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Azerbaijan

Population: 96 86 210

GDP: 76 010 000 000.00 $

Description

Azerbaijan - a nation with a majority-Turkic and majority-Shia Muslim population - was briefly independent (from 1918 to 1920) following the collapse of the Russian Empire; it was subsequently incorporated into the Soviet Union for seven decades.

 

 

Azerbaijan has yet to resolve its conflict with Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh, a primarily Armenian-populated region that Moscow recognized in 1923 as an autonomous republic within Soviet Azerbaijan after Armenia and Azerbaijan disputed the territory's status. Armenia and Azerbaijan began fighting over the area in 1988; the struggle escalated after both countries attained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.

 

 

By May 1994, when a cease-fire took hold, ethnic Armenian forces held not only Nagorno-Karabakh but also seven surrounding provinces in the territory of Azerbaijan. The OSCE Minsk Group, co-chaired by the United States, France, and Russia, is the framework established to mediate a peaceful resolution of the conflict. Corruption in the country is widespread, and the government, which eliminated presidential term limits in a 2009 referendum, has been accused of authoritarianism.

 

 

Although the poverty rate has been reduced and infrastructure investment has increased substantially in recent years due to revenue from oil and gas production, reforms have not adequately addressed weaknesses in most government institutions, particularly in the education and health sectors.

Population

 

Population: 9,686,210 (2014).

 

Nationality:  noun: Azerbaijani(s)  adjective: Azerbaijani

 

Ethnic groups: Azerbaijani 91.6%, Lezgian 2%, Russian 1.3%, Armenian 1.3%, Talysh 1.3%, other 2.4%. Almost all Armenians live in the separatist Nagorno-Karabakh region.

 

Languages: Azerbaijani (Azeri) (official) 92.5%, Russian 1.4%, Armenian 1.4%, other 4.7%

 

Religions: Muslim 93.4%, Russian Orthodox 2.5%, Armenian Orthodox 2.3%, other 1.8%. Religious affiliation is still nominal in Azerbaijan; percentages for actual practicing adherents are much lower.

GDP

 

GDP: $76 010 000 000.00 (2013)

Military Organization

 

Army, Navy, Air, and Air Defense Forces

Conflicts and Disputes

 

Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and Russia ratified the Caspian seabed delimitation treaties based on equidistance, while Iran continues to insist on a one-fifth slice of the sea; the dispute over the break-away Nagorno-Karabakh region and the Armenian military occupation of surrounding lands in Azerbaijan remains the primary focus of regional instability; residents have evacuated the former Soviet-era small ethnic enclaves in Armenia and Azerbaijan; local border forces struggle to control the illegal transit of goods and people across the porous, undemarcated Armenian, Azerbaijani, and Georgian borders; bilateral talks continue with Turkmenistan on dividing the seabed and contested oilfields in the middle of the Caspian.

 

 

Internally displaced persons: IDPs: 597,429 (conflict with Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh; IDPs are mainly ethnic Azerbaijanis but also include ethnic Kurds, Russians, and Turks predominantly from occupied territories around Nagorno-Karabakh; number includes IDPs' descendants, returned IDPs, and people living in insecure areas and excludes people displaced by natural disasters; around half the IDPs live in the capital Baku).

 

Azerbaijan  has limited illicit cultivation of cannabis and opium poppy, mostly for CIS consumption; small government eradication program; transit point for Southwest Asian opiates bound for Russia and to a lesser extent the rest of Europe.

Geographical Information and Map

 

Capital: Baku (Baki, Baky)

 

Location: Southwestern Asia, bordering the Caspian Sea, between Iran and Russia, with a small European portion north of the Caucasus range. Both the main area of the country and the Naxcivan exclave are landlocked.

 

Geographic coordinates:

40 30 N, 47 30 E.

 

Area:

total: 86,600 sq km

land: 82,629 sq km

water: 3,971 sq km

note: includes the exclave of Naxcivan Autonomous Republic and the Nagorno-Karabakh region; the region's autonomy was abolished by Azerbaijani Supreme Soviet on 26 November 1991

 

Land boundaries:

total: 2,468 km

border countries: Armenia 996 km, Georgia 428 km, Iran 689 km, Russia 338 km, Turkey 17 km.

 

Coastline: 0 km (landlocked); note - Azerbaijan borders the Caspian Sea (713 km).

 

Natural resources: petroleum, natural gas, iron ore, nonferrous metals, bauxite.