The Republic of Azerbaijan, or Azerbaijan, is an inland state in the Caucasus on the shores of the Caspian Sea. Neighboring countries are Georgia in the northwest, Armenia in the west, Russia in the north and Iran in the south.
Official language: Azerbaijani
Currency: Azerbaijani manat
Passport and visa: Travelers to Azerbaijan must obtain a visa in advance. The passport must be valid for at least 6 months after leaving the country. http://evisa.mfa.gov.az
Time difference to Finland: +2
Agriculture and fishing
Agriculture’s share of gross domestic product (GDP) has plummeted since independence, but agriculture still employs more than a third of the working population. In 2018, 36 percent of Azerbaijanis were active in agriculture, according to the ILO. However, agricultural production grew by 6.5 percent in the same year, an increase largely due to increased demand from the Russian market.
- CountryAAH: Comprehensive import regulations of Azerbaijan. Covers import prohibitions and special documentation requirements for a list of prohibited items.
Livestock breeding and meat production are the most important. Nearly a quarter of the land area is used as pasture. Large sheep herds provide wool that is used in the country’s traditional carpet production.
Cereals, potatoes, watermelons, apples, tomatoes and other vegetables are grown. Important crops are also grapes, tobacco and citrus fruits. Silk is also produced. Almost a fifth of the land area is cultivated and irrigation is common. For Azerbaijan defense and foreign policy, please check recipesinthebox.
Agriculture is hampered by outdated methods and poor machinery. Many farmers still lack knowledge in commercial operations. The government is trying to support agriculture through irrigation projects and recycling of unused land.
The Caspian Sea and the surrounding area are known for starfish fishing and caviar production. The three species of fish that are most commonly used are seriously threatened with extinction and during the 2000s, catches were regulated by international agreements. Widespread poaching, not least in Azerbaijan, nevertheless leads to a steady decline in the stock.
FACTS – AGRICULTURE
Agriculture’s share of GDP
5.3 percent (2018)
Percentage of land used for agriculture
57.7 percent (2016)
- Abbreviationfinder.org: Offers how the 3-letter acronym of AZE stands for the state of Azerbaijan in geography.
Fines for the examiner of the regime
Khadija Ismajilova (Xədicə İsmayılova), who is a tomb reporter and anti-corruption activist, is sentenced to pay a fine of about half a million kronor. She herself claims that the verