Middle East :: Azerbaijan

Introduction ::Azerbaijan

    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 region within Soviet Azerbaijan after Armenia and Azerbaijan disputed the status of the territory. 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. In January 2012, Azerbaijan assumed a nonpermanent seat on the UN Security Council for the 2012-13 term.

Geography ::Azerbaijan

    Southwestern Asia, bordering the Caspian Sea, between Iran and Russia, with a small European portion north of the Caucasus range
    40 30 N, 47 30 E
    total: 86,600 sq km
    country comparison to the world: 113
    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
    slightly smaller than Maine
    total: 2,013 km
    border countries: Armenia (with Azerbaijan-proper) 566 km, Armenia (with Azerbaijan-Naxcivan exclave) 221 km, Georgia 322 km, Iran (with Azerbaijan-proper) 432 km, Iran (with Azerbaijan-Naxcivan exclave) 179 km, Russia 284 km, Turkey 9 km
    0 km (landlocked); note - Azerbaijan borders the Caspian Sea (713 km)
    none (landlocked)
    dry, semiarid steppe
    large, flat Kur-Araz Ovaligi (Kura-Araks Lowland, much of it below sea level) with Great Caucasus Mountains to the north, Qarabag Yaylasi (Karabakh Upland) in west; Baku lies on Abseron Yasaqligi (Apsheron Peninsula) that juts into Caspian Sea
    lowest point: Caspian Sea -28 m
    highest point: Bazarduzu Dagi 4,485 m
    petroleum, natural gas, iron ore, nonferrous metals, bauxite
    arable land: 21.78%
    permanent crops: 2.62%
    other: 75.6% (2011)
    14,250 sq km (2010)
    34.68 cu km (2011)
    total: 12.21 cu km/yr (4%/18%/78%)
    per capita: 1,384 cu m/yr (2010)
    local scientists consider the Abseron Yasaqligi (Apsheron Peninsula) (including Baku and Sumqayit) and the Caspian Sea to be the ecologically most devastated area in the world because of severe air, soil, and water pollution; soil pollution results from oil spills, from the use of DDT pesticide, and from toxic defoliants used in the production of cotton
    party to: Air Pollution, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
    signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
    both the main area of the country and the Naxcivan exclave are landlocked

