‌نشینهای آرش، ایلی‌سو و کوتکاشن از خان‌شکی، و ملک‌نشینها از خان قراباغ تبعیت می‌کردند. در ۱۴ و ۲۱ مه ۱۸۰۵م در اردوگاه ارتش روسیه واقع در ساحل کورک‌چای موافقتنامه‌ای به امضا رسید که طبق آن، خانهای قراباغ و شکی تابعیّت دولت روسیه را پذیرفتند. پس از پایان جنگهای ایران و روس که بخشی از این سرزمین به اشغال روسیه درآمد و در پی انعقاد معاهدهٔ ترکمانچای، بعضی خانها، ازجمله خانهای اردوباد و نخجوان، الحاق خود را به امپراتوری روسیه اعلام نمودند[۱۰]

سقوط تزارها و استقلال آذربایجان[ویرایش]

در آغاز قرن بیستم با رشد صنایع، تفکرات اصلاح طلبانه در آذربایجان شکل گرفت. در سال ۱۹۰۳ میلادی حزب چپگرای همت با هدف دفاع از زبان و فرهنگ آذربایجانی تشکیل شد.

در سال ۱۹۱۲ با انشعاب در حزب همت حزب مساوات شکل گرفت. به دنبال سقوط تزارها حزب بلشویک که متشکل از ارامنه و روسها بود سعی در تشکیل دولتی کمونیستی داشتند که با مخالفت مردم مسلمان و تشکیل ارتش اسلام این حرکت ناکام ماند سرانجام در روز ۱۸ می سال ۱۹۱۸ جمهوری آذربایجان با عنوان جمهوری دمکراتیک آذربایجان توسط محمدامین رسولزاده رهبر حزب مساوات اعلام استقلال خود اعلام کرد.[۱۴][۲۵] کشتار شوشی که به نسل‌کشی سی هزار ارمنی انجامید از وقایع مهم این دوره‌است.[۲۶][۲۷]

این حکومت اولین حکومت جمهوری در میان کشورهای مسلمان بود. تلاش جمهوری دمکراتیک آذربایجان برای آغاز گفتگوهای اتحاد با ایران با هجوم بلشویکها ناکام ماند و این کشور نوبنیاد تنها دوسال پس از کسب استقلال تحت سلطه اتحاد جماهیر شوروی درآمد.[۲۸]

در اتحاد جماهیر شوروی[ویرایش]

از سال ۱۹۲۰ با پیروزی بلشویک‌ها، جمهوری آذربایجان به مدت ۷۱ سال تا ۱۹۹۲، با نام جمهوری سوسیالیستی آذربایجان شوروی یکی از جمهوری‌های تشکیل دهندهٔ اتحاد جماهیر شوروی سوسیالیستی بود.

از ۱۹۲۲ تا ۱۹۳۶، این کشور بخشی از جمهوری سوسیالیستی ماورای قفقاز شوروی بود و مانند گرجستان و ارمنستان، دچار گسترش شهرنشینی شد و با پیشرفت‌های گسترده اقتصادی، صنعتی شد. شهرنشینی، آموزش و پرورش و پویایی اجتماعی در جمهوری آذربایجان موجب بروز تضادهای اجتماعی بین کلان‌شهر باکو، و مناطق سنتی عقب مانده روستایی گردید. در این جمهوری آموزش به زبان آذربایجانی بود و مقامات مهم اجرایی آذربایجانی بودند اما به ویژه در دوره حکومت استالین (۱۹۲۸–۱۹۵۳م) و رهبری باقروف بر حزب کمونیست آذربایجان، این جمهوری شدیداً تحت سیطره مسکو بود. پس از مرگ وی استقلال این جمهوری بیشتر شد و فرصت‌های بیشتری برای رشد نخبگان سیاسی و فکری این کشور فراهم شد. این نخبگان در هنگام بروز نزاع با ارمنیان قره باغ، در فوریه ۱۹۸۸، در بین رهبران جبههٔ خلق آذربایجان (اپوزیسیون)، و هم مخالفان کمونیستشان حضور داشتند. در سالهای ۱۹۸۸ و ۱۹۹۰، خشونت بر ضد ارمنیان به ترتیب در سومقائیت، و باکو بروز کرد و نتیجتاً در ۱۹۹۰ حکومت مسکو دست به عملیات نظامی علیه جمهوری آذربایجان زد.[۲۹]

استقلال مجدد[ویرایش]

در پی کودتای نافرجام علیه گورباچف رهبر شوروی سابق در اوت ۱۹۹۱، جمهوری آذربایجان اعلام استقلال کرد و ایاز مطلب اف، رهبر حزب کمونیست به عنوان نخستین رئیس‌جمهور انتخاب شد. گروه اپوزیسیون، جبههٔ خلق آذربایجان در مهٔ ۱۹۹۲ مطلب اف را برانداخت، و نامزد آن ابوالفضل ایلچی بیگ با شعار جدایی از کشورهای مستقل مشترک‌المنافع و حفظ سیطره بر قره باغ کوهستانی در انتخاباتی که این جبهه برگزار کرد پیروز شد.[۲۹]

ریاست جمهوری‌ها[ویرایش]

رئیس‌جمهور کنونی جمهوری آذربایجان
  1. محمدامین رسول‌زاده: او حزب مساوات را (که از ۱۳۲۹ تشکیل شد و از ۱۳۳۶ تا ۱۳۳۸ در آذربایجان قفقاز به قدرت رسید) پایه‌گذاری کرد و از مبلغان اصلی پان‌ترکیسم (به ترکی: تورکچولوک) به‌شمار می‌آمد.
  2. ایاز مطلب‌اف۱۹۹۱–۱۹۹۲
  3. ابوالفضل ایلچی‌بیگ۱۹۹۲–۱۹۹۳
  4. حیدر علی‌اف۱۹۹۳–۱۹۹۸، ۱۹۹۸–۲۰۰۳
  5. الهام علی‌اف۲۰۰۳–۲۰۰۸، ۲۰۰۸–۲۰۱۳

جهانگردی[ویرایش]

جمهوری آذربایجان در سالهای اخیر تلاشهای قابل توجه‌ای برای افزایش گردشگری خود داشته‌است. همچنین سال ۲۰۱۱درکشور آذربایجان سال گردشگری آذربایجان نمایده شد. کشور آذربایجان در سال ۲۰۱۰ میزبان بیش از دو و نیم میلیون گردشگر بوده‌است، در سالهای اخیر سهم گردشگری آذربایجان را بیشتر کشورهای اوکراین، قزاقستان، ایران، گرجستان، اردن، بحرین، آلمان، استرالیا، بلغارستان و فنلاند داشته‌اند[۳۰][۳۱] در سال ۲۰۱۲ جمهوری آذربایجان بیشترین گردشگر را در منطقه قفقاز پذیرا بوده‌است. در همین سال علی‌رغم اینکه ایران دو برابر جمهوری آذربایجان گردشگر پذیرفته اما درآمد گردشگری جمهوری آذربایجان در این سال بیش از دو برابر درآمد ایران بوده‌است.[۳۲]

میراث فرهنگی و معماری ملی و اسلامی از مهم‌ترین عامل‌های ثبات در جمهوری آذربایجان محسوب می‌شود. این کشور به‌عنوان دومین کشور شیعه در جهان، با میراث‌های معماری، آداب و رسوم، تنوع‌های فرهنگی، انواع پوشاک، صنایع دستی، غذاهای سنتی و چشم‌اندازهای جغرافیایی و طبیعی از نظر جهانگردی قابل‌توجه بوده و همه‌ساله هزاران گردشگر خارجی را به سمت جمهوری آذربایجان جذب کرده که از نظر اقتصادی نیز تأثیر به‌سزایی در رشد اقتصادی این کشور داشته‌است.[۳۳][۳۴]

ساختار سیاسی[ویرایش]

دولت آذربایجان یک جمهوری دمکراتیک، قانون محور، لائیک و یکپارچه است.

حاکمیت دولتی در جمهوری آذربایجان بر پایه اصل تفکیک قوا اعمال می‌گردد. سیستم سیاسی جمهوری آذربایجان از منظر شکل اعمال حاکمیت دولتی، یک جمهوری بر پایه سیستم ریاست جمهوری است.

رئیس دولت[ویرایش]

رئیس جمهوری هر ۵ سال یک بار به روش مراجعه به آرای مخفی عمومی انتخاب می‌شود. الهام حیدر اوغلو علی‌یف در تاریخ ۹ اکتبر ۲۰۱۳ به ریاست جمهوری آذربایجان برگزیده شده‌است.

قوه مقننه جمهوری آذربایجان[ویرایش]

مجلس ملی جمهوری آذربایجان از ۱۲۵ نماینده تشکیل شده‌است. انتخابات چهارمین دوره این مجلس در ۷ نوامبر ۲۰۱۰ برگزار شد. ۱۰۵ نفر برابر با ۸۴٪ از نمایندگان را آقایان و ۲۰ نفر برابر با ۱۶٪ از نمایندگان را زنان تشکیل می‌دهند.

قوه قضاییه[ویرایش]

جمهوری آذربایجان شامل دادگاه قانون اساسی، دیوان عالی کشور، دادگاه استیناف و دادگاه اقتصاد می‌باشد.

سیستم سیاسی جمهوری آذربایجان بر پایه اصول چند حزبی و تکثرگرایی استوار است. در حال حاضر در جمهوری آذربایجان ۵۵ حزب سیاسی دارای مجوز بوده و مشغول فعالیت هستند. احزاب سیاسی از طریق عضویت در نهاد مقننه و نهادهای مدیریت محلی، در اعمال حاکمیت دولتی مشارکت می‌کنند. به جز احزاب سیاسی، بالغ بر ۴۰۰۰ تشکل مردم‌نهاد نیز در کشور فعالیت دارند

اقتصاد[ویرایش]

نواحی اقتصادی جمهوری آذربایجان

جمهوری آذربایجان در مقایسه با جمهوریهای تازه استقلال یافته اطراف خود در اثر بهره‌برداری از منابع نفتی که در سال ۲۰۰۸ برابر ۷ میلیارد بشکه بوده‌است (که حدود یک درصد از ذخایر اثبات شده جهان) که در حال حاضر در منطقه یک صادرکننده محصولات گازی محسوب می‌شود.[۳۳] و سرمایه‌گذاری پس از استقلال توسعه بیشتری پیدا کرده‌است. با وجود این بعد از استقلال این کشور، تورم فزاینده ناشی از آثار جنگ قره‌باغ همراه با سیاست‌های آزادسازی قیمت‌ها و خصوصی‌سازی اقتصاد موجب شد که مردم جمهوری آذربایجان تحت فشارهای شدید اقتصادی قرار گیرند و قدرت خرید آنها به‌سرعت کاهش یابد ولی از سال ۱۹۹۶ میلادی، افزایش درآمدهای حاصل از قراردادهای نفتی بین‌المللی، روند رو به رشد سرمایه‌گذاری خارجی، اعتبارات صندوق بین‌المللی پول و بانک جهانی و مساعدت کشورهای اروپایی موجب شد تا اقتصاد نابسامان این کشور کمی رو به بهبود گذارد. در سال ۲۰۰۷ از تعداد کل شاغلان در بخش اقتصادی ۷۰ درصد در بخش خصوصی مشغول به کار بودن و تعداد بیکاران ۲۸۱ هزار نفر بوده‌است.[۳۳]

جمهوری آذربایجان برای ثبات بخشیدن به اوضاع اقتصادی با کمک صندوق بین‌المللی پول دو برنامهٔ اقتصادی را به اجرا درآورده و توانسته‌است میزان تورم را کاهش دهد. میزان تورم در این کشور از ۴۱۱ درصد در سال ۱۹۹۵ میلادی به ۲۰ درصد در سال ۱۹۹۶ میلادی و ۷/۳ درصد در سال ۱۹۹۷ و صفر درصد در سال ۱۹۹۸ میلادی و (۵-) درصد در نیمه نخست سال ۲۰۰۰ میلادی کاهش یافته‌است.

در سال ۲۰۰۸ میلادی جمهوری آذربایجان بنا به گزارش بانک جهانی برترین کشور از نظر اجرای برنامه‌های اصلاحات اقتصادی بین ۱۰ کشور محاسبه شده (ده کشوری که جزئیات اطلاعات اقتصادی خود را در اختیار بانک جهانی قرار دادند) بوده‌است و در رتبه نخست قرار گرفت.[۳۵]

نظامی[ویرایش]

تاریخ ارتش آذربایجان به زمان جمهوری دموکراتیک آذربایجان در سال ۱۹۱۸ که ارتش ملی تازه شکل گرفته بود بازمی‌گردد.[۳۶][۳۷] وقتی جمهوری آذربایجان استقلال خود را پس از فروپاشی شوروی سوسیالیستی بدست آورد بر پایه قانون در سال ۱۹۹۱ ارتش جمهوری آذربایجان تأسیس گردید.[۳۸] از سال ۲۰۰۲ ارتش آذربایجان دارای ۹۵۰۰۰ پرسنل نظامی فعال و همچنین دارای ۱۷۰۰۰ نیروی شبه نظامی است.[۳۹] نیروهای نظامی دارای سه شاخه نیروهای دریایی، هوایی و زمینی است. افزون بر این شاخه‌های اصلی نیروی نظامی آذربایجان دارای زیر شاخه‌هایی است که در موقع لزوم می‌توانند در دفاع از کشور کمک کنند. این نیروها شامل گارد ساحلی، مرزبانان و نیروهای انتظامی داخلی است.[۴۰] گارد ملی آذربایجان یک نیروی بیشتر شبه نظامی است که یک نهاد نیمه مستقل ویژه از سرویس حفاظت دولتی است که زیر نظر رئیس‌جمهور اداره می‌شود.[۴۱]

آذربایجان پیمان نیروهای مسلح متعارف در اروپا (سی اف ای) را امضا کرده‌است. این کشور همکاری نزدیکی با ناتو در پروژهای حفاظت از صلح دارد. آذربایجان ۱۵۱ نیروی حافظ صلح در عراق و ۱۸۴ نیرو در افغانستان دارد.[۴۲]

بودجه نظامی آذربایجان برای سال ۲۰۱۱ معادل ۴٫۴۶ میلیارد دلار بوده‌است.[۴۳] آذربایجان دارای صنایع دفاعی تولید اسلحه سبک، سیستم‌های کوچک توپخانه و برخی وسایل نقلیه نظامی است.[۴۴][۴۵][۴۶][۴۷] ارتش آذربایجان همکاری‌های تمرینی با گارد ملی اوکلاهاما داشته‌است.[۴۸]

سیاست[ویرایش]

به‌دنبال استقلال، فعالیت‌های سیاسی در جمهوری آذربایجان به‌شدت افزایش یافت. یکی از بزرگ‌ترین سازمانهای سیاسی اپوزیسیون جبههٔ خلق آذربایجان حول ملی‌گرایی ملی و دفاع در مقابل حملات ارمنستان تشکیل شد. این سازمان در مراحل بعدی حاوی فراکسیونهایی با اندیشه‌های پان ترکیستی نیز بوده‌است. در اولین دوره انتخابات ریاست‌جمهوری ابوالفضل ایلچی‌بیگ با اندیشه‌های قوم گرایانه این مقام رسید، بعد از انتخاب ایلچی‌بیگ وی به همراه وزیر کشور خود اسکندر حمیدف در چندین نوبت خواستار تشکیل ترکیه بزرگ که شامل تمام نواحی شمالی ایران می‌شد شدند. پس از شکست‌های پیاپی در جنگ با ارمنستان، و شکست تقریباً تمامی سیاستهای وی، و چندین قیام خونین در چند شهر از جمله گنجه، حیدر علی‌اف رئیس وقت پارلمان طی یک کودتای بدون خونریزی قدرت را به دست آورد و ایلچی‌بیگ به تبعید فرستاده شد.

در زمان ریاست‌جمهوری وی و پسرش روابط با ایران به‌تدریج گرمتر شد، تا جایی که روسای جمهور هر دو کشور در چندین نوبت به کشور یکدیگر سفر کرده‌اند، و جمهوری آذربایجان کنسولگری‌ای نیز در شهر تبریز افتتاح کرد و علی‌اف پسر به آن شهر سفر کرده و با تجار آن دیدار کرد. موافقتنامه‌های زیادی نیز در زمینه‌های تجاری، ورزشی، فرهنگی و مرزی بین دو کشور بسته شده‌است. متأسفانه در سالهای اخیر جریانات ضدایرانی تحت حاکمیت الهام علی‌اف دوباره شدت گرفته‌است.[۴۹] همچنین این کشور در فهرست ناقضان آزادی مطبوعات است.[۵۰]

مسایل مورد مناقشه[ویرایش]

در پی گسسته شدن اتحاد جماهیر شوروی و آغاز درگیری‌های قومی، تعداد کثیری از ساکنان ارمنی منطقه قره‌باغ با مداخله ارتش جمهوری ارمنستان موفق به کنترل این ناحیه و شش ناحیه غیر ارمنی نشین شدند. جمهوری قره‌باغ که کنترل بیست درصد از اراضی جمهوری آذربایجان را دارد تا کنون توسط هیچ کشوری به رسمیت شناخته نشده‌است و از هر لحاظ تحت نفوذ و حاکمیت ارمنستان می‌باشد. در اثر این جنگهای حدود یک میلیون اهالی آذری، ارمنی و کرد جنگ‌زده این منطقه بی خانمان گشته و تعداد کثیری هنوز در پناهگاه‌های موقتی و نیمه موقتی بسر می‌برند.

