Heydar Aliyev


(pronounced "HEY-dar AL-ee-yev")

"We will never allow anyone to disturb the social and political stability and the healthy climate that have been established."

The Azerbaijan Republic is bordered by the Caspian Sea to the east, Iran to the south, Russia and Georgia to the north, and Armenia to the west. Azerbaijan has a total land area of 86,600 sq km (33,400 sq mi). Major administrative subdivisions include the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region (NK, now formally abolished as a political entity) and the Naxcivan Autonomous Republic (NAR). The capital is Baku, a major port on the Caspian Sea.

The total population was estimated at 7.8 million in 2002. Extended economic hardship and conflict have contributed to the emigration of over one million Azerbaijanis and the concentration of a majority of the citizenry in Baku and other urban centers. About 50,000 ethnic Azerbaijanis reside in neighboring Iran. While Azerbaijan's language and ethnic background are heavily Turkish, Iran influences its religion and culture. Ethnically rather homogeneous, nearly 90% of the population is Azeri, 3.2% Dagestani, 2.5% Russian, 2% Armenian, and the remainder made up of other groups. The official language is Azeri, a Turkic language, but Russian and Armenian are also spoken.

Azerbaijan introduced its own currency, the manat, in August 1992. Since the late 19th century, Azerbaijan exported oil and natural gas to the former Soviet republics and elsewhere. In the late 1990s, Azerbaijan began to export its sizeable oil resources via refurbished pipelines through Georgia and Russia to the Black Sea. Chemical and textile industries are other major employers. Cotton, grain, tea, citrus fruit crops, livestock, dairy products, and fish are important sources of revenue. Azerbaijan is also a major wine and spirits producer.


Heydar Aliyev was born in the Naxcivan Autonomous Republic (NAR) in 1923. His parents were both blue-collar workers. Aliyev graduated in 1957 with a degree in history from Azerbaijan State University. A widower, he has a grown son and daughter and five grandchildren. Among his popular nicknames is "Heydar Baba" (Grandfather Heydar). Aliyev is a practicing Muslim.


Ulitsa Lermontova 63
Baku, Azerbaijan
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