People and Society ::Azerbaijan

Government ::Azerbaijan

    conventional long form: Republic of Azerbaijan
    conventional short form: Azerbaijan
    local long form: Azarbaycan Respublikasi
    local short form: Azarbaycan
    former: Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic
    name: Baku (Baki, Baky)
    geographic coordinates: 40 23 N, 49 52 E
    time difference: UTC+4 (9 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
    daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October
    66 rayons (rayonlar; rayon - singular), 11 cities (saharlar; sahar - singular);
    rayons: Abseron, Agcabadi, Agdam, Agdas, Agstafa, Agsu, Astara, Babak, Balakan, Barda, Beylaqan, Bilasuvar, Cabrayil, Calilabad, Culfa, Daskasan, Fuzuli, Gadabay, Goranboy, Goycay, Goygol, Haciqabul, Imisli, Ismayilli, Kalbacar, Kangarli, Kurdamir, Lacin, Lankaran, Lerik, Masalli, Neftcala, Oguz, Ordubad, Qabala, Qax, Qazax, Qobustan, Quba, Qubadli, Qusar, Saatli, Sabirabad, Sabran, Sadarak, Sahbuz, Saki, Salyan, Samaxi, Samkir, Samux, Sarur, Siyazan, Susa, Tartar, Tovuz, Ucar, Xacmaz, Xizi, Xocali, Xocavand, Yardimli, Yevlax, Zangilan, Zaqatala, Zardab
    cities: Baku, Ganca, Lankaran, Mingacevir, Naftalan, Naxcivan (Nakhichevan), Saki, Sirvan, Sumqayit, Xankandi, Yevlax
    30 August 1991 (declared from the Soviet Union); 18 October 1991 (adopted by the Supreme Council of Azerbaijan)
    Founding of the Democratic Republic of Azerbaijan, 28 May (1918)
    adopted 12 November 1995; modified by referendum 24 August 2002
    civil law system
    has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
    18 years of age; universal
    chief of state: President Ilham ALIYEV (since 31 October 2003)
    head of government: Prime Minister Artur RASIZADE (since 4 November 2003); First Deputy Prime Minister Yaqub EYYUBOV (since June 2006)
    cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president and confirmed by the National Assembly
    (For more information visit the World Leaders website Opens in New Window)
    elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term (eligible for unlimited terms); election last held on 15 October 2008 (next to be held in October 2013); prime minister and first deputy prime minister appointed by the president and confirmed by the National Assembly
    election results: Ilham ALIYEV reelected president; percent of vote - Ilham ALIYEV 89%, Igbal AGAZADE 2.9%, other 8.1%
    note: several political parties boycotted the election due to perceived unfair conditions; OSCE observers concluded that the election did not meet international standards
    unicameral National Assembly or Milli Mejlis (125 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
    elections: last held on 7 November 2010 (next to be held in November 2015)
    election results: percent of vote by party - YAP 45.8%, CSP 1.6%, Motherland 1.4%, independents 48.2%, other 3.1%; seats by party - YAP 71, CSP 3, Motherland 2, Democratic Reforms 1, Great Creation 1, Hope Party 1, Social Welfare 1, Civil Unity 1, Whole Azerbaijan Popular Front 1, Justice 1, independents 42
    highest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of the chairman, deputy chairman, and at least 24 judges in plenum sessions); Constitutional Court (consists of 9 judges)
    judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court judges nominated by the president and appointed by the Milli Majlis; judge tenure NA; Constitutional Court chairman and deputy chairman appointed by the president; other court judges nominated by the president and appointed by the Milli Majlis to serve single 15-year terms
    subordinate courts: Courts of Appeal (replaced the Economic Court in 2002); district and municipal courts;
    Azerbaijan Democratic Party or ADP [Sardar JALALOGLU]
    Civil Solidarity Party or CSP [Sabir RUSTAMKHANLI]
    Civil Unity Party [Sabir HACIYEV]
    Classic People's Front of Azerbaijan [Mirmahmud MIRALI-OGLU]
    Democratic Reforms Party or PDR [Asim MOLLAZADE]
    Great Creation Party [Fazil Gazanfaroglu MUSTAFAYEV]
    Hope (Umid) Party [Iqbal AGAZADE]
    Justice Party [Ilyas ISMAYILOV]
    Liberal Party of Azerbaijan [Lala Shovkat HACIYEVA, Avaz TEMIRKHAN]
    Motherland Party [Fazail AGAMALI]
    Musavat (Equality) [Isa GAMBAR, chairman]
    Open Society Party [Sulhaddin AKBAR, Rasul GULIYEV (in exile in the US)]
    Social Democratic Party of Azerbaijan or SDP [Araz ALIZADE and Ayaz MUTALIBOV (in exile)]
    Social Welfare Party [Hussein KAZIMLI]
    United Popular Azerbaijan Front Party or AXCP [Ali KARIMLI]
    Whole Azerbaijan Popular Front Party [Gudrat HASANGULIYEV]
    Yeni (New) Azerbaijan Party or YAP [President Ilham ALIYEV]
    opposition parties regularly factionalize and form new parties
    Azerbaijan Public Forum [Eldar NAMAZOV]
    Karabakh Liberation Organization
    Forum of Intelligentsia [Rustam IBRAHIMBEYOV]
    Public Chamber
    Republican Alternative (REAL) [Ilgar MAMMADOV]
    NIDA Youth Movement [Turgut GAMBAR, Zaur GURBANLI]
    Positive Change Youth Movement [Bakhtiyar HAJIYEV]
    Ireli Youth Movement [Rauf MERDIYEV]
    Ol! Youth Movement [Vugar SALAMLI]
    ADB, BSEC, CD, CE, CICA, CIS, EAPC, EBRD, ECO, EITI (compliant country), FAO, GCTU, GUAM, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (NGOs), ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, NAM, OAS (observer), OIC, OPCW, OSCE, PFP, SELEC (observer), UN, UN Security Council (temporary), UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO (observer)
    chief of mission: Ambassador Elin SULEYMANOV
    chancery: 2741 34th Street NW, Washington, DC 20008
    telephone: [1] (202) 337-3500
    FAX: [1] (202) 337-5911
    Consulate(s) general: Los Angeles
    chief of mission: Ambassador Richard L. MORNINGSTAR
    embassy: 83 Azadlig Prospecti, Baku AZ1007
    mailing address: American Embassy Baku, US Department of State, 7050 Baku Place, Washington, DC 20521-7050
    telephone: [994] (12) 4980-335 through 337
    FAX: [994] (12) 4656-671
    three equal horizontal bands of blue (top), red, and green; a crescent and eight-pointed star in white are centered in the red band; the blue band recalls Azerbaijan's Turkic heritage, red stands for modernization and progress, and green refers to Islam; the crescent moon is an Islamic symbol, while the eight-pointed star represents the eight Turkic peoples of the world
    flames of fire
    name: "Azerbaijan Marsi" (March of Azerbaijan)

    lyrics/music: Ahmed JAVAD/Uzeyir HAJIBEYOV
    note: adopted 1992; although originally written in 1919 during a brief period of independence, "Azerbaijan Marsi" did not become the official anthem until after the dissolution of the Soviet Union

Economy ::Azerbaijan

    Azerbaijan's high economic growth during 2006-10 was attributable to large and growing oil and gas exports, but some non-export sectors also featured double-digit growth, including construction, banking, and real estate. In 2012, economic growth picked up to 3.8%. Continued production declines in the oil sector were offset by strong growth in the non-oil sector. However, the non-oil sector growth may be driven primarily by government investment, which may not be sustainable if oil production continues to decline. Oil exports through the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan Pipeline, the Baku-Novorossiysk, and the Baku-Supsa pipelines remain the main economic driver, but efforts to boost Azerbaijan's gas production are underway. The eventual completion of the geopolitically important Southern Gas Corridor between Azerbaijan and Europe will open up another, albeit, smaller source of revenue from gas exports. Azerbaijan has made only limited progress on instituting market-based economic reforms. Pervasive public and private sector corruption and structural economic inefficiencies remain a drag on long-term growth, particularly in non-energy sectors. Several other obstacles impede Azerbaijan's economic progress, including the need for stepped up foreign investment in the non-energy sector and the continuing conflict with Armenia over the Nagorno-Karabakh region. Trade with Russia and the other former Soviet republics is declining in importance, while trade is building with Turkey and the nations of Europe. Long-term prospects depend on world oil prices, Azerbaijan's ability to negotiate export routes for its growing gas production, and its ability to use its energy wealth to promote growth and spur employment in non-energy sectors of the economy.
    $98.36 billion (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 75
    $96.28 billion (2011 est.)
    $96.19 billion (2010 est.)
    note: data are in 2012 US dollars
    $68.8 billion (2012 est.)
    2.2% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 129
    0.1% (2011 est.)
    5% (2010 est.)
    $10,700 (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 113
    $10,600 (2011 est.)
    $10,700 (2010 est.)
    note: data are in 2012 US dollars
    41.5% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 8
    45.1% of GDP (2011 est.)
    46.5% of GDP (2010 est.)
    household consumption: 39.6%
    government consumption: 10.3%
    investment in fixed capital: 22.5%
    investment in inventories: 0.1%
    exports of goods and services: 50.9%
    imports of goods and services: -23.5%
    (2012 est.)
    agriculture: 6%
    industry: 63.8%
    services: 30.2% (2012 est.)
    cotton, grain, rice, grapes, fruit, vegetables, tea, tobacco; cattle, pigs, sheep, goats
    petroleum and natural gas, petroleum products, oilfield equipment; steel, iron ore; cement; chemicals and petrochemicals; textiles
    -2.3% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 153
    6.206 million (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 66
    agriculture: 38.3%
    industry: 12.1%
    services: 49.6% (2008)
    1% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 6
    6% (2011 est.)
    11% (2009 est.)
    lowest 10%: 3.4%
    highest 10%: 27.4% (2008)
    33.7 (2008)
    country comparison to the world: 95
    36.5 (2001)
    revenues: $22 billion
    expenditures: $21.77 billion (2012 est.)
    32% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 81
    0.3% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 41
    5.9% of GDP (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 149
    7.5% of GDP (2011 est.)
    calendar year
    1.8% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 36
    8.1% (2011 est.)
    5% (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 65
    5.25% (31 December 2011 est.)
    note: this is the Refinancing Rate, the key policy rate for the National Bank of Azerbaijan
    18.5% (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 19
    19% (31 December 2011 est.)
    $14.15 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 70
    $11.22 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $17.68 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 89
    $13.19 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
    $17.01 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 88
    $12.72 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $12.3 billion (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 24
    $17.15 billion (2011 est.)
    $30.96 billion (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 64
    $34.49 billion (2011 est.)
    oil and gas 90%, machinery, cotton, foodstuffs
    Italy 25.9%, France 7.7%, India 6.7%, Indonesia 6.6%, Germany 5.6%, Israel 5.1% (2012)
    $10.06 billion (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 97
    $10.17 billion (2011 est.)
    machinery and equipment, oil products, foodstuffs, metals, chemicals
    Turkey 18.6%, Russia 14.3%, China 7.8%, Germany 7.2%, UK 7.1%, US 5.1%, Ukraine 5% (2012)
    $11.28 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 72
    $10.27 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $7.608 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 107
    $7.492 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $11.85 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 81
    $10.35 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $6.923 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 60
    $6.323 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    Azerbaijani manats (AZN) per US dollar -
    0.7857 (2012 est.)
    0.7897 (2011 est.)
    0.8027 (2010 est.)
    0.8038 (2009)
    0.8219 (2008)