حقوق بشر[ویرایش]

جمهوری آذربایجان یکی از ضعیف‌ترین کشورها در رعایت حقوق بشر است. در چند سال گذشته فشار بر منتقدان دولت به روش‌های گوناگون در حال افزایش بوده‌است. گفته می‌شود یکی از دلایل عدم تمایل اعضای شورای اروپا به مجازات یا مذاکره در این مورد با جمهوری آذربایجان، به خاطر منابع نفت خام و گاز طبیعی این کشور است.[۵۱]

مردم[ویرایش]

جدول گروه‌های قومی[۵۲][۵۳]
جمعیت جمهوری آذربایجان براساس گروه‌بندی قومیتی ۱۹۲۶–۲۰۰۹

گروه قومی
آمار دولتی ۱۹۲۶۱ آمار دولتی ۱۹۳۹۲ آمار دولتی ۱۹۵۹۳ آمار دولتی ۱۹۷۰۴ آمار دولتی ۱۹۷۹۵ آمار دولتی ۱۹۸۹۶ آمار دولتی ۱۹۹۹۶ آمار ۲۰۰۹[۵۴]
تعداد  % تعداد  % تعداد  % تعداد  % تعداد  % تعداد  % تعداد  % تعداد  %
آذربایجانی‌ها ۱٬۴۳۷٬۹۷۷ ۶۲٫۱ ۱٬۸۷۰٬۴۷۱ ۵۸٫۴ ۲٬۴۹۴٬۳۸۱ ۶۷٫۵ ۳٬۷۷۶٬۷۷۸ ۷۳٫۸ ۴٬۷۰۸٬۸۳۲ ۷۸٫۱ ۵٬۸۰۴٬۹۸۰ ۸۲٫۷ ۷٬۲۰۵٬۴۶۴ ۹۰٫۶ ۸٬۱۷۲٬۸۰۰ ۹۱٫۶
لزگی‌ها ۳۷٬۲۶۳ ۱٫۶ ۱۱۱٬۶۶۶ ۳٫۵ ۹۸٬۲۱۱ ۲٫۷ ۱۳۷٬۲۵۰ ۲٫۷ ۱۵۸٬۰۵۷ ۲٫۶ ۱۷۱٬۳۹۵ ۲٫۴ ۱۷۸٬۰۲۱ ۲٫۲ ۱۸۰٬۳۰۰ ۲٫۰۲
ارمنی‌ها ۲۸۲٬۰۰۴ ۱۲٫۲ ۳۸۸٬۰۲۵ ۱۲٫۱ ۴۴۲٬۰۸۹ ۱۲٫۰ ۴۸۳٬۵۲۰ ۹٫۴ ۴۷۵٬۴۸۶ ۷٫۹ ۳۹۰٬۵۰۵ ۵٫۶ ۱۲۰٬۷۴۵۸ ۱٫۵ ۱۲۰٬۳۰۰۸ ۱٫۳۵
روس‌ها ۲۲۰٬۵۴۵ ۹٫۵ ۵۲۸٬۳۱۸ ۱۶٫۵ ۵۰۱٬۲۸۲ ۱۳٫۶ ۵۱۰٬۰۵۹ ۱۰٫۰ ۴۷۵٬۲۵۵ ۷٫۹ ۳۹۲٬۳۰۴ ۵٫۶ ۱۴۱٬۶۸۷ ۱٫۸ ۱۱۹٬۳۰۰ ۱٫۳۵
تالش‌ها ۷۷٬۳۲۳ ۳٫۳ ۸۷٬۵۱۰ ۲٫۷ ۸۵ ۰٫۰ ۲۱٬۱۶۹ ۰٫۳ ۷۶٬۸۴۱ ۱٫۰ ۱۱۲٬۰۰۰ ۱٫۲۶
آوارها ۱۹٬۱۰۴ ۰٫۸ ۱۵٬۷۴۰ ۰٫۵ ۱۷٬۲۵۴ ۰٫۵ ۳۰٬۷۳۵ ۰٫۶ ۳۵٬۹۹۱ ۰٫۶ ۴۴٬۰۷۲ ۰٫۶ ۵۰٬۸۷۱ ۰٫۶ ۴۹٬۸۰۰ ۰٫۵۶
ترک‌ها ۹۵ ۰٫۰ ۶۰۰ ۰٫۰ ۲۰۲ ۰٫۰ ۸٬۴۹۱ ۰٫۲ ۷٬۹۲۶ ۰٫۱ ۱۷٬۷۰۵ ۰٫۳ ۴۳٬۴۵۴ ۰٫۵ ۳۸٬۰۰۰ ۰٬۴۳
تاتارها ۹٬۹۴۸ ۰٫۴ ۲۷٬۵۹۱ ۰٫۹ ۲۹٬۳۷۰ ۰٫۸ ۳۱٬۳۵۳ ۰٫۶ ۳۱٬۲۰۴ ۰٫۵ ۲۸٬۰۱۹ ۰٫۴ ۳۰٬۰۱۱ ۰٫۴ ۲۵٬۹۰۰ ۰٬۲۹
تات‌های قفقاز ۲۸٬۴۴۳ ۱٫۲ ۲٬۲۸۹ ۰٫۱ ۵٬۸۸۷ ۰٫۲ ۷٬۷۶۹ ۰٫۲ ۸٬۸۴۸ ۰٫۱ ۱۰٬۲۳۹ ۰٫۱ ۱۰٬۹۲۲ ۰٫۱ ۲۵٬۲۰۰ ۰٫۲۸
اوکراینی‌ها ۱۸٬۲۴۱ ۰٫۸ ۲۳٬۶۴۳ ۰٫۷ ۲۵٬۷۷۸ ۰٫۷ ۲۹٬۱۶۰ ۰٫۶ ۲۶٬۴۰۲ ۰٫۴ ۳۲٬۳۴۵ ۰٫۵ ۲۸٬۹۸۴ ۰٫۴ ۲۱٬۵۰۰ ۰٬۲۴
ساخوری‌ها ۱۵٬۵۵۲ ۰٫۷ ۶٬۴۶۴ ۰٫۲ ۲٬۸۷۶ ۰٫۱ ۶٬۲۰۸ ۰٫۱ ۸٬۵۴۶ ۰٫۱ ۱۳٬۳۱۸ ۰٫۲ ۱۵٬۸۷۷ ۰٫۲ ۱۲٬۳۰۰ ۰٫۱۴
اودیان ۲٬۴۴۵ ۰٫۱ ۳٬۲۰۲ ۰٫۱ ۵٬۴۹۲ ۰٫۱ ۵٬۸۴۱ ۰٫۱ ۶٬۱۲۵ ۰٫۱ ۴٬۱۵۲ ۰٫۱ ۳٬۸۰۰ ۰٫۰۴
گرجی‌ها ۹٬۵۰۰ ۰٫۴ ۱۰٬۱۹۶ ۰٫۳ ۹٬۵۲۶ ۰٫۳ ۱۳٬۵۹۵ ۰٫۳ ۱۱٬۴۱۲ ۰٫۲ ۱۴٬۱۹۷ ۰٫۲ ۱۴٬۸۷۷ ۰٫۲ ۹٬۹۰۰ ۰٫۱۱
یهودیان ۲۰٬۵۷۸ ۰٫۹ ۴۱٬۲۴۵ ۱٫۳ ۴۰٬۱۹۸ ۱٫۱ ۴۸٬۶۵۲ ۱٫۰ ۳۵٬۴۸۷ ۰٫۶ ۳۰٬۷۹۲ ۰٫۴ ۸٬۹۱۶ ۰٫۱ ۹٬۱۰۰ ۰٫۱
کردها ۴۱٬۱۹۳۷ ۱٫۸ ۶٬۰۰۵ ۰٫۲ ۱٬۴۸۷ ۰٫۰ ۵٬۴۸۸ ۰٫۱ ۵٬۶۷۶ ۰٫۱ ۱۲٬۲۲۶ ۰٫۲ ۱۳٬۰۷۵ ۰٫۲ ۶٬۱۰۰ ۰٫۰۷
دیگر اقوام ۹۴٬۳۶۰ ۴٫۱ ۸۵٬۳۸۷ ۲٫۷ ۲۵٬۸۸۹ ۰٫۷ ۲۲٬۵۳۱ ۰٫۴ ۳۱٬۵۵۲ ۰٫۵ ۳۱٬۷۸۷ ۰٫۵ ۹٬۵۴۱ ۰٫۱ ۹٬۵۰۰ ۰٫۱۱
مجموع ۲٬۳۱۴٬۵۷۱ ۳٬۲۰۵٬۱۵۰ ۳٬۶۹۷٬۷۱۷ ۵٬۱۱۷٬۰۸۱ ۶٬۰۲۶٬۵۱۵ ۷٬۰۲۱٬۱۷۸ ۷٬۹۵۳٬۴۳۸ ۸٬۹۲۲٬۴۰۰
۱ Source:[۶]. ۲ Source:[۷]. ۳ Source:[۸]. ۴ Source:[۹]. ۵ Source:[۱۰]. ۶ Source:[۱۱]. ۷ تمامی کردها در جغرافیای جمهوری کردستان سرخ سابق، میان جغرافیای ارمنستان و قره باغ زندگی می‌کنند. در اواخر دهه ۱۹۳۰ مقامات شوروی بیشتر جمعیت کردنشین آذربایجان را به قزاقستان تبعید کردند۸تمامی ارمنی‌ها از دهه ۱۹۹۰ در جغرافیای قره باغ سکونت دارند.

[۵۵]

گروه‌های قومی در جمهوری آذربایجان (داده‌های سازمان سیا)[۵۵]
درصد
آذربایجانی‌ها
  
۹۰٫۶٪
اقوام داغستانی
  
۲٫۲٪
روس‌ها
  
۱٫۸٪
ارمنی‌ها
  
۱٫۵٪
سایر اقوام
  
۳٫۵٪

آذربایجانی‌ها[ویرایش]

قوم آذربایجانی که اکثریت مردم این کشور را تشکیل می‌دهند مردمی عمدتاً شیعه‌مذهب، ترک‌زبان و با فرهنگ ایرانی هستند.[۵۶] به نوشته دائرةالمعارف بزرگ اسلامی «در این قوم، عنصر غالبِ ترک که پیامد مهاجرت اقوام ترک - به‌ویژه سلجوقیانِ اُغوز در سدهٔ ۱۱ م/۵ ق - به این سرزمین است، با ساکنان کهن این سرزمین، یعنی ایرانیان و دیگر مردمانی که از روزگار باستان در ماوراء قفقاز می‌زیسته‌اند، ترکیب شده‌است».[۵۷] مطالعات ژنتیکی جدید نشان داده که آن‌ها هم از نظر میتوکندری دی‌ان‌ای، که نسب مادری را نشان می‌دهد و هم از نظر کروموزوم ایگرگ، که نسب پدری را می‌نمایاند، به همسایگان جغرافیایی خود یعنی اقوام قفقازی (گویشوران به زبان‌های قفقازی) شبیه ترند تا به خویشان زبانی خود یعنی اقوام ترک‌تبار در نقاط دیگر دنیا. خصوصیات ژنتیکی قفقازی‌ها نیز در مجموع چیزی بین اروپائی‌ها و ساکنان خاورمیانه‌است که نسب مادری شباهت بیشتری را به اروپائی‌ها و نسب پدری شباهت بیشتری را به خاورمیانه‌ای‌ها نشان می‌دهد. این نتایج ایده جابجایی زبانی آذربایجانی‌ها را تقویت می‌کند و نشان می‌دهد که گروه‌های مهاجر آن قدر کوچک بوده‌اند که سهم ژنتیکی آن‌ها در جمعیت فعلی قابل مشاهده نیست.[۵۸]

براساس سرشماری سال ۱۹۹۹، ۹۰٫۶ درصد از جمعیت جمهوری آذربایجان را آذربایجانی، ۲٫۲ درصد را لزگی (داغستانی)، ۱٫۸ درصد را روس و ۱٫۵ درصد را ارمنی تشکیل می‌دهند؛ البته تقریباً تمامی ارمنی‌ها در منطقهٔ خودمختار قره‌باغ کوهستانی زندگی می‌کنند.[۵۹] براساس سرشماری سال ۱۹۸۹ شوروی، حدود ۲۶۲٬۰۰۰ نفر غیر آذربایجانی از ۹ قومیت مختلف در این کشور زندگی می‌کرده‌اند که از این میان، ۱۷۱٬۰۰۰ نفر لزگی و ۲۱٬۰۰۰ نفر تالش بوده‌اند؛ اما تالش‌ها جمعیت خود را حدود ۲۰۰٬۰۰۰ تا ۳۰۰٬۰۰۰ نفر برآورد می‌کنند.[۶۰]

از جمعیت ۸٬۲۳۸٬۶۷۲ نفری جمهوری آذربایجان، ۵۱ درصد شهرنشین و ۴۹ درصد در روستاها زندگی می‌کنند.[۶۱] نرخ رشد جمعیت در این کشور ۰٫۷۶۲ درصد است. ۹۳٫۴ درصد از مردم جمهوری آذربایجان، مسلمان (۸۵ درصد شیعه[۶۲][۶۳])، ۲٫۵ درصد ارتدوکس روس و ۲٫۳ درصد ارمنی هستند. البته درصد اعتقاد به ادیان در این کشور صوری است؛ چراکه عدهٔ بسیار کمی از مردم عبادت کرده و واقعاً به دین خود وابستگی دارند.[۶۴]

جمهوری آذربایجان به همراه ایران، عراق و بحرین چهار کشوری هستند که در آن شیعیان اکثریت جمعیت را تشکیل می‌دهند.[۶۳] پس از استقلال از شوروی تعصب اسلامی در این کشور رشد داشته‌است[۶۵]

اما آمارهای رسمی این کشور در مورد اقلیت‌های قومی مورد چالش پژوهشگران قرار گرفته‌است و در محافل خصوصی نیز خود آذربایجانی‌ها قبول دارند که تعداد لزگی‌ها، تالش‌ها و کردها بسیار بیشتر است[۶۶]. هم اکنون دولت جمهوری آذربایجان سیاست سخت آسیمیله کردن اقلیتهای قومی را پیگیری می‌کند[۶۷] و باعث گردیده‌است که بسیاری از لزگی‌ها، تالش‌ها و کردها در این صدسال اخیر در قوم آذربایجانی ادغام شوند.[۶۸] این در حالیست که بر اساس قانون اساسی جمهوری آذربایجان تمام اقوام ساکن این کشور از حق آموزش به زبان مادری و حفظ فرهنگ بومی برخوردارند.[۶۹] اما این اصل قانون اساسی کشور به درستی توسط دولت به اجرا در نیامده و شورای اروپا نیز در گزارش سال ۲۰۰۹ خود تلاش دولت این کشور را برای حفظ تنوع فرهنگی و فرهنگ‌های قومی کم دانسته‌است.[۷۰]

لزگی‌ها[ویرایش]

لزگی‌ها جزو اقوام بومی قفقازی هستند که به یکی از زبان‌های خانواده قفقازی تکلم می‌کنند. برای نمونه پروفسور سوانته کرنل می‌گوید:" این آمارها نشانگر نظرات رسمی دولت هست، ولی در واقعیت شمار لزگی‌ها روشن نیست. هرچند مقامات رسمی آن را صد و هشتاد هزار نفر ذکر می‌کنند اما منابع دیگری تعداد لزگی‌ها را بسیار بیشتر دانسته و آن را در حدود هفتصد هزار نفر می‌دانند.[۶۶] همچنین در آمار اتنولوگ، حدود لزگی‌ها در جمهوری آذربایجان ۳۶۴٫۰۰۰ نفر ذکر شده‌است.[۷۱]

برپایه آمار رسمی جمهوری آذربایجان جمعیت لزگی‌ها ۱۷۸۰۲۱ هزار نفر است.[۷۲]

به قول پروفسور کرنول، نریمان رمضانُف یکی از رهبران سیاسی لزگی می‌گوید که هرچند بسیاری از تالش‌ها، تات‌ها و کردها زبانشان را به خاطر سیاست‌های آسیمیلاسیون باخته‌اند، ولی لزگی‌ها به خاطر روابط با داغستان (که سیاست آسیمیله شدن دولت جمهوری آذربایجان در آن وجود ندارد) توانسته‌اند زبان و فرهنگ خود را بهتر حفظ کنند.[۷۳]

