Politics, society and economy since independence

Authored by: Audrey L. Altstadt

Routledge Handbook of the Caucasus

Print publication date:  March  2020
Online publication date:  March  2020

Print ISBN: 9781138483187
eBook ISBN: 9781351055628
Adobe ISBN:


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Azerbaijan is the largest and most populous of the three South Caucasus states, has the greatest hydrocarbon resources, and is the only state that borders both Russia and Iran. Although the majority of the population is Azerbaijani, a Turkic and Muslim, mostly Shi’ite, people, the state is secular as established in its constitution and laws. It has been a business and strategic partner for Western countries, notably Britain and the United States, and is a member of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe and Council of Europe. Despite stated commitments, the regime of Ilham Aliyev has become increasingly authoritarian, with elections failing to meet international standards and regime critics routinely arrested and jailed. This chapter surveys political, social and economic developments in post-Soviet Azerbaijan, critically examining the basis of the country’s stability and the regime’s strategies of concentrating power in the ruling family.

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