Energy ::Azerbaijan

Communications ::Azerbaijan

    1.684 million (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 64
    10.12 million (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 76
    general assessment: requires considerable expansion and modernization; fixed-line telephone and a broad range of other telecom services are controlled by a state-owned telecommunications monopoly and growth has been stagnant; more competition exists in the mobile-cellular market with four providers in 2009
    domestic: teledensity of 17 fixed lines per 100 persons; mobile-cellular teledensity has increased and now exceeds 100 telephones per 100 persons; satellite service connects Baku to a modern switch in its exclave of Naxcivan (Nakhichevan)
    international: country code - 994; the Trans-Asia-Europe (TAE) fiber-optic link transits Azerbaijan providing international connectivity to neighboring countries; the old Soviet system of cable and microwave is still serviceable; satellite earth stations - 2 (2011)
    3 state-run and 1 public TV channels; 4 domestic commercial TV stations and about 15 regional TV stations; cable TV services are available in Baku; 1 state-run and 1 public radio network operating; a small number of private commercial radio stations broadcasting; local FM relays of Baku commercial stations are available in many localities; local relays of several international broadcasters had been available until late 2008 when their broadcasts were banned from FM frequencies (2010)
    46,856 (2012)
    country comparison to the world: 98
    2.42 million (2009)
    country comparison to the world: 70

Transportation ::Azerbaijan

    37 (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 108
    total: 30
    over 3,047 m: 5
    2,438 to 3,047 m: 5
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 13
    914 to 1,523 m: 4
    under 914 m: 3 (2013)
    total: 7
    under 914 m:
    7 (2013)
    1 (2012)
    condensate 89 km; gas 3,890 km; oil 2,446 km (2013)
    total: 2,918 km
    country comparison to the world: 57
    broad gauge: 2,918 km 1.520-m gauge (1,278 km electrified) (2009)
    total: 52,942 km
    country comparison to the world: 77
    paved: 26,789 km
    unpaved: 26,153 km (2006)
    total: 90
    country comparison to the world: 53
    by type: cargo 27, chemical tanker 1, passenger 2, passenger/cargo 8, petroleum tanker 47, roll on/roll off 3, specialized tanker 2
    foreign-owned: 1 (Turkey 1)
    registered in other countries: 2 (Malta 1, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 1) (2010)
    major seaport(s): Baku (Baki) located on the Caspian Sea

Military ::Azerbaijan

Transnational Issues ::Azerbaijan

    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
    IDPs: 600,000 (conflict with Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh) (2013)
    stateless persons: 3,585 (2012)
    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