کردها[ویرایش]

کردها یکی از اقوام ایرانی هستند که زیر فشار سخت آسیمیله، شمار آن‌ها در دوران شوروی و پس از آن کاهش یافته‌است؛ به گونه‌ای که اگر یک فرد کرد به جای این‌که خود را یک آذربایجانی معرفی کند، بر هویت قومی خویش پافشاری می‌کرد، قادر به پیداکردن شغل نبود.[۷۴]

پروفسور کرنل در رابطه با جمعیت کردها می‌گوید: «آمار کردها بسیار است، برخی آن را حدود ده درصد از جمعیت کشور برشمرده‌اند».[۷۵] برخی از منابع کرد به وجود ۲۰۰٬۰۰۰ نفر کرد در جمهوری آذربایجان اشاره می‌کنند؛ اما در آمار رسمی گفته شده که تنها ۱۲٬۰۰۰ نفر کرد در این کشور زندگی می‌کنند؛ دلیل این امر آن است که پس از سال ۱۹۳۰ به تدریج منابع دولتی قومیت اکثر کردها را از روی عمد آذربایجانی عنوان کرده‌اند.[۷۶]

تالش‌ها[ویرایش]

طبق دانشنامهٔ ایران، بیشترین تراکم جمعیت روستاییان در این کشور در نواحی واقع در جنوب شرقی آن است که اکثریت این جمعیت را هم تالش‌ها (که آنها نیز ایرانی‌تبارند) تشکیل می‌دهند و بسیاری از آداب رسوم کهن خود را هم حفظ کرده‌اند.[۵۷]

آمار سال ۱۹۲۶ شوروی (در رابطه با کم شمردن این آمار به بخش تات‌ها در همین مقاله بنگرید)، تعداد تالشها را ۷۷٫۰۳۹ نفر ذکر کرده‌است.[۷۷] آمار سال ۱۹۵۹ تالش‌ها را ذکر نکرده و آنها را جزو آذربایجانی‌ها شمرده‌است. سپس در سال ۱۹۹۹ (آمار رسمی جمهوری آذربایجان) تعداد تالشها ۷۶٫۸۰۰ نفر شمرده شده‌است (یعنی کمتر از سال ۱۹۲۶). امروزه نیز مقامات جمهوری آذربایجان تعداد تالش‌ها را همان ۷۶٫۸۰۰ نفر برمی‌شمرند. اما از دیدگاه بسیاری از پژوهشگران تعداد تالش‌ها بسیار بیشتر از این می‌باشد و این ارقام تنها ناشی از کم شماری اقلیت‌های قومی توسط دولت است.[۷۷] پروفسور وارتان گریگوریان این آمار سازی مقامات جمهوری آذربایجان را یک تحریف می‌داند[۷۸].

همچنین پروفسور کرنول می‌گوید که حداقل ۲۰۰٫۰۰۰ تا ۴۰۰٫۰۰۰ تالشی در جمهوری آذربایجان وجود دارد[۷۹]. بر اساس آمار اتنولوگ در سال ۱۹۹۶ تعداد تالش‌ها در این کشور حدود ۸۰۰ هزار نفر، لزگی‌ها ۳۶۴ هزار نفر و کردها ۲۰ هزار نفر بوده‌است.[۷۱] پروفسور وارتان گریگوریان (استاد دانشگاه و رئیس چند دانشگاه آمریکا) مقاله مفصلی در رابطه با آسیمیله کردن تالش‌ها به دست شوروی و مقامات جمهوری آذربایجان نوشته‌است.[۷۸]

در کل دو علت برای کم شمردن تالش‌ها ذکر شده‌است: اول از همه فشار بر هویت تالش در دوران شوروی و دوم حساسیت برانگیختن از اینکه کسی خود را غیر آذربایجانی معرفی کند[۸۰].

تات‌ها[ویرایش]

زبان تات‌های قفقاز فارسی است[۸۱] و آن که در ایران، تاتی نامیده می‌شود نیست.

دولت جمهوری آذربایجان در سال ۱۹۹۹ میلادی، جمعیت تات‌های آذربایجان را تنها ۱۰٬۹۲۲ نفر اعلام کرده‌است.[۸۲]

این در حالی‌است که تا قرن بیستم تعداد تات‌زبان‌ها بسیار بیشتر بوده‌است. برای نمونه در آمار سال ۱۸۸۶، شمار تات‌ها ۱۲۰٫۰۰۰ نفر ذکر شده‌است.[۸۳] اما پس از حکومت شوروی، در سال ۱۹۲۶، تعداد تات‌ها به ۲۸٫۵۰۰ تقلیل یافت.[۸۳] بنابر نظر این منبع، تعداد تات‌ها به خاطر سیاست آسیمیله کاهش یافته‌است.

عباس قلیخان باکیخانوف (قرن نوزدهم) نیز زبان «مملکت باکو» به علاوه چند نقطه دیگر را نیز تاتی ذکر کرده‌است[۸۴]. درصفحه ۱۸ کتاب مذکور آمده‌است: هشت قریه در طبرسران که جلقان و روکال و مقاطیر و کماخ و زیدیان و حمیدی و مطاعی و بیلحدی باشد، در حوالی شهری که انوشیروان در محل متصل به دربند تعمیر کرده بود و آثار آن هنوز معلوم است، زبان تات دارند. ایضاً در صفحه ۱۹ کتاب یاد شده آمده‌است: محالات واقع در میان بلوکین‌شماخی و قدیال که حالا شهر قبه‌است، مثل حوض و لاهج و قشونلو در شیروان و برمک و شش پاره و پایین بدوق در قبه و تمام مملکت باکو سوای شش قریهٔ تراکمه، همین زبان تات را دارند… قسم قربی مملکت قبه سوای قریهٔ خنالق که ربانی علی‌حده دارد و ناحیهٔ سموریه و کوره دو محال طبرسران که دره و احمدلو می‌باشند به اصطلاحات منطقه، زبان مخصوص دارند و اهالی ترک‌زبان را مغول می‌نامند.[۸۵]

فرهنگ و هنر[ویرایش]

فرهنگ مردم جمهوری آذربایجان بنا به موقعیت جغرافیایی و میراث تاریخی متأثر از فرهنگهای مختلف منطقه قفقاز و خاورمیانه از جمله فرهنگهای ایرانی، ترکی، روسی و اسلامی است. در سال ۲۰۰۹ باکو از طرف سازمانهای یونسکو به عنوان پایتخت فرهنگی جهان اسلام معرفی شد.[۳۳] و امروزه فرهنگ غربی با شدت بسیار رایج می‌گردد. بجز اکثریت آذربایجانی اقوام متفاوتی همچون ارمنی‌ها، کردها و تالشی‌ها در جنوب و شرق و لزگی‌ها و یهودی هاو تات‌ها در شمال به رنگارنگی زبانها و فرهنگ رایج افزوده‌اند. نرخ باسوادی در این کشور ۹۸٪ ذکر شده‌است.[۸۶] برگزاری جشن نوروز و موسیقی مقام نشانه‌های نزدیکی و تأثیر ماندگار و تاریخی به فرهنگ ایرانی هستند. از لحاظ ادبیات نیز شعرایی مانند خاقانی شروانی و نظامی گنجوی از خاک جمهوری آذربایجان فعلی برخاسته‌اند و تأثیرهای اساسی در ادبیات فارسی داشته‌اند.

سینما[ویرایش]

سینما در جمهوری آذربایجان ریشه تاریخی دارد و اولین کشور مسلمانی است که در آن فیلم ساخته شده‌است. سه سال پس از نمایش اولین فیلم در فرانسه، فیلمی در جمهوری آذربایجان ساخته شد.[۸۷]

موسیقی[ویرایش]

جمهوری آذربایجان از لحاظ موسیقی غنی است، انواع موسیقی در این کشور رایج است:[۸۸]

مسابقه آواز یورویژن در سال ۲۰۱۲ (به انگلیسی: Eurovision Song Contest ۲۰۱۲)پنجاه و هفتمین دوره سالانه مسابقه یوروویژن است که با برنده شدن آذربایجان در سال ۲۰۱۱ و با ترانه "Running Scared" یاًدوران ترسیده" با اجرای دو هنرمند آذربایجانی اِلدار و نگار این سری مسابقات در جمهوری آذربایجان و در شهر باکو و در تالار نوساز " کریستال " این شهر برگزار گردید. با توجه به تصمیم EBU پایان این مسابقه در ۲۶ ماه مه ۲۰۱۲ میلادی، برابر با شنبه ۶ خرداد سال ۱۳۹۱ هجری شمسی برگزار گردید.[۸۹] ۴۲ کشور در این نوبت از مسابقه شرکت کرده بودند و ترانه " سرخوشی " از لوریَن از کشور سوئد برنده این مسابقه شد. روسیه با گروه " مادر بزرگها " مقام دوم و صربستان هم مقام سوم را از آن خود کرده آذربایجان هم چهارم شد.

ورزش[ویرایش]

در سال ۲۰۱۵ بازی‌های سالانهٔ اروپایی در این کشور برگزار شد.

سرود ملی[ویرایش]

!Azərbaycan, Azərbaycan

!Ey qəhrəman övladın şanlı Vətəni

!Səndən ötrü can verməyə cümlə hazırız

!Səndən ötrü qan tökməyə cümlə qadiriz

!Üç rəngli bayragınla məsud yaşa

,Minlərlə can qurban oldu

!Sinən hərbə meydan oldu

!Hüququndan keçən əsgər

!Hərə bir gəhrəman oldu

,Sən olasan gülüstan

!Sənə hər an can qurban

,Sənə min bir məhəbbət

!Sinəmdə tutmuş məkan

,Namusunu hifz etməyə

,Bayrağını yüksəltməyə

!Cümlə gənclər müstaqdır

!Şanlı Vətən, Şanlı Vətən

!Azərbaycan, Azərbaycan

آذربایجان، آذربایجان!

ای میهن سرفراز فرزندان قهرمان!

همگی آماده جان دادن در راه تو هستیم!

همگی توانای نبرد در راه تو هستیم!

با پرچم سه‌رنگت شاد زی!

هزاران جان فدایت شد،

سینه‌ات عرصه نبرد شد!

سربازانی که در راهت جنگیدند،

هر کدام قهرمانی شدند!

تا تو گلستان شوی،

هر لحظه جان فدایت کنیم!

هزاران عشق و محبت به تو

در سینه‌ام جای گرفته‌است!

از برای حفظ ناموست،

از برای برافراشتن پرچمت،

تمام جوانان مشتاقند!

میهن سرفراز! وطن سرفراز!

آذربایجان، آذربایجان!

آشپزی[ویرایش]

جستارهای وابسته[ویرایش]

نگارخانه[ویرایش]

منابع[ویرایش]

  1. Censuses of Republic of Azerbaijan 1979, 1989, 1999, 2009, The State Statistical Committee of the Republic of Azerbaijan
  2. http://www.advantour.com/azerbaijan/emblem.htm
  3. Azerbaijan International Monetary Fund
  4. E. Cornell, Svante (2006). The Politicization of Islam in Azerbaijan. Silk Road Paper. pp. 124, 222, 229, 269–270.
  5. http://books.google.com/books?id=FfRYRwAACAAJ&dq=Russia+and+Iran+in+the+great+game:+travelogues+and+orientalism
  6. CIA - The World Factbook - Azerbaijan
  7. http://files.preslib.az/projects/remz/pdf_en/atr_din.pdf
  8. آذربایجان کجاست؟، نوشته دکتر جلال متینی، نشریه ایران‌شناسی، پاییز 1368، سال اول، شماره سوم، صص 462-443
  9. I. Ovchinnikov, "The Test is Canceled, History Reminded!", Izvestia, The Current Digest of the Soviet Press, XL, No. 23, 1988, P.22, Moskva, June 10 1988
  10. ۱۰٫۰ ۱۰٫۱ ۱۰٫۲ رضا، عنایت الله، «آذربایجان شوروی»، دائرةالمعارف بزرگ اسلامی، جلد ۱، چاپ اول: تهران، ۱۳۶۷ ش، ص۲۳۷–۲۴۳
  11. دریایی، تورج. «نامه‌ای به طراح تقسیم ایران». بی‌بی‌سی، 2012-09-19. بایگانی‌شده از نسخهٔ اصلی در 2012-10-02. بازبینی‌شده در 2012-10-02. 
  12. واحدی، الیاس. برآورد استراتژیک آذربایجان. تهران: ابرار معاصر تهران، 1382. 17. 
  13. Azerbaijan:Biodiversity
  14. ۱۴٫۰ ۱۴٫۱ The State Statistical Committee of the Republic of Azerbaijan
  15. ۱۵٫۰ ۱۵٫۱ Azhydromet.com - de beste bron van informatie over az hydro met
  16. Jawbones and Dragon Legends: Azerbaijan's Prehistoric Azikh Cave by Dr. Arif Mustafayev
  17. https://archive.is/20121212005248/lcweb2.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/r?frd/cstdy:@field(DOCID+az0014)
  18. https://archive.is/20121213090426/lcweb2.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query2/r?frd/cstdy:@field(DOCID+az0015)
  19. http://www.iranicaonline.org/newsite/articles/v1f8/v1f8a022.html Encyclopædia Iranica
  20. http://www.caucasianhistory.org/eng Caucasian Albania
  21. Cyril Toumanoff. Review of C. J. F. Dowsett's "The History of Caucasian Albanians by Movsēs Dasxuranci" , Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, Vol. 25, No. 1/3. (1962), p. 366
  22. http://books.google.com/books?id=-eMcn6Ik1v0C&pg=PA7&sig=njHz1tUfPk-uqSpdUzHIbL99wvg#v=onepage&q=&f=false
  23. https://archive.is/20121212025029/lcweb2.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/r?frd/cstdy:@field(DOCID+az0017)
  24. https://archive.is/20121212001205/lcweb2.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/r?frd/cstdy:@field(DOCID+az0018)
  25. https://archive.is/20121212060203/lcweb2.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query2/r?frd/cstdy:@field(DOCID+az0018)
  26. Giovanni Guaita (2001). "Armenia between the Bolshevik hammer and Kemalist anvil". 1700 Years of Faithfulness: History of Armenia and its Churches. Moscow: FAM. ISBN 5-89831-013-4. "In March 1920 a terrible pogrom took place in Shushi, organized by Azerbaijanis with the support of Turkish forces. Azerbaijani and Soviet authorities during the decades will deny and try to hush up the mass killings of about 30000 Armenians"
  27. Russian analysts Igor Babanov and Konstantin Voevodsky write that "On March, 1920, during the occupation of Shusha town, 30 thousand Armenians were massacred". / Игорь Бабанов, Константин Воеводский, Карабахский кризис, Санкт-Петербург, 1992
  28. https://archive.is/20121212013641/lcweb2.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query2/r?frd/cstdy:@field(DOCID+az0019)
  29. ۲۹٫۰ ۲۹٫۱ http://www.cgie.org.ir/shavadn.asp?id=391&avaid=2276
  30. «شبکه اطلاع‌رسانی ساختمان ایران». 
  31. «پایگاه خبری سبد نیوز». 
  32. http://www.e-unwto.org/content/r13521/fulltext.pdf
  33. ۳۳٫۰ ۳۳٫۱ ۳۳٫۲ ۳۳٫۳ «خبر انلاین». بازبینی‌شده در مه ۲۰۱۱. 
  34. Власти Азербайджана обеспокоены состоянием исторических памятников в Нагорном Карабахе (روسی)
  35. گزارش بانک جهانی: جمهوری آذربایجان در رتبه نخست اصلاحات اقتصادی جهان
  36. Azerbaijan: Short History of Statehood, Embassy of Republic of Azerbaijan in Pakistan, 2005, Chapter 3.
  37. Creation of National Army in 1918 (روسی).
  38. Law of the Republic of Azerbaijan on Armed Forces, No. 210-XII, 9 October 1991 (روسی).
  39. C. W. Blandy Azerbaijan: Is War Over Nagornyy Karabakh a Realistic Option? Advanced Research and Assessment Group. Caucasus Series 08/17. — Defence Academy of the United Kingdom, 2008, p.12
  40. "CIA World factbook Azerbaijan". 
  41. "AxisGlobe.com". AxisGlobe.com. 2009-12-21. Retrieved 2010-06-30. 
  42. "Azerbaijani parliament voted in March to double the number of Azerbaijani peacekeepers serving in Afghanistan to 184". eurasianet.org. Retrieved 2007-05-27. 
  43. Карабахский детонатор на взводе - В Баку и Ереване все четче звучит воинственная риторика
  44. "Azerbaijan manufacturing arms". 
  45. "Azerbaijan to manufacture its own aircraft and helicopters". 
  46. "Azerbaijan will produce competitive tanks, aircraft and helicopters in the future". 
  47. "Azerbaijan to produce tanks, aviation bombs and pilotless vehicles in 2009". 
  48. [۱].htm "State Partnership Program Coordinator Conference Site Oklahoma – Azerbaijan"]. 
  49. - مقامات جمهوری آذربایجان: به دنبال تجزیه ایران هستیم
  50. azerireport.com - Azerbaijan Belongs On Obama's List Of Violators Of Press Freedom
  51. 'فشار بر منتقدان جمهوری آذربایجان زیاد می‌شود' بی‌بی‌سی فارسی، ۳۰ مهر ۱۳۹۳
  52. Statistical Yearbook of Azerbaijan 2006, State Statistical Committee, Baku, table 2.6, p. 69
  53. The Population of Azerbaijan
  54. Censuses of Republic of Azerbaijan 1979, 1989, 1999, 2009
  55. ۵۵٫۰ ۵۵٫۱ سازمان سیا - جمهوری آذربایجان
  56. [۲]
  57. ۵۷٫۰ ۵۷٫۱ «آذَرْبایْجان، جُمْهوری»، دانشنامهٔ ایران، وبگاه مرکز دائرةالمعارف بزرگ اسلامی
  58. http://www.eva.mpg.de/genetics/pdf/Y-paper.pdf
  59. CIA - The World Factbook
  60. Azerbaijan - Population and Ethnic Composition
  61. Intute - World Guide - Azerbaijan
  62. Administrative Department of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan - Presidential Library - Religion
  63. ۶۳٫۰ ۶۳٫۱ http://pewforum.org/newassets/images/reports/Muslimpopulation/Muslimpopulation.pdf
  64. CIA - The World Factbook
  65. Azerbaijan: State Hounds Muslim Leaders، بازدید: آوریل ۲۰۱۰
  66. ۶۶٫۰ ۶۶٫۱ Cornell, Svante E. Small Nations and Great Powers: A Study of Ethnopolitical Conflict in the Caucasus. Richmond, Surrey,, GBR: Curzon Press Limited, 2000. p 262. Where as officially the number of Lezgins registered as such in Azerbaijan is around ۱۸۰٬۰۰۰ the Lezgins claim that the number of Lezgins registerd in Azerbaijan is much higher than this figure, some accounts showing over ۷۰۰٬۰۰۰ Lezgins in Azerbaijan. These figures are denied by the Azerbaijani government, but in private many Azeris acknowledge the fact that the Lezgins – for that matter the Talysh or the Kurdish-population of Azerbaijan is far higher than the official figures... For the Lezgins in Azerbaijan, the existence of ethnic kin in Dagestan is of high importance. Nariman Ramazanov, one of the Lezgin political leaders, has argued that whereas the Talysh, Tats, and Kurds of Azerbaijan lost much of their language and ethnic identity, the Lezgins have been able to preserve theirs by their contacts with Dagestan, where there was naturally no policy of Azeri assimilation. …. The Lezgin problem remains one of the most acute and unpredictable of the contemporary Caucasus. This said, the conditions for a peaceful resolution of the conflict are present. No past conflict nor heavy mutual prejudices make management of the conflict impossible; nor has ethnic mobilization taken place to a significant extent. Hence there are no actual obstacles to a de-escalation of the conflict at the popular level. At the political level, however, the militancy of Sadval and the strict position of the Azeri government give cause for worry, and may prevent the settlement of the conflict through a compromise such as a freetrading zone. The Lezgin problem needs to be monitored and followed in closer detail, and its continued volatility is proven by the tension surrounding a recent Lezgin congress in Dagestan.
  67. Christina Bratt (EDT) Paulston, Donald Peckham (eds.), Linguistic Minorities in Central and Eastern Europe, Multilingual Matters publisher, 1998, ISBN 1-85359-416-4, p. 106 1993 there was an attempt officially to restore the Latin script; very few people advocated the Arabic script. Kryzi and Khinalug speakers, as well as most Tsakhurs, are bilingual and tend to assimilate with the Azeris. The same is true of the Tat speakers, and slightly less about the Talysh. At least there is no official recognition, teaching or publishing in these languages in any form. Lezghins in Azerbaijan are struggling very determinedly for their linguistic revival, but with little success. Generally there is a prevailing policy of forceful assimilation of all minorities, including the Talysh, Tat, Kurds and Lezgins. There is little or no resistance to assimilation from the Kryzi, Khinalug, Tsakhurs or Tat, and not much resistance from the Talysh. There are some desperate efforts of resistance from the Udin, stubborn resistance from the Kurds, and an extremely active struggle from the Lezgins, who want to separate Lezgin populated districts both from Dagestan and Azerbaijan in order to create an autonomous republic with Lezgin as the state language.
  68. Cornell, Svante E. Small Nations and Great Powers: A Study of Ethnopolitical Conflict in the Caucasus. Richmond, Surrey,, GBR: Curzon Press Limited, 2000. p 49. Further, Many Kurds, Lezgins, Talysh in Azerbaijan were assimilated into the Azerbaijani identity
  69. http://www.un-az.org/doc/constitution.doc
  70. http://ec.europa.eu/world/enp/pdf/progress2009/sec09_512_en.pdf The legislative and institutional framework for the protection of national minorities remains insufficient. Issues of concern include the lack of comprehensive anti-discriminatory legislation and limited possibilities for national minorities to effectively channel their views and concerns to the authorities, as well as reported cases of intolerance faced by persons or organisations advocating minority rights. Some national minorities continue to face discrimination. Like last year, there was no progress towards ratification of the Protocol n° ۱۲ of the ECHR on the general prohibition of discrimination or of the European Charter on Minority Languages.
  71. ۷۱٫۰ ۷۱٫۱ Ethnologue report for Azerbaijan
  72. 27 فوریه 1999 census of Azerbaijan
  73. Cornell, Svante E. Small Nations and Great Powers: A Study of Ethnopolitical Conflict in the Caucasus. Richmond, Surrey,, GBR: Curzon Press Limited, 2000 pg 259: For the lezgins in Azerbaijan, the existence of ethnic kin in Daghestan is of high importance. Nariman Ramazonov, one of the Lezgin political leaders, has argued that whereas the Talysh, Tats and Kurds of Azerbaijan lost much of their language and ethnic identity, the Lezgins have been able to preserve theirs by their contacts with Daghestan, where there was no natural policy of Azeri assimilation.
  74. Ismet Chériff Vanly, “The Kurds in the Soviet Union”, in: Philip G. Kreyenbroek & S. Sperl (eds.), The Kurds: A Contemporary Overview (London: Routledge, ۱۹۹۲ “Not only did Turkey and Azerbaijan pursue an identical policy, both employed identical techniques, e.g. forced assimilation, manipulation of population figures, settlement of non-Kurds in areas predominantly Kurdish, suppression of publications and abolition of Kurdish as a medium of instruction in schools. A familiar Soviet technique was also used: Kurdish historical figures such as Sharaf Khan of Bitlis and Ahmad Khani and the Shaddadid dynasty as a whole were described as Azeris. Kurds who retained “Kurdish”as their nationality on their internal passports as opposed to “Azeri”were unable to find employment. ”
  75. Cornell, Svante E. Small Nations and Great Powers: A Study of Ethnopolitical Conflict in the Caucasus. Richmond, Surrey,, GBR: Curzon Press Limited, 2000 pg 21:The Kurdish population is also substanial, according to some sources over 10 percent of the population; in the south there is a substantial community of Iranian ethnic group, of Talysh, possible some 200000-400000 people.
  76. According to Thomas de Waal: Smaller indigenous Caucasian nationalities, such as Kurds, also complained of assimilation. In the 1920s, Azerbaijan's Kurds had had their own region, known as Red Kurdistan, to the west of Nagorny Karabakh; in 1930, it was abolished and most Kurds were progressively recategorized as "Azerbaijani." A Kurdish leader estimates that there are currently as many as ۲۰۰٬۰۰۰ Kurds in Azerbaijan, but official statistics record only about ۱۲٬۰۰۰.
  77. ۷۷٫۰ ۷۷٫۱ Hema Kotecha, Islamic and Ethnic Identities in Azerbaijan: Emerging trends and tensions, OSCE, Baku, July 2006 [۳] According to the census of 1926, there were ۷۷٬۰۳۹ Talysh in Soviet Azerbaijan. 1959 and following censuses do not mention the Talysh who became officially Azerbaijanis and this has been the case ever since. Nevertheless, the Talysh language was acknowledged as a mother tongue by ۱۰٬۵۰۰ people in 1959. According to data from 1983, nearly ۱۰۰٬۰۰۰ Talysh live in Iran. Only in 1989 did the census register the Talysh ethnicity. ۷۶٬۸۰۰ in Azerbaijan is the 1999 official population, undoubtedly an under-representation (given the problems with registering as Talysh) and some claim a current population of ۵۰۰٬۰۰۰ living in the southern regions of Azerbaijan.131 (Talysh also inhabit the north-western areas of Iran – Gilan province and some of Ardebil).
  78. ۷۸٫۰ ۷۸٫۱ مجله ایران‌شناسی دوره۳/(۱۳۷۱) بتسدا(Bethesda)آمریکا/ رویه‌های ۶۰۲ تا۶۱۱/ سرنوشت تلخ تالش‌ها در آذربایجان شوروی-ادغام داوطلبانه! یا تقلب و تزویر/وارتان گریگوریان/ [۴]
  79. Cornell, Svante E. Small Nations and Great Powers: A Study of Ethnopolitical Conflict in the Caucasus. Richmond, Surrey,, GBR: Curzon Press Limited, 2000. p 308. In the south there is a substantial community of the Iranian ethnic group, of Talysh, possibly some ۲۰۰٬۰۰۰ –۴۰۰٬۰۰۰ people.
  80. Hema Kotecha, Islamic and Ethnic Identities in Azerbaijan: Emerging trends and tensions, OSCE, Baku, July 2006 [۵] pg 8 The suppression of Talysh identity (predominant in the south) during the Soviet period led to a situation in which the Talysh ethnicity is unquantifiable (yet the population with the largest growth rate in the country). This is also partly due to a reluctance to claim Talysh identity (influenced by a stigma against publicly pronouncing non-Azerbaijani identity) and the diminishing use of Talysh language, except in places which are relatively remote and unintegrated. Nationalists seem fairly marginalised.
  81. Gernot Windfuhr, "Persian Grammer: history and state of its study", Walter de Gruyter, 1979. pg 4:""Tat- Persian spoken in the East Caucasus""
  82. http://unstats.un.org/unsd/demographic/products/dyb/dybcensus/V2_table4.xls
  83. ۸۳٫۰ ۸۳٫۱ “In the nineteenth century the Tats were settled in large homogeneous groups. The intensive processes of assimilation by the Turkic-speaking Azerbaijanis cut back the territory and numbers of the Tats. In 1886 they numbered more than ۱۲۰٬۰۰۰ in Azerbaijan and ۳٬۶۰۰ in Daghestan. According to the census of 1926 the number of Tats in Azerbaijan (despite the effect of natural increase) had dropped to ۲۸٬۵۰۰, although there were also ۳۸٬۳۰۰ “Azerbaijanis”with Tat as their native language. ” (Natalia G. Volkova “Tats”in Encyclopedia of World Culture, Editor: David Publisher, New York: G.K. Hall, Prentice Hall International, 1991-1996).
  84. Abbas Qoli Agha Bakikhanov, a 19th century literary figure from the Caucasia mentions in his Golestan Iram large number of Tats in the area around Baku: There are eight villages in Tabarsaran which are: Jalqan, Rukan, Maqatir, Kamakh, Ridiyan, Homeydi, Mata'i, and Bilhadi. They are in the environs of a city that Anushiravan built near the wall of Darband. Its remains are still there. They speak the Tat language, which is one of the languages of Old Persia. It is clear that they are from the people of Fars and after its destruction they settled in those villages...The districts situated between the two cities of Shamakhi and Qodyal, which is now the city of Qobbeh, include Howz, Lahej, and Qoshunlu in Shirvan and Barmak, Sheshpareh and the lower part of Boduq in Qobbeh, and all the country of Baku, except six villages of Turkmen, speak Tat. it becomes apparent from this that they originate from Fars. (Floor, Willem. and Javadi, Hasan. i(۲۰۰۹), "The Heavenly Rose-Garden: A History of Shirvan & Daghestan by Abbas Qoli Aqa Bakikhanov, Mage Publishers, 2009) Original Persian: درصفحه ۱۸ کتاب مذکور آمده‌است: هشت قریه در طبرسران که جلقان و روکال و مقاطیر و کماخ و زیدیان و حمیدی و مطاعی و بیلحدی باشد، در حوالی شهری که انوشیروان در محل متصل به دربند تعمیر کرده بود و آثار آن هنوز معلوم است، زبان تات دارند. ایضاً در صفحه ۱۹ کتاب یاد شده آمده‌است: محالات واقع در میان بلوکین‌شماخی و قدیال که حالا شهر قبه‌است، مثل حوض و لاهج و قشونلو در شیروان و برمک و شش پاره و پایین بدوق در قبه و تمام مملکت باکو سوای شش قریهٔ تراکمه، همین زبان تات را دارند… قسم قربی مملکت قبه سوای قریهٔ خنالق که ربانی علی‌حده دارد و ناحیهٔ سموریه و کوره دو محال طبرسران که دره و احمدلو می‌باشند به اصطلاحات منطقه، زبان مخصوص دارند و اهالی ترک‌زبان را مغول می‌نامند. (Gulistan-i Iram, Baki Khanuf, “Gulistan-i Iram”, matn-i ilmi - intiqadi bi-sayy va ihtimam: Abd al-Karim Ali-zadah[va digaran],Bakku: Idarah-i intisharat-i Ilm, 1970.)
  85. گلستان-ارم - متن علمی - انتشارات علم (Gulistan-i Iram, Baki Khanuf, “Gulistan-i Iram”, matn-i ilmi - intiqadi bi-sayy va ihtimam: Abd al-Karim Ali-zadah[va digaran],Bakku: Idarah-i intisharat-i Ilm, 1970.)
  86. Ethnologue report for Azerbaijan
  87. The Pre-Soviet Era: Celebrating 100 Years in Film, Not 80-Aydin Kazimzade
  88. Musiqi - AzeriMusic.Net
  89. . http://www.eurovision.tv/page/news?id=35383&_t=the_organisers_of_the_eurovision_song_contest_whats_up. 
  90. 6.3 The Bibi-Heybat Mosque: When Legends Shape Reality

پیوند به بیرون[ویرایش]


Republic of Azerbaijan
Azərbaycan Respublikası  (Azerbaijani)
Anthem: 
Location of Azerbaijan (green) and Nagorno-Karabakh[a] (light green).
Location of Azerbaijan (green) and Nagorno-Karabakh[a] (light green).
Capital
and largest city
Baku
40°25′N 49°50′E / 40.417°N 49.833°E / 40.417; 49.833
Official languages Azerbaijani
Ethnic minority languages Armenian (only in Nagorno-Karabakh), Avar, Budukh, Georgian, Juhuri, Khinalug, Kryts, Kurdish, Lezgian, Russian, Rutul, Talysh, Tat, Tsakhur and Udi
Demonym Azerbaijani
Government Unitary dominant-party semi-presidential republic[1]
Ilham Aliyev
Mehriban Aliyeva
Artur Rasizade
Legislature National Assembly
Formation
28 May 1918
28 April 1920
• Independence from Soviet Union
30 August 1991 (declared)
18 October 1991 (independence)
25 December 1991 (completed)
21 December 1991
2 March 1992
• Constitution adopted
12 November 1995
Area
• Total
86,600 km2 (33,400 sq mi) (112th)
• Water (%)
1.6
Population
• 2017 estimate
9,867,250[2] (91st)
• Density
113/km2 (292.7/sq mi) (99th)
GDP (PPP) 2017 estimate
• Total
$166.804 billion[3] (72nd)
• Per capita
$17,432[3] (71st)
GDP (nominal) 2017 estimate
• Total
$39.207 billion[3]
• Per capita
$4,097[3]
Gini (2008) 31.8[4]
medium
HDI (2015) Increase 0.759[5]
high · 78th
Currency Manat (₼) (AZN)
Time zone AZT (UTC+04)
Drives on the right
Calling code +994
ISO 3166 code AZ
Internet TLD .az

Azerbaijan (/ˌæzərbˈɑːn/ AZ-ər-by-JAHN; Azerbaijani: Azərbaycan [ɑzæɾbɑjˈd͡ʒɑn]), officially the Republic of Azerbaijan (Azerbaijani: Azərbaycan Respublikası [ɑzæɾbɑjˈd͡ʒɑn ɾespublikɑˈsɯ]), is a country in the South Caucasus region, situated at the crossroads of Southwest Asia and Southeastern Europe.[6] It is bound by the Caspian Sea to the east, Russia to the north, Georgia to the northwest, Armenia to the west and Iran to the south. The exclave of Nakhchivan is bound by Armenia to the north and east, Iran to the south and west, and has an 11 km long border with Turkey in the north west.

The Azerbaijan Democratic Republic proclaimed its independence in 1918 and became the first democratic state in the Muslim-oriented world. The country was incorporated into the Soviet Union in 1920 as the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic.[7][8] The modern Republic of Azerbaijan proclaimed its independence on 30 August 1991,[9] prior to the official dissolution of the USSR in December 1991. In September 1991, the Armenian majority of the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region seceded to form the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic.[10] The region and seven adjacent districts outside it became de facto independent with the end of the Nagorno-Karabakh War in 1994. These regions are internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan pending a solution to the status of the Nagorno-Karabakh, found through negotiations facilitated by the OSCE.[11][12][13][14]

Azerbaijan is a unitary semi-presidential republic.[1] The country is a member state of the Council of Europe, the OSCE and the NATO Partnership for Peace (PfP) program. It is one of six independent Turkic states, an active member of the Turkic Council and the TÜRKSOY community. Azerbaijan has diplomatic relations with 158 countries and holds membership in 38 international organizations.[15] It is one of the founding members of GUAM, the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS)[16] and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. A member of the United Nations since 1992 after its independence, Azerbaijan was elected to membership in the newly established Human Rights Council by the United Nations General Assembly on 9 May 2006. Its term of office began on 19 June 2006.[17] Azerbaijan is also a member state of the Non-Aligned Movement, holds observer status in World Trade Organization, and is a correspondent at the International Telecommunication Union.[15][18]

The Constitution of Azerbaijan does not declare an official religion and all major political forces in the country are secularist. However, the majority of the population are of a Shiite Muslim background.[19] Most Azerbaijanis, however, do not actively practice any religion, and the country has been seen to be one of the most irreligious countries in the Muslim world, with 53% stating religion has little to no importance in their lives, according to Pew Research Center and Gallup polls.[20][21][22] Azerbaijan has a high level of human development which ranks on par with most Eastern European countries.[23] It has a high rate of economic development[24] and literacy,[25] as well as a low rate of unemployment.[26] However, the ruling party, the New Azerbaijan Party, has been accused of authoritarianism and human rights abuses.[27]

Etymology

Azerbaijan and its main cities

According to a modern etymology, the name of Azerbaijan derives from that of Atropates,[28][29] a Persian[30][31][32] satrap under the Achaemenid Empire, who was later reinstated as the satrap of Media under Alexander the Great.[33][34] The original etymology of this name is thought to have its roots in the once-dominant Zoroastrianism. In the Avesta, Frawardin Yasht ("Hymn to the Guardian Angels"), there is a mention of âterepâtahe ashaonô fravashîm ýazamaide, which literally translates from Avestan as "we worship the fravashi of the holy Atropatene."[35] The name "Atropates" itself is the Greek transliteration of an Old Iranian, probably Median, compounded name with the meaning "Protected by the (Holy) Fire" or "The Land of the (Holy) Fire".[36] The Greek name was mentioned by Diodorus Siculus and Strabo. Over the span of millennia the name evolved to Āturpātākān (Middle Persian) then to Ādharbādhagān, Ādharbāyagān, Āzarbāydjān (New Persian) and present-day Azerbaijan.

In 1918, the government of Musavat adopted the name "Azerbaijan" for the new Azerbaijan Democratic Republic, which was proclaimed on 27 May 1918,[37] for political reasons,[38][39] even though the name of "Azerbaijan" had always been used to refer to the adjacent region of contemporary northwestern Iran.[40][41][42] Thus, until 1918, when the Musavat regime decided to name the newly-independent state Azerbaijan, the designation had been used exclusively to identify the Iranian province of Azerbaijan.[41][42][43]

During Soviet rule, the country was also spelled in English from the Russian transliteration as "Azerbaydzhan".[44]

History

Antiquity

Petroglyphs in Gobustan National Park dating back to the 10th millennium BC indicating a thriving culture. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site considered to be of "outstanding universal value".

The earliest evidence of human settlement in the territory of Azerbaijan dates back to the late Stone Age and is related to the Guruchay culture of Azokh Cave.[45] The Upper Paleolithic and late Bronze Age cultures are attested in the caves of Tağılar, Damcılı, Zar, Yataq-yeri and in the necropolises of Leylatepe and Saraytepe.

Early settlements included the Scythians in the 9th century BC.[36] Following the Scythians, Iranian Medes came to dominate the area to the south of the Aras.[34] The Medes forged a vast empire between 900–700 BC, which was integrated into the Achaemenid Empire around 550 BC. The area was conquered by the Achaemenids leading to the spread of Zoroastrianism.[46] Later it became part of Alexander the Great's Empire and its successor, the Seleucid Empire. During this period, Zoroastrianism spread in the Caucasus and Atropatene. Caucasian Albanians, the original inhabitants of northeastern Azerbaijan, ruled that area from around the 4th century BC, and established an independent kingdom.

From the Sasanid period to the Safavid period

The Maiden Tower and The Palace of the Shirvanshahs in the Old City of Baku is a UNESCO World Heritage Site built in the 11th–12th century.
Maiden Tower
Palace of the Shirvanshahs

The Sasanian Empire turned Caucasian Albania into a vassal state in 252, while King Urnayr officially adopted Christianity as the state religion in the 4th century. Despite Sassanid rule, Albania remained an entity in the region until the 9th century, while fully subordinate to Sassanid Iran, and retained its monarchy. Despite being one of the chief vassals of the Sasanian emperor, the Albanian king had only a semblance of authority, and the Sasanian marzban (military governor) held most civil, religious, and military authority.

In the first half of the 7th century, Caucasian Albania, as a vassal of the Sasanians, came under nominal Muslim rule due to the Muslim conquest of Persia. The Umayyad Caliphate repulsed both the Sasanians and Byzantines from Transcaucasia and turned Caucasian Albania into a vassal state after Christian resistance led by King Javanshir, was suppressed in 667. The power vacuum left by the decline of the Abbasid Caliphate was filled by numerous local dynasties such as the Sallarids, Sajids, and Shaddadids. At the beginning of the 11th century, the territory was gradually seized by waves of Oghuz Turks from Central Asia. The first of these Turkic dynasties established was the Seljuk Empire, who entered the area now known as Azerbaijan by 1067.

The pre-Turkic population that lived on the territory of modern Azerbaijan spoke several Indo-European and Caucasian languages, among them Armenian[47][48][49][50][51] and an Iranian language, Old Azeri, which was gradually replaced by a Turkic language, the early precursor of the Azerbaijani language of today.[52] Some linguists have also stated that the Tati dialects of Iranian Azerbaijan and the Republic of Azerbaijan, like those spoken by the Tats, are descended from Old Azeri.[53][54] Locally, the possessions of the subsequent Seljuk Empire were ruled by Eldiguzids, technically vassals of the Seljuk sultans, but sometimes de facto rulers themselves. Under the Seljuks, local poets such as Nizami Ganjavi and Khaqani gave rise to a blossoming of Persian literature on the territory of present-day Azerbaijan.

The local dynasty of the Shirvanshahs became a vassal state of Timur's Empire, and assisted him in his war with the ruler of the Golden Horde Tokhtamysh. Following Timur's death, two independent and rival states emerged: Kara Koyunlu and Aq Qoyunlu. The Shirvanshahs returned, maintaining a high degree of autonomy as local rulers and vassals from 861, for numerous centuries to come. In 1501, the Safavid dynasty of Iran subdued the Shirvanshahs, and gained its possessions. In the course of the next century, the Safavids converted the formerly Sunni population to Shia Islam,[55][56][57] as they did with the population in what is modern-day Iran.[58] The Safavids allowed the Shirvanshahs to remain in power, under Safavid suzerainty, until 1538, when Safavid king Tahmasp I (r. 1524–1576) completely deposed them, and made the area into the Safavid province of Shirvan. The Sunni Ottomans briefly managed to occupy parts of present-day Azerbaijan as a result of the Ottoman-Safavid War of 1578–1590; by the early 17th century, they were ousted by Safavid Iranian ruler Abbas I (r. 1588–1629). In the wake of the demise of the Safavid Empire, Baku and its environs were briefly occupied by the Russians as a consequence of the Russo-Persian War of 1722–1723. Despite brief intermissions such as these by Safavid Iran's neighboring rivals, the land of what is today Azerbaijan remained under Iranian rule from the earliest advent of the Safavids up to the course of the 19th century.

Contemporary history

Territories of the khanates (and sultanates) in the 18th–19th century

After the Safavids, the area was ruled by the Iranian Afsharid dynasty. After the death of Nader Shah (r. 1736–1747), many of his former subjects capitalized on the eruption of instability. Numerous self-ruling khanates with various forms of autonomy[59][60][61][62][63] emerged in the area. These rulers of these khanates were directly related to the ruling dynasties of Iran, and were vassals and subjects of the Iranian shah.[64] The khanates exercised control over their affairs via international trade routes between Central Asia and the West.[65]

Thereafter, the area was under the successive rule of the Iranian Zands and Qajars.[66] From the late 18th century, Imperial Russia switched to a more aggressive geo-political stance towards its two neighbors and rivals to the south, namely Iran and the Ottoman Empire.[67] Russia now actively tried to gain possession of the Caucasus region which was, for the most part, in the hands of Iran.[68] In 1804, the Russians invaded and sacked the Iranian town of Ganja, sparking the Russo-Persian War of 1804–1813.[69] Militarily superior, the Russians ended the Russo-Persian War of 1804–1813 with a victory.

The siege of Ganja Fortress in 1804 during the Russo-Persian War of 1804–1813 by Russian forces under the leadership of General Pavel Tsitsianov

Following Qajar Iran's loss in the 1804–1813 war, it was forced to concede suzerainty over most of the khanates, along with Georgia and Dagestan to the Russian Empire, per the Treaty of Gulistan.[70]

The area to the north of the river Aras, amongst which territory lies the contemporary Republic of Azerbaijan, was Iranian territory until it was occupied by Russia in the 19th century.[7][71][72][73][74][75] About a decade later, in violation of the Gulistan treaty, the Russians invaded Iran's Erivan Khanate.[76][77] This sparked the final bout of hostilities between the two, the Russo-Persian War of 1826–1828. The resulting Treaty of Turkmenchay, forced Qajar Iran to cede sovereignty over the Erivan Khanate, the Nakhchivan Khanate and the remainder of the Lankaran Khanate,[70] comprising the last parts of the soil of the contemporary Azerbaijani Republic that were still in Iranian hands. After incorporation of all Caucasian territories from Iran into Russia, the new border between the two was set at the Aras River, which, upon the Soviet Union's disintegration, subsequently became part of the border between Iran and the Azerbaijan Republic.

Qajar Iran was forced to cede its Caucasian territories to Russia in the 19th century, which thus included the territory of the modern-day Azerbaijan Republic, while as a result of that cession, the Azerbaijani ethnic group is nowadays parted between two nations: Iran and Azerbaijan.[78] Nevertheless, the number of ethnic Azerbaijanis in Iran far outnumber those in neighbouring Azerbaijan.

After the collapse of the Russian Empire during World War I, the short-lived Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic was declared, constituting what are the present-day republics of Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Armenia.

It was followed by the March Days massacres[79][80][81] that took place between 30 March and 2 April 1918 in the city of Baku and adjacent areas of the Baku Governorate of the Russian Empire.[82] When the republic dissolved in May 1918, the leading Musavat party declared independence as the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic (ADR), adopting the name of "Azerbaijan" for the new republic; a name that prior to the proclamation of the ADR was solely used to refer to the adjacent northwestern region of contemporary Iran.[40][41][42] The ADR was the first modern parliamentary republic in the Muslim world.[7][83][84] Among the important accomplishments of the Parliament was the extension of suffrage to women, making Azerbaijan the first Muslim nation to grant women equal political rights with men.[83] Another important accomplishment of ADR was the establishment of Baku State University, which was the first modern-type university founded in the Muslim East.[83]

Map presented by the delegation of Azerbaijan in the 1919 Paris Peace Conference

By March 1920, it was obvious that Soviet Russia would attack Baku. Vladimir Lenin said that the invasion was justified as Soviet Russia could not survive without Baku's oil.[85][86] Independent Azerbaijan lasted only 23 months until the Bolshevik 11th Soviet Red Army invaded it, establishing the Azerbaijan SSR on 28 April 1920. Although the bulk of the newly formed Azerbaijani army was engaged in putting down an Armenian revolt that had just broken out in Karabakh, Azerbaijanis did not surrender their brief independence of 1918–20 quickly or easily. As many as 20,000 Azerbaijani soldiers died resisting what was effectively a Russian reconquest.[87]

On 13 October 1921, the Soviet republics of Russia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia signed an agreement with Turkey known as the Treaty of Kars. The previously independent Republic of Aras would also become the Nakhichevan Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic within the Azerbaijan SSR by the treaty of Kars. On the other hand, Armenia was awarded the region of Zangezur and Turkey agreed to return Gyumri (then known as Alexandropol).

During World War II, Azerbaijan played a crucial role in the strategic energy policy of the Soviet Union, with 80 percent of the Soviet Union's oil on the Eastern Front being supplied by Baku. By the Decree of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR in February 1942, the commitment of more than 500 workers and employees of the oil industry of Azerbaijan were awarded orders and medals. Operation Edelweiss carried out by the German Wehrmacht targeted Baku because of its importance as the energy (petroleum) dynamo of the USSR.[7] A fifth of all Azerbaijanis fought in the Second World War from 1941 to 1945. Approximately 681,000 people with over 100,000 of them women went to the front, while the total population of Azerbaijan was 3.4 million at the time.[88] Some 250,000 people from Azerbaijan were killed on the front. More than 130 Azerbaijanis were named Heroes of the Soviet Union. Azerbaijani Major-General Azi Aslanov was twice awarded the Hero of the Soviet Union.[89]

Independence

Red Army paratroops during the Black January tragedy in 1990

Following the politics of glasnost, initiated by Mikhail Gorbachev, civil unrest and ethnic strife grew in various regions of the Soviet Union, including Nagorno-Karabakh,[90] an autonomous region of the Azerbaijan SSR. The disturbances in Azerbaijan, in response to Moscow's indifference to an already heated conflict, resulted in calls for independence and secession, which culminated in the Black January events in Baku.[91] Later in 1990, the Supreme Council of the Azerbaijan SSR dropped the words "Soviet Socialist" from the title, adopted the "Declaration of Sovereignty of the Azerbaijan Republic" and restored the flag of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic as the state flag.[92] As a consequence of the failed coup which occurred in August in Moscow, on 18 October 1991, the Supreme Council of Azerbaijan adopted a Declaration of Independence which was affirmed by a nationwide referendum in December 1991, while the Soviet Union officially ceased to exist on 26 December 1991.[92]

The early years of independence were overshadowed by the Nagorno-Karabakh war with the ethnic Armenian majority of Nagorno-Karabakh backed by Armenia.[93] By the end of the hostilities in 1994, Armenians controlled up to 14–16 percent of Azerbaijani territory, including Nagorno-Karabakh itself.[94][95] During the war many atrocities were committed including the massacres at Malibeyli and Gushchular, the Garadaghly massacre, the Agdaban and the Khojaly massacres.[96][97] Furthermore, an estimated 30,000 people have been killed and more than a million people have been displaced.[98] Four United Nations Security Council Resolutions (822, 853, 874, and 884) demand for "the immediate withdrawal of all Armenian forces from all occupied territories of Azerbaijan."[99] Many Russians and Armenians left Azerbaijan during the 1990s.[100] According to the 1970 census, there were 510,000 ethnic Russians and 484,000 Armenians in Azerbaijan.[101]

In 1993, democratically elected president Abulfaz Elchibey was overthrown by a military insurrection led by Colonel Surat Huseynov, which resulted in the rise to power of the former leader of Soviet Azerbaijan, Heydar Aliyev.[102] In 1994, Surat Huseynov, by that time the prime minister, attempted another military coup against Heydar Aliyev, but he was arrested and charged with treason.[103] A year later, in 1995, another coup was attempted against Aliyev, this time by the commander of the OMON special unit, Rovshan Javadov. The coup was averted, resulting in the killing of the latter and disbanding of Azerbaijan's OMON units.[104][105] At the same time, the country was tainted by rampant corruption in the governing bureaucracy.[106] In October 1998, Aliyev was reelected for a second term. Despite the much improved economy, particularly with the exploitations of Azeri-Chirag-Guneshli oil field and Shah Deniz gas field, Aliyev's presidency was criticized due to suspected election frauds and corruption.[107]

Ilham Aliyev, Heydar Aliyev's son, became chairman of the New Azerbaijan Party as well as President of Azerbaijan when his father died in 2003. He was reelected to a third term as president in October 2013.[108]

Geography

Azerbaijan map of Köppen climate classification
Caucasus Mountains in northern Azerbaijan

Geographically Azerbaijan is located in the South Caucasus region of Eurasia, straddling Western Asia and Eastern Europe. It lies between latitudes 38° and 42° N, and longitudes 44° and 51° E. The total length of Azerbaijan's land borders is 2,648 km (1,645 mi), of which 1,007 kilometers are with Armenia, 756 kilometers with Iran, 480 kilometers with Georgia, 390 kilometers with Russia and 15 kilometers with Turkey.[109] The coastline stretches for 800 km (497 mi), and the length of the widest area of the Azerbaijani section of the Caspian Sea is 456 km (283 mi).[109] The territory of Azerbaijan extends 400 km (249 mi) from north to south, and 500 km (311 mi) from west to east.

Three physical features dominate Azerbaijan: the Caspian Sea, whose shoreline forms a natural boundary to the east; the Greater Caucasus mountain range to the north; and the extensive flatlands at the country's center. There are also three mountain ranges, the Greater and Lesser Caucasus, and the Talysh Mountains, together covering approximately 40% of the country.[110] The highest peak of Azerbaijan is mount Bazardüzü (4,466 m), while the lowest point lies in the Caspian Sea (−28 m). Nearly half of all the mud volcanoes on Earth are concentrated in Azerbaijan, these volcanoes were also among nominees for the New7Wonders of Nature.[111]

The main water sources are surface waters. However, only 24 of the 8,350 rivers are greater than 100 km (62 mi) in length.[110] All the rivers drain into the Caspian Sea in the east of the country.[110] The largest lake is Sarysu (67 km²), and the longest river is Kur (1,515 km), which is transboundary with Armenia. Azerbaijan's four main islands in the Caspian Sea have a combined area of over thirty square kilometers.

Since the independence of Azerbaijan in 1991, the Azerbaijani government has taken drastic measures to preserve the environment of Azerbaijan. But national protection of the environment started to truly improve after 2001 when the state budget increased due to new revenues provided by the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline. Within four years protected areas doubled and now make up eight percent of the country's territory. Since 2001 the government has set up seven large reserves and almost doubled the sector of the budget earmarked for environmental protection.[112]

Landscape

Mount Bazarduzu, the highest peak of Azerbaijan, as seen from Mount Shahdagh
The landscape of Khinalug valley

Azerbaijan is home to a vast variety of landscapes. Over half of Azerbaijan's land mass consists of mountain ridges, crests, yailas, and plateaus which rise up to hypsometric levels of 400–1000 meters (including the Middle and Lower lowlands), in some places (Talis, Jeyranchol-Ajinohur and Langabiz-Alat foreranges) up to 100–120 meters, and others from 0–50 meters and up (Qobustan, Absheron). The rest of Azerbaijan's terrain consist of plains and lowlands. Hypsometric marks within the Caucasus region vary from about −28 meters at the Caspian Sea shoreline up to 4,466 meters (Bazardüzü peak).[113]

The formation of climate in Azerbaijan is influenced particularly by cold arctic air masses of Scandinavian anticyclone, temperate of Siberian anticyclone, and Central Asian anticyclone.[114] Azerbaijan's diverse landscape affects the ways air masses enter the country.[114] The Greater Caucasus protects the country from direct influences of cold air masses coming from the north. That leads to the formation of subtropical climate on most foothills and plains of the country. Meanwhile, plains and foothills are characterized by high solar radiation rates.

9 out of 11 existing climate zones are present in Azerbaijan.[115] Both the absolute minimum temperature ( −33 °C or −27.4 °F ) and the absolute maximum temperature ( 46 °C or 114.8 °F ) were observed in Julfa and Ordubad – regions of Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic.[115] The maximum annual precipitation falls in Lankaran (1,600 to 1,800 mm or 63 to 71 in) and the minimum in Absheron (200 to 350 mm or 7.9 to 13.8 in).[115]

Murovdag is the highest mountain range in the Lesser Caucasus.

Rivers and lakes form the principal part of the water systems of Azerbaijan, they were formed over a long geological timeframe and changed significantly throughout that period. This is particularly evidenced by remnants of ancient rivers found throughout the country. The country's water systems are continually changing under the influence of natural forces and human introduced industrial activities. Artificial rivers (canals) and ponds are a part of Azerbaijan's water systems. In terms of water supply, Azerbaijan is below the average in the world with approximately 100,000 cubic metres (3,531,467 cubic feet) per year of water per square kilometer.[115] All big water reservoirs are built on Kur. The hydrography of Azerbaijan basically belongs to the Caspian Sea basin.

There are 8,350 rivers of various lengths within Azerbaijan. Only 24 rivers are over 100 kilometers long.[116] The Kura and Aras are the major rivers in Azerbaijan, they run through the Kura-Aras Lowland. The rivers that directly flow into the Caspian Sea, originate mainly from the north-eastern slope of the Major Caucasus and Talysh Mountains and run along the Samur–Devechi and Lankaran lowlands.

Yanar Dag, translated as "burning mountain", is a natural gas fire which blazes continuously on a hillside on the Absheron Peninsula on the Caspian Sea near Baku, which itself is known as the "land of fire." Flames jet out into the air from a thin, porous sandstone layer. It is a tourist attraction to visitors to the Baku area.

Biodiversity

The Karabakh horse is the national animal of Azerbaijan.

The first reports on the richness and diversity of animal life in Azerbaijan can be found in travel notes of Eastern travelers. Animal carvings on architectural monuments, ancient rocks and stones survived up to the present times. The first information on the flora and fauna of Azerbaijan was collected during the visits of naturalists to Azerbaijan in the 17th century.[110]

There are 106 species of mammals, 97 species of fish, 363 species of birds, 10 species of amphibians and 52 species of reptiles which have been recorded and classified in Azerbaijan.[110] The national animal of Azerbaijan is the Karabakh horse, a mountain-steppe racing and riding horse endemic to Azerbaijan. The Karabakh horse has a reputation for its good temper, speed, elegance and intelligence. It is one of the oldest breeds, with ancestry dating to the ancient world. However, today the horse is an endangered species.[117]

Azerbaijan's flora consists of more than 4,500 species of higher plants. Due to the unique climate in Azerbaijan, the flora is much richer in the number of species than the flora of the other republics of the South Caucasus.[118] About 67 percent of the species growing in the whole Caucasus can be found in Azerbaijan.

Politics

Government building
The son of former President Heydar Aliyev, Ilham Aliyev, succeeded his father and has remained in power since 2003.

The structural formation of Azerbaijan's political system was completed by the adoption of the new Constitution on 12 November 1995. According to Article 23 of the Constitution, the state symbols of the Azerbaijan Republic are the flag, the coat of arms, and the national anthem. The state power in Azerbaijan is limited only by law for internal issues, but for international affairs is additionally limited by the provisions of international agreements.

The government of Azerbaijan is based on the separation of powers among the legislative, executive, and judicial branches. The legislative power is held by the unicameral National Assembly and the Supreme National Assembly in the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic. Parliamentary elections are held every five years, on the first Sunday of November. The Yeni Azerbaijan Party, and independents loyal to the ruling government, currently hold almost all of the Parliament's 125 seats. During the 2010 Parliamentary election, the opposition parties, Musavat and Azerbaijani Popular Front Party, failed to win a single seat. European observers found numerous irregularities in the run-up to the election and on election day.[119]

The executive power is held by the President, who is elected for a seven-year term by direct elections, and the Prime Minister. The president is authorized to form the Cabinet, a collective executive body, accountable to both the President and the National Assembly.[1] The Cabinet of Azerbaijan consists primarily of the prime minister, his deputies, and ministers. The president does not have the right to dissolve the National Assembly, but has the right to veto its decisions. To override the presidential veto, the parliament must have a majority of 95 votes. The judicial power is vested in the Constitutional Court, Supreme Court, and the Economic Court. The president nominates the judges in these courts. The European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice (CEPEJ) report refers to the Azerbaijani justice model on the selection of new judges as best practice that reflects the particular features and the course of development towards ensuring the independence and quality of the judiciary in a new democracy.[120][121]

The Security Council is the deliberative body under the president, and he organizes it according to the Constitution. It was established on 10 April 1997. The administrative department is not a part of the president's office but manages the financial, technical and pecuniary activities of both the president and his office.

Although Azerbaijan has held several elections since regaining its independence and it has many of the formal institutions of democracy, it remains classified as "not free" (on border with "partly free") by Freedom House.[122][123] In recent years, large numbers of Azerbaijani journalists, bloggers, lawyers, and human rights activists have been rounded up and jailed for their criticism of President Aliyev and government authorities.[124] A resolution adopted by the European Parliament in September 2015 described Azerbaijan as "having suffered the greatest decline in democratic governance in all of Eurasia over the past ten years," noting as well that its dialogue with the country on human rights has "not made any substantial progress."[125] On 17 March 2016, the President of Azerbaijan signed a decree pardoning more than a dozen of the persons regarded as political prisoners by some NGOs.[126] This decree was welcomed as a positive step by the US State Department.[127] On 16 March 2017 another pardon decree was signed, which led to the release of additional persons regarded as political prisoners.[128]

Azerbaijan has been harshly criticized for bribing foreign officials and diplomats in order to promote its causes abroad and legitimize its elections at home, a practice which has been termed as Caviar diplomacy.[129][130][131][132] However, on 6 March 2017, ESISC (European Strategic Intelligence and Security Center) published a report called “The Armenian Connection” where it attacked human rights NGOs and research organisations criticising human rights violations and corruption in Azerbaijan. ESISC in that report asserted that "Caviar diplomacy" report elaborated by ESI aimed to create climate of suspicion based on slander to form a network of MPs that would engage in a political war against Azerbaijan, and that the network composed of European PMs, Armenian officials and some NGOs: Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, "Human Rights House Foundation", "Open Dialog, European Stability Initiative, and Helsinki Committee for Human Rights, was financed by the Soros Foundation.[133][134] According to Robert Coalson (Radio Free Europe), ESISC is a part of Baku's lobbying efforts to extend to the use of front think tanks to shift public opinion.[135] Freedom Files Analytical Centre said that "The report is written in the worst traditions of authoritarian propaganda".[136]

Foreign relations

Vladimir Putin in Azerbaijan in August 2013

The short-lived Azerbaijan Democratic Republic succeeded in establishing diplomatic relations with six countries, sending diplomatic representatives to Germany and Finland.[137] The process of international recognition of Azerbaijan's independence from the collapsing Soviet Union lasted roughly one year. The most recent country to recognize Azerbaijan was Bahrain, on 6 November 1996.[138] Full diplomatic relations, including mutual exchanges of missions, were first established with Turkey, Pakistan, the United States, Iran[137] and Israel.[139] Azerbaijan has placed a particular emphasis on its "special relationship" with Turkey.[140][141]

Azerbaijan has diplomatic relations with 158 countries so far and holds membership in 38 international organizations.[15] It holds observer status in the Non-Aligned Movement and World Trade Organization and is a correspondent at the International Telecommunication Union.[15] On 9 May 2006 Azerbaijan was elected to membership in the newly established Human Rights Council by the United Nations General Assembly. The term of office began on 19 June 2006.[17] Azerbaijan for the first time elected as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council in 2011 with the support of 155 countries.

Ilham Aliyev attends the Caspian Sea Summit in Astrakhan, Russia, 29 September 2014.

Foreign policy priorities of Azerbaijan include, first of all, the restoration of its territorial integrity; elimination of the consequences of occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh and seven other regions of Azerbaijan surrounding Nagorno-Karabakh;[142][143] integration into European and Euro-Atlantic structure; contribution to international security; cooperation with international organizations; regional cooperation and bilateral relations; strengthening of defense capability; promotion of security by domestic policy means; strengthening of democracy; preservation of ethnic and religious tolerance; scientific, educational, and cultural policy and preservation of moral values; economic and social development; enhancing internal and border security; and migration, energy, and transportation security policy.[142]

The Azerbaijani government, in late 2007, stated that the long-standing dispute over the Armenian-occupied territory of Nagorno-Karabakh is almost certain to spark a new war if it remains unresolved.[142] The Government is in the process of increasing its military budget.[144]

Azerbaijan is an active member of international coalitions fighting international terrorism. Azerbaijan was one of the first countries to offer support after the September 11 attacks.[145] The country is contributing to peacekeeping efforts in Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq. Azerbaijan is an active member of NATO's Partnership for Peace program. It also maintains good relations with the European Union and could potentially one day apply for membership.[142]

Administrative divisions

Azerbaijan is divided into 10 economic regions; 66 rayons (rayonlar, singular rayon) and 77 cities (şəhərlər, singular şəhər) of which 12 are under the direct authority of the republic.[146] Moreover, Azerbaijan includes the Autonomous Republic (muxtar respublika) of Nakhchivan.[94] The President of Azerbaijan appoints the governors of these units, while the government of Nakhchivan is elected and approved by the parliament of Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic.

Note: The cities under the direct authority of the republic in italics.

Military

Azerbaijani Navy fleet during the 2011 military parade in Baku
Azerbaijani Special Forces during military parade

The history of the modern Azerbaijan army dates back to Azerbaijan Democratic Republic in 1918, when the National Army of the newly formed Azerbaijan Democratic Republic was created on 26 June 1918.[147][148] When Azerbaijan gained independence after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the Armed Forces of the Republic of Azerbaijan were created according to the Law on the Armed Forces of 9 October 1991.[149] The original date of the establishment of the short-lived National Army is celebrated as Army Day (26 June) in today's Azerbaijan.[150] As of 2002, Azerbaijan had 95,000 active personnel in its armed forces. There are also 17,000 paramilitary troops.[151] The armed forces have three branches: the Land Forces, the Air Forces and the Navy. Additionally the armed forces embrace several military sub-groups that can be involved in state defense when needed. These are the Internal Troops of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the State Border Service, which includes the Coast Guard as well.[94] The Azerbaijan National Guard is a further paramilitary force. It operates as a semi-independent entity of the Special State Protection Service, an agency subordinate to the President.[152]

Contingent from the Azerbaijani military during the Moscow Victory Day Parade, 9 May 2015

Azerbaijan adheres to the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe and has signed all major international arms and weapons treaties. Azerbaijan closely cooperates with NATO in programs such as Partnership for Peace and Individual Partnership Action Plan. Azerbaijan has deployed 151 of its Peacekeeping Forces in Iraq and another 184 in Afghanistan.[153]

The defense budget of Azerbaijan for 2011 was set at US$3.1 billion.[154] In addition to that, $1.36 billion was planned to be used for the needs of the defense industry, which bring up the total military budget to 4.6 billion.[154][155] Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said on 26 June 2011 that the defence spending reached $3.3 billion that year.[156]

Azerbaijan's defense budget for 2013 is $3.7 billion.[157][158]

Azerbaijani defense industry manufactures small arms, artillery systems, tanks, armors and noctovision devices, aviation bombs, pilotless vehicles, various military vehicles and military planes and helicopters.[159][160][161][162]

Economy

After gaining independence in 1991, Azerbaijan became a member of the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the Islamic Development Bank and the Asian Development Bank.[163] The banking system of Azerbaijan consists of the Central Bank of Azerbaijan, commercial banks and non-banking credit organizations. The National (now Central) Bank was created in 1992 based on the Azerbaijan State Savings Bank, an affiliate of the former State Savings Bank of the USSR. The Central Bank serves as Azerbaijan's central bank, empowered to issue the national currency, the Azerbaijani manat, and to supervise all commercial banks. Two major commercial banks are UniBank and the state-owned International Bank of Azerbaijan, run by Dr. Jahangir Hajiyev.

Pushed up by spending and demand growth, the 2007 Q1 inflation rate reached 16.6%.[164] Nominal incomes and monthly wages climbed 29% and 25% respectively against this figure, but price increases in non-oil industry encouraged inflation.[164] Azerbaijan shows some signs of the so-called "Dutch disease" because of its fast-growing energy sector, which causes inflation and makes non-energy exports more expensive.

In the early 2000s the chronically high inflation was brought under control. This led to the launch of a new currency, the new Azerbaijani manat, on 1 January 2006, to cement the economic reforms and erase the vestiges of an unstable economy.[165][166]

In 2008, Azerbaijan was cited as one of the top 10 reformers by the World Bank's Doing Business Report.[167]

Azerbaijan led the world as the top reformer in 2007/08, with improvements on seven out of 10 indicators of regulatory reform. Azerbaijan started operating a one-stop shop in January 2008 that halved the time, cost and number of procedures to start a business. Business registrations increased by 40% in the first six months. Azerbaijan also eliminated the minimum loan cutoff of $1,100, more than doubling the number of borrowers covered by the credit registry. Also, taxpayers can now file forms and pay their taxes online. Azerbaijan's extensive reforms moved it far up the ranks, from 97 to 33 in the overall ease of doing business.

Azerbaijan is also ranked 57th in the Global Competitiveness Report for 2010–2011, above other CIS countries.[168] By 2012 the GDP of Azerbaijan had increased 20-fold from to its 1995 level.[169]

Energy

A pumping unit for the mechanical extraction of oil on the outskirts of Baku

Two-thirds of Azerbaijan is rich in oil and natural gas.[170] The history of the oil industry of Azerbaijan dates back to the ancient period. Arabian historian and traveler Ahmed Al-Belaruri mentioned about the economics of Absheron peninsula in the ancient times, oil lands, also, white and black oil in Absheron.[171]

The region of the Lesser Caucasus accounts for most of the country's gold, silver, iron, copper, titanium, chromium, manganese, cobalt, molybdenum, complex ore and antimony.[170] In September 1994, a 30-year contract was signed between the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR) and 13 oil companies, among them Amoco, BP, ExxonMobil, Lukoil and Statoil.[163] As Western oil companies are able to tap deepwater oilfields untouched by the Soviet exploitation, Azerbaijan is considered one of the most important spots in the world for oil exploration and development.[172] Meanwhile, the State Oil Fund of Azerbaijan was established as an extra-budgetary fund to ensure macroeconomic stability, transparency in the management of oil revenue, and safeguarding of resources for future generations.

Azeriqaz, a sub-company of SOCAR, intends to ensure full gasification of the country by 2021.[173] Azerbaijan is one of the sponsors of the East–West and North–South energy transport corridors. Baku–Tbilisi–Kars railway line will connect the Caspian region with Turkey, is expected to be completed in July 2017. The Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP) and Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) will deliver natural gas from Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz gas to Turkey and Europe.

Azerbaijan extended the agreement on development of ACG until 2050 according to the amended PSA signed on 14 September 2017 by SOCAR and co-venturers (BP, Chevron, INPEX, Statoil, ExxonMobil, TP, ITOCHU and ONGC Videsh).[174]

Agriculture

Azerbaijan has the largest agricultural basin in the region. About 54.9 percent of Azerbaijan is agricultural land.[109] At the beginning of 2007 there were 4,755,100 hectares of utilized agricultural area.[175] In the same year the total wood resources counted 136 million m³.[175] Azerbaijan's agricultural scientific research institutes are focused on meadows and pastures, horticulture and subtropical crops, green vegetables, viticulture and wine-making, cotton growing and medicinal plants.[176] In some areas it is profitable to grow grain, potatoes, sugar beets, cotton[177] and tobacco. Livestock, dairy products, and wine and spirits are also important farm products. The Caspian fishing industry concentrates on the dwindling stocks of sturgeon and beluga. In 2002 the Azerbaijani merchant marine had 54 ships.[178]

Some products previously imported from abroad have begun to be produced locally. Among them are Coca-Cola by Coca-Cola Bottlers LTD, beer by Baki-Kastel, parquet by Nehir and oil pipes by EUPEC Pipe Coating Azerbaijan.[179]

Tourism

Shahdag Mountain Resort is the country's largest winter resort.

Tourism is an important part of the economy of Azerbaijan. The country was a well-known tourist spot in the 1980s. However, the fall of the Soviet Union, and the Nagorno-Karabakh War during the 1990s, damaged the tourist industry and the image of Azerbaijan as a tourist destination.[180]

It was not until the 2000s that the tourism industry began to recover, and the country has since experienced a high rate of growth in the number of tourist visits and overnight stays.[181] In the recent years, Azerbaijan has also become a popular destination for religious, spa, and health care tourism.[182] During winter, the Shahdag Mountain Resort offers skiing with state of the art facilities.

The government of Azerbaijan has set the development of Azerbaijan as an elite tourist destination as a top priority. It is a national strategy to make tourism a major, if not the single largest, contributor to the Azerbaijani economy.[183] These activities are regulated by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of Azerbaijan. There are 63 countries which have visa-free score.[184] E-visa[185] – for a visit of foreigners of visa-required countries to the Republic of Azerbaijan.

According to Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report 2015 of the World Economic Forum Azerbaijan holds 84th place.[186]

Azerbaijan placed among top ten countries due to the strongest growth in visitor exports in years of 2010–2016 according to the report prepared by the World Travel and Tourism Council.[187] As well as, Azerbaijan is at the first place (46.1%) among the countries which have the fastest developing travel and tourism economies in addition with strong inbound international visitor spending last year.[188]

Transportation

The convenient location of Azerbaijan on the crossroad of major international traffic arteries, such as the Silk Road and the south–north corridor, highlights the strategic importance of transportation sector for the country's economy.[189] The transport sector in the country includes roads, railways, aviation, and maritime transport.

Azerbaijan is also an important economic hub in the transportation of raw materials. The Baku–Tbilisi–Ceyhan pipeline (BTC) became operational in May 2006 and extends more than 1,774 kilometers through the territories of Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey. The BTC is designed to transport up to 50 million tons of crude oil annually and carries oil from the Caspian Sea oilfields to global markets.[190] The South Caucasus Pipeline, also stretching through the territory of Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey, became operational at the end of 2006 and offers additional gas supplies to the European market from the Shah Deniz gas field. Shah Deniz is expected to produce up to 296 billion cubic meters of natural gas per year.[191] Azerbaijan also plays a major role in the EU-sponsored Silk Road Project.

In 2002, the Azerbaijani government established the Ministry of Transport with a broad range of policy and regulatory functions. In the same year, the country became a member of the Vienna Convention on Road Traffic.[192] The highest priority being; upgrading the transport network and transforming transportation services into one of the key comparative advantages of the country, as this would be highly conducive to the development of other sectors of the economy.

In 2012, the construction of Kars–Tbilisi–Baku railway expected to provide transportation between Asia and Europe through connecting the railways of China and Kazakhstan in the east with Turkey's Marmaray to the European railway system in the west. Broad-gauge railways in 2010 stretched for 2,918 km (1,813 mi) and electrified railways numbered 1,278 km (794 mi). By 2010, there were 35 airports and one heliport.[94]

Science and technology

In the 21st century, a new oil and gas boom helped to improve the situation in Azerbaijan's science and technology sectors, and the government launched a campaign aimed at modernization and innovation. The government estimates that profits from the information technology and communication industry will grow and become comparable with those from oil production.[193]

Azerbaijan has a large and steadily growing Internet sector, mostly uninfluenced by the global financial crisis; rapid growth is forecast for at least five more years.[194]

The country has also been making progress in developing its telecoms sector. The Ministry of Communications & Information Technologies (MCIT), as well as being an operator through its role in Aztelekom, is both a policy-maker and regulator. Public pay phones are available for local calls and require the purchase of a token from the telephone exchange or some shops and kiosks. Tokens allow a call of indefinite duration. As of 2009, there were 1,397,000 main telephone lines[195] and 1,485,000 internet users.[196] There are four GSM providers: Azercell, Bakcell, Azerfon (Nar Mobile), Nakhtel mobile network operators and one CDMA.

In the 21st century a number of prominent Azerbaijani geodynamics and geotectonics scientists, inspired by the fundamental works of Elchin Khalilov and others, designed hundreds of earthquake prediction stations and earthquake-resistant buildings that now constitute the bulk of The Republican Center of Seismic Service.[197][198][199]

The Azerbaijan National Aerospace Agency launched its first satellite AzerSat 1 into orbit on 7 February 2013 from Guiana Space Centre in French Guiana at orbital positions 46° East.[200][201][202] The satellite will cover Europe and significant part of Asian countries and Africa and will have transmission for TV, radio broadcasting and the internet.[203] The launch of its own satellite on orbit is Azerbaijan's first action in realizing prospective projects to turn itself into a country with a space industry.[204][205]

Demographics

From the total population of 9.705. 600 people as of the beginning of 2016, nearly 53,1% was urban population, the remaining 46,9% was the rural population. 50,2% of the total population were female.The sex ratio for total population in that year was therefore 0.99 males per female.[206]

The 2011 population growth-rate was 0.85%, compared to 1.09% worldwide.[94] A significant factor restricting the population growth is a high level of migration. In 2011 Azerbaijan saw migration of −1.14/1,000 people.[94]

The Azerbaijani diaspora is found in 42 countries[207] and in turn there are many centers for ethnic minorities inside Azerbaijan, including the German cultural society "Karelhaus", Slavic cultural center, Azerbaijani-Israeli community, Kurdish cultural center, International Talysh Association, Lezgin national center "Samur", Azerbaijani-Tatar community, Crimean Tatars society, etc.[208]

Ethnic groups

Ethnic composition (2009)[209]
Azerbaijani 91.60%
Lezgian 2.02%
Armenian 1.35%
Russian 1.34%
Talysh 1.26%
Other nations 2.43%

The ethnic composition of the population according to the 2009 population census: 91.60% Azerbaijanis, 2.02% Lezgians, 1.35% Armenians (almost all Armenians live in the break-away region of Nagorno-Karabakh), 1.34% Russians, 1.26% Talysh, 0.56% Avars, 0.43% Turks, 0.29% Tatars, 0.28% Tats, 0.24% Ukrainians, 0.14% Tsakhurs, 0.11% Georgians, 0.10% Jews, 0.07% Kurds, other 0.21%.

Iranian Azerbaijanis are by far the largest minority in Iran. The number of ethnic Azerbaijanis in Iran furthermore far outnumber those in neighboring Azerbaijan. The CIA World Factbook estimates Iranian Azerbaijanis as comprising at least 16% of Iran's population.[210]

Urbanization

In total, Azerbaijan has 78 cities, 63 city districts, and one special legal status city. These are followed by 261 urban-type settlements and 4248 villages.[206]

Languages

The official language is Azerbaijani (Turkic language), which is spoken by approximately 92% of the population as a mother tongue.[211] It belongs to the Turkic language family. Russian and Armenian (only in Nagorno-Karabakh) are also spoken, and each are the mother tongue of around 1.5% of the population respectively.[211] Russian and English play significant roles as second or third languages of education and communication.[citation needed] There are a dozen other minority languages spoken natively in the country.[212] Avar, Budukh,[213] Georgian, Juhuri,[213] Khinalug,[213] Kryts,[213] Lezgian, Rutul,[213] Talysh, Tat,[213] Tsakhur,[213] and Udi[213] are all spoken by small minorities. Some of these language communities are very small and their numbers are decreasing.[214] Armenian is almost exclusively spoken in the break-away Nagorno-Karabakh region.

Religion

Religions in Azerbaijan[215]
Islam
97.4%
Christianity
1.1%
None
1.0%
Others
0.5%
The Bibi-Heybat Mosque before its destruction by the Bolsheviks in 1936. The mosque was built over the tomb of a descendant of Muhammad.[216]

Around 98% of the population are Muslims.[217] 85% of the Muslims are Shia Muslims and 15% Sunni Muslims,[218] and the Republic of Azerbaijan has the second highest Shia population percentage in the world.[219] Other faiths are practised by the country's various ethnic groups. Under article 48 of its Constitution, Azerbaijan is a secular state and ensures religious freedom. In a 2006–2008 Gallup poll, only 21% of respondents from Azerbaijan stated that religion is an important part of their daily lives. This makes Azerbaijan the least religious Muslim-majority country in the world.[220]

Of the nation's religious minorities, Christians who estimated 280,000 (3.1%)[221] are mostly Russian and Georgian Orthodox and Armenian Apostolic (almost all Armenians live in the break-away region of Nagorno-Karabakh).[94] In 2003, there were 250 Roman Catholics.[222] Other Christian denominations as of 2002 include Lutherans, Baptists and Molokans.[223] There is also a small Protestant community.[224][225] Azerbaijan also has an ancient Jewish population with a 2,500-year history; Jewish organizations estimate that 10,000–20,000 Jews remain in Azerbaijan.[226][227][228][229] Azerbaijan also is home to members of the Bahá'í, Hare Krishna and Jehovah's Witnesses communities, as well as adherents of the other religious communities.[223] Some religious communities have been unofficially restricted from religious freedom. A U.S. State Department report on the matter mentions detention of members of certain Muslim and Christian groups, and many groups have difficulty registering with the SCWRA.[230]

Education

Classroom in Dunya School

A relatively high percentage of Azerbaijanis have obtained some form of higher education, most notably in scientific and technical subjects.[231] In the Soviet era, literacy and average education levels rose dramatically from their very low starting point, despite two changes in the standard alphabet, from Perso-Arabic script to Latin in the 1920s and from Roman to Cyrillic in the 1930s. According to Soviet data, 100 percent of males and females (ages nine to forty-nine) were literate in 1970.[231] According to the United Nations Development Program Report 2009, the literacy rate in Azerbaijan is 99.5 percent.[232]

Since independence, one of the first laws that Azerbaijan's Parliament passed to disassociate itself from the Soviet Union was to adopt a modified-Latin alphabet to replace Cyrillic.[233] Other than that the Azerbaijani system has undergone little structural change. Initial alterations have included the reestablishment of religious education (banned during the Soviet period) and curriculum changes that have reemphasized the use of the Azerbaijani language and have eliminated ideological content. In addition to elementary schools, the education institutions include thousands of preschools, general secondary schools, and vocational schools, including specialized secondary schools and technical schools. Education through the eighth grade is compulsory.

Culture

The culture of Azerbaijan has developed as a result of many influences. Today, national traditions are well preserved in the country despite Western influences, including globalized consumer culture. Some of the main elements of the Azerbaijani culture are: music, literature, folk dances and art, cuisine, architecture, cinematography and Novruz Bayram. The latter is derived from the traditional celebration of the New Year in the ancient Iranian religion of Zoroastrianism. Novruz is a family holiday.[234]

The profile of Azerbaijan's population consists, as stated above, of Azerbaijanis, as well as other nationalities or ethnic groups, compactly living in various areas of the country. Azerbaijani national and traditional dresses are the Chokha and Papakhi. There are radio broadcasts in Russian, Georgian, Kurdish, Lezgian and Talysh languages, which are financed from the state budget.[208] Some local radio stations in Balakan and Khachmaz organize broadcasts in Avar and Tat.[208] In Baku several newspapers are published in Russian, Kurdish (Dengi Kurd), Lezgian (Samur) and Talysh languages.[208] Jewish society "Sokhnut" publishes the newspaper Aziz.[208]

Music and folk dances

Uzeyir Hajibeyov merged traditional Azerbaijani music with Western styles in the early 20th century.

Music of Azerbaijan builds on folk traditions that reach back nearly a thousand years.[235] For centuries Azerbaijani music has evolved under the badge of monody, producing rhythmically diverse melodies.[236] Azerbaijani music has a branchy mode system, where chromatization of major and minor scales is of great importance.[236] Among national musical instruments there are 14 string instruments, eight percussion instruments and six wind instruments.[237] According to The Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, "in terms of ethnicity, culture and religion the Azerbaijani are musically much closer to Iran than Turkey."[238]

Mugham, meykhana and ashiq art are among the many musical traditions of Azerbaijan. Mugham is usually a suite with poetry and instrumental interludes. When performing mugham, the singers have to transform their emotions into singing and music. In contrast to the mugham traditions of Central Asian countries, Azerbaijani mugham is more free-form and less rigid; it is often compared to the improvised field of jazz.[239] UNESCO proclaimed the Azerbaijani mugham tradition a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity on 7 November 2003. Meykhana is a kind of traditional Azerbaijani distinctive folk unaccompanied song, usually performed by several people improvising on a particular subject.

Ashiq combines poetry, storytelling, dance and vocal and instrumental music into a traditional performance art that stands as a symbol of Azerbaijani culture. It is a mystic troubadour or traveling bard who sings and plays the saz. This tradition has its origin in the Shamanistic beliefs of ancient Turkic peoples.[240] Ashiqs' songs are semi-improvised around common bases. Azerbaijan's ashiq art was included in the list of Intangible Cultural Heritage by the UNESCO on 30 September 2009.[241]

Since the mid-1960s, Western-influenced Azerbaijani pop music, in its various forms, that has been growing in popularity in Azerbaijan, while genres such as rock and hip hop are widely produced and enjoyed. Azerbaijani pop and Azerbaijani folk music arose with the international popularity of performers like Alim Qasimov, Rashid Behbudov, Vagif Mustafazadeh, Muslim Magomayev, Shovkat Alakbarova and Rubaba Muradova.[242] Azerbaijan is an enthusiastic participant in the Eurovision Song Contest. Azerbaijan made its debut appearance at the 2008 Eurovision Song Contest. The country's entry gained third place in 2009 and fifth the following year.[243] Ell and Nikki won the first place at the Eurovision Song Contest 2011 with the song "Running Scared", entitling Azerbaijan to host the contest in 2012, in Baku.[244][245] They have never missed a Grand Final.

There are dozens of Azerbaijani folk dances. They are performed at formal celebrations and the dancers wear national clothes like the Chokha, which is well-preserved within the national dances. Most dances have a very fast rhythm. The national dance shows the characteristics of the Azerbaijani nation.

Literature

Painting of Khurshidbanu Natavan, one of the most distinguished Azerbaijani poets. She was also the daughter of the last ruler of the Karabakh Khanate.

Among the medieval authors born within the territorial limits of modern Azerbaijani Republic was Persian poet and philosopher Nizami, called Ganjavi after his place of birth, Ganja, who was the author of the Khamseh ("The Quintuplet"), composed of five romantic poems, including "The Treasure of Mysteries," "Khosrow and Shīrīn," and "Leyli and Mejnūn."[246]

The earliest known figure in Azerbaijani literature was Izzeddin Hasanoglu, who composed a divan consisting of Persian and Turkic ghazals.[247][248] In Persian ghazals he used his pen-name, while his Turkic ghazals were composed under his own name of Hasanoghlu.[247]

Classical literature in Azerbaijani was formed in the 14th century based on the various Early Middle Ages dialects of Tabriz and Shirvan. Among the poets of this period were Gazi Burhanaddin, Haqiqi (pen-name of Jahan-shah Qara Qoyunlu), and Habibi.[249] The end of the 14th century was also the period of starting literary activity of Imadaddin Nesimi,[250] one of the greatest Turkic[251][252][253] Hurufi mystical poets of the late 14th and early 15th centuries[254] and one of the most prominent early divan masters in Turkic literary history,[254] who also composed poetry in Persian[252][255] and Arabic.[254] The divan and ghazal styles were further developed by poets Qasim al-Anvar, Fuzuli and Khatai (pen-name of Safavid Shah Ismail I).

The Book of Dede Korkut consists of two manuscripts copied in the 16th century,[256] was not written earlier than the 15th century.[257][258] It is a collection of 12 stories reflecting the oral tradition of Oghuz nomads.[258] The 16th-century poet, Muhammed Fuzuli produced his timeless philosophical and lyrical Qazals in Arabic, Persian, and Azerbaijani. Benefiting immensely from the fine literary traditions of his environment, and building upon the legacy of his predecessors, Fizuli was destined to become the leading literary figure of his society. His major works include The Divan of Ghazals and The Qasidas. In the same century, Azerbaijani literature further flourished with the development of Ashik (Azerbaijani: Aşıq) poetic genre of bards. During the same period, under the pen-name of Khatāī (Arabic: خطائی‎ for sinner) Shah Ismail I wrote about 1400 verses in Azerbaijani,[259] which were later published as his Divan. A unique literary style known as qoshma (Azerbaijani: qoşma for improvization) was introduced in this period, and developed by Shah Ismail and later by his son and successor, Shah Tahmasp I.

In the span of the 17th and 18th centuries, Fizuli's unique genres as well Ashik poetry were taken up by prominent poets and writers such as Qovsi of Tabriz, Shah Abbas Sani, Agha Mesih Shirvani, Nishat, Molla Vali Vidadi, Molla Panah Vagif, Amani, Zafar and others. Along with Turks, Turkmens and Uzbeks, Azerbaijanis also celebrate the Epic of Koroglu (from Azerbaijani: kor oğlu for blind man's son), a legendary folk hero.[260] Several documented versions of Koroglu epic remain at the Institute for Manuscripts of the National Academy of Sciences of Azerbaijan.[248]

Modern literature in Azerbaijan is based on the Shirvani dialect mainly, while in Iran it is based on the Tabrizi one. The first newspaper in Azerbaijani, Akinchi was published in 1875. In the mid-19th century, it was taught in the schools of Baku, Ganja, Shaki, Tbilisi, and Yerevan. Since 1845, it has also been taught in the University of Saint Petersburg in Russia.

Folk art

Traditional Azerbaijani clothing and musical instruments

Azerbaijanis have a rich and distinctive culture, a major part of which is decorative and applied art. This form of art is represented by a wide range of handicrafts, such as chasing, jeweler, engraving in metal, carving in wood, stone and bone, carpet-making, lasing, pattern weaving and printing, knitting and embroidery. Each of these types of decorative art, evidence of the endowments of the Azerbaijan nation, is very much in favor here. Many interesting facts pertaining to the development of arts and crafts in Azerbaijan were reported by numerous merchants, travelers and diplomats who had visited these places at different times.

The Azerbaijani carpet is a traditional handmade textile of various sizes, with dense texture and a pile or pile-less surface, whose patterns are characteristic of Azerbaijan's many carpet-making regions. In November 2010 the Azerbaijani carpet was proclaimed a Masterpiece of Intangible Heritage by UNESCO.[261][262]

Handwork coppery in Lahic

Azerbaijan has been since the ancient times known as a center of a large variety of crafts. The archeological dig on the territory of Azerbaijan testifies to the well developed agriculture, stock raising, metal working, pottery, ceramics, and carpet-weaving that date as far back as to the 2nd millennium BC. Archeological sites in Dashbulaq, Hasansu, Zayamchai, and Tovuzchai uncovered from the BTC pipeline have revealed early Iron Age artifacts.[263]

Azerbaijani carpets can be categorized under several large groups and a multitude of subgroups. Scientific research of the Azerbaijani carpet is connected with the name of Latif Kerimov, a prominent scientist and artist. It was his classification that related the four large groups of carpets with the four geographical zones of Azerbaijan, Guba-Shirvan, Ganja-Kazakh, Karabakh and Tabriz.[264]

Cuisine

Dushbara, a traditional Azerbaijani meal
Pakhlava and Badambura are traditional desserts, usually eaten with tea.[265]

The traditional cuisine is famous for an abundance of vegetables and greens used seasonally in the dishes. Fresh herbs, including mint, cilantro (coriander), dill, basil, parsley, tarragon, leeks, chives, thyme, marjoram, green onion, and watercress, are very popular and often accompany main dishes on the table. Climatic diversity and fertility of the land are reflected in the national dishes, which are based on fish from the Caspian Sea, local meat (mainly mutton and beef), and an abundance of seasonal vegetables and greens. Saffron-rice plov is the flagship food in Azerbaijan and black tea is the national beverage.[266] Azerbaijanis often use traditional armudu (pear-shaped) glass as they have very strong tea culture.[267][268] Popular traditional dishes include bozbash (lamb soup that exists in several regional varieties with the addition of different vegetables), qutab (fried turnover with a filling of greens or minced meat) and dushbara (sort of dumplings of dough filled with ground meat and flavor).

Architecture

Momine Khatun Mausoleum in Nakhchivan built in the 12th century

Azerbaijani architecture typically combines elements of East and West.[269] Azerbaijiani architecture has heavy influences from Persian architecture. Many ancient architectural treasures such as the Maiden Tower and Palace of the Shirvanshahs in the Walled City of Baku survive in modern Azerbaijan. Entries submitted on the UNESCO World Heritage tentative list include the Ateshgah of Baku, Momine Khatun Mausoleum, Hirkan National Park, Binegadi National Park, Lökbatan Mud Volcano, Baku Stage Mountain, Caspian Shore Defensive Constructions, Shusha National Reserve, Ordubad National Reserve and the Palace of Shaki Khans.[270][271]

Among other architectural treasures are Quadrangular Castle in Mardakan, Parigala in Yukhary Chardaglar, a number of bridges spanning the Aras River, and several mausoleums. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, little monumental architecture was created, but distinctive residences were built in Baku and elsewhere. Among the most recent architectural monuments, the Baku subways are noted for their lavish decor.[272]

The task for modern Azerbaijani architecture is diverse application of modern aesthetics, the search for an architect's own artistic style and inclusion of the existing historico-cultural environment. Major projects such as Heydar Aliyev Cultural Center, Flame Towers, Baku Crystal Hall, Baku White City and SOCAR Tower have transformed the country's skyline and promotes its contemporary identity.[273][274]

Visual art

A miniature painting of a battle scene on the walls of the Palace of Shaki Khans, 18th century, city of Shaki

Azerbaijani art includes one of the oldest art objects in the world, which were discovered as Gamigaya Petroglyphs in the territory of Ordubad Rayon are dated back to the 1st to 4th centuries BC. About 1500 dislodged and carved rock paintings with images of deer, goats, bulls, dogs, snakes, birds, fantastic beings and also people, carriages and various symbols had been found out on basalt rocks.[275] Norwegian ethnographer and adventurer Thor Heyerdahl was convinced that people from the area went to Scandinavia in about 100 AD and took their boat building skills with them, and transmuted them into the Viking boats in Northern Europe.[276][277]

Over the centuries, Azerbaijani art has gone through many stylistic changes. Azerbaijani painting is traditionally characterized by a warmth of colour and light, as exemplified in the works of Azim Azimzade and Bahruz Kangarli, and a preoccupation with religious figures and cultural motifs.[278] Azerbaijani painting enjoyed preeminence in Caucasus for hundreds of years, from the Romanesque and Ottoman periods, and through the Soviet and Baroque periods, the latter two of which saw fruition in Azerbaijan. Other notable artists who fall within these periods include Sattar Bahlulzade, Togrul Narimanbekov, Tahir Salahov, Alakbar Rezaguliyev, Mirza Gadim Iravani, Mikayil Abdullayev and Boyukagha Mirzazade.[279]

Cinema

Scene from the Azerbaijani film In the Kingdom of Oil and Millions, 1916

The film industry in Azerbaijan dates back to 1898. In fact, Azerbaijan was among the first countries involved in cinematography.[280] Therefore, it's not surprising that this apparatus soon showed up in Baku – at the start of the 20th century, this bay town on the Caspian was producing more than 50 percent of the world's supply of oil. Just like today, the oil industry attracted foreigners eager to invest and to work.[281] In 1919, during the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic, a documentary The Celebration of the Anniversary of Azerbaijani Independence was filmed on Azerbaijan's independence day, 27 May, and premiered in June 1919 at several theatres in Baku.[282] After the Soviet power was established in 1920, Nariman Narimanov, Chairman of the Revolutionary Committee of Azerbaijan, signed a decree nationalizing Azerbaijan's cinema. This also influenced the creation of Azerbaijani animation.[282]

In 1991, after Azerbaijan gained its independence from the Soviet Union, the first Baku International Film Festival East-West was held in Baku. In December 2000, the former President of Azerbaijan, Heydar Aliyev, signed a decree proclaiming 2 August to be the professional holiday of filmmakers of Azerbaijan. Today Azerbaijani filmmakers are again dealing with issues similar to those faced by cinematographers prior to the establishment of the Soviet Union in 1920. Once again, both choice of content and sponsorship of films are largely left up to the initiative of the filmmaker.[280]

Media and media freedom

There are three state-owned television channels: AzTV, Idman TV and Medeniyyet TV. One public channel and 6 private channels: İctimai Television, ANS TV, Space TV, Lider TV, Azad Azerbaijan TV, Xazar TV and Region TV.

Human rights in Azerbaijan

The Constitution of Azerbaijan claims to guarantee freedom of speech, but this is denied in practice. After several years of decline in press and media freedom, in 2014 the media environment in Azerbaijan deteriorated fast under a governmental campaign to silence any opposition and criticism, even while the country led the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe (May–November 2014). Spurious legal charges and impunity in violence against journalists have remained the norm.[283] All foreign broadcasts are banned in the country.[284]

According to the 2013 Freedom House Freedom of the Press report, Azerbaijan's press freedom status is "not free," and Azerbaijan ranks 177th out of 196 countries.[285]

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and Voice of America are banned in Azerbaijan.[286]

During the last few years, three journalists were killed and several prosecuted in trials described as unfair by international human rights organizations. Azerbaijan has the biggest number of journalists imprisoned in Europe and Central Asia in 2015, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists, and is the 5th most censored country in the world, ahead of Iran and China.[287]

A report by an Amnesty International researcher in October 2015 points to '...the severe deterioration of human rights in Azerbaijan over the past few years. Sadly Azerbaijan has been allowed to get away with unprecedented levels of repression and in the process almost wipe out its civil society'.[288] Amnesty's 2015/16 annual report[289] on the country stated ' ... persecution of political dissent continued. Human rights organizations remained unable to resume their work. At least 18 prisoners of conscience remained in detention at the end of the year. Reprisals against independent journalists and activists persisted both in the country and abroad, while their family members also faced harassment and arrests. International human rights monitors were barred and expelled from the country. Reports of torture and other ill-treatment persisted.'

The Guardian reported 9–4–17: "Azerbaijan’s ruling elite operated a secret $2.9bn (£2.2bn) scheme to pay prominent Europeans, buy luxury goods and launder money through a network of opaque British companies, an investigation by the Guardian reveals. Leaked data shows that the Azerbaijani leadership, accused of serial human rights abuses, systemic corruption and rigging elections, made more than 16,000 covert payments from 2012 to 2014. Some of this money went to politicians and journalists, as part of an international lobbying operation to deflect criticism of Azerbaijan’s president, Ilham Aliyev, and to promote a positive image of his oil-rich country. There is no suggestion that all the recipients were aware of the original source of the money. It arrived via a disguised route."

Sports

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov was the 2013 World Rapid Chess and three-time European Team Chess champion.

Freestyle wrestling has been traditionally regarded as Azerbaijan's national sport, in which Azerbaijan won up to fourteen medals, including four golds since joining the National Olympic Committee. Currently, the most popular sports include football and wrestling.

Football is the most popular sport in Azerbaijan, and the Association of Football Federations of Azerbaijan with 9,122 registered players, is the largest sporting association in the country.[290][291] The national football team of Azerbaijan demonstrates relatively low performance in the international arena compared to the nation football clubs. The most successful Azerbaijani football clubs are Neftchi Baku, Qarabağ, and Gabala. In 2012, Neftchi Baku became the first Azerbaijani team to advance to the group stage of a European competition, beating APOEL of Cyprus 4–2 on aggregate in the play-off round of the 2012-13 UEFA Europa League.[292][293] In 2014, Qarabağ became the second Azerbaijani club advancing to the group stage of UEFA Europa League. In 2017, after beating Copenhagen 2–2(a) in the play-off round of the UEFA Champions League, Qarabağ became the first Azerbaijani club to reach the Group stage.[294] Futsal is another popular sport in Azerbaijan. The Azerbaijan national futsal team reached fourth place in the 2010 UEFA Futsal Championship, while domestic club Araz Naxçivan clinched bronze medals at the 2009–10 UEFA Futsal Cup and 2013–14 UEFA Futsal Cup.[295] Azerbaijan was the main sponsor of Spanish football club Atlético de Madrid during seasons 2013/2014 and 2014/2015, a partnership that the club described should 'promote the image of Azerbaijan in the world'.[296]

Backgammon also plays a major role in Azerbaijani culture.[297] The game is very popular in Azerbaijan and is widely played among the local public.[298] There are also different variations of backgammon developed and analyzed by Azerbaijani experts.[299]

Baku National Stadium was used for the first European Games in June 2015.

Azerbaijan is one of the leading volleyball countries in the world and its Azerbaijan Women's Volleyball Super League is one of strongest women leagues in world. Its women's national team came fourth at the 2005 European Championship.[300] Over the last years, clubs like Rabita Baku and Azerrail Baku achieved great success at European cups.[301] Azerbaijani volleyball players include likes of Valeriya Korotenko, Oksana Parkhomenko, Inessa Korkmaz, Natalya Mammadova and Alla Hasanova.

Other well-known Azerbaijani athletes are Namig Abdullayev, Toghrul Asgarov, Rovshan Bayramov, Sharif Sharifov, Mariya Stadnik and Farid Mansurov in wrestling, Nazim Huseynov, Elnur Mammadli, Elkhan Mammadov and Rustam Orujov in judo, Rafael Aghayev in karate, Magomedrasul Majidov and Aghasi Mammadov in boxing, Nizami Pashayev in Olympic weightlifting, Azad Asgarov in pankration, Eduard Mammadov in kickboxing, and K-1 fighter Zabit Samedov.

Azerbaijan has a Formula One race-track and the country hosted its first Formula One Grand Prix on 19 June 2016.[302] Other annual sporting events held in the country are the Baku Cup tennis tournament and the Tour d'Azerbaïdjan cycling race.

Azerbaijan hosted several major sport competitions since the late 2000s, including the 2013 F1 Powerboat World Championship, 2012 FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup, 2011 AIBA World Boxing Championships, 2010 European Wrestling Championships, 2009 Rhythmic Gymnastics European Championships, 2014 European Taekwondo Championships, 2014 Rhythmic Gymnastics European Championships, 2016 World Chess Olympiad.[303] On 8 December 2012, Baku was selected to host the 2015 European Games, the first to be held in competition's history.[304] Baku is also set to host the fourth Islamic Solidarity Games in 2017.

See also

Notes

  1. ^ The Nagorno-Karabakh Republic is a de facto independent state that is largely recognized as de jure part of Azerbaijan.

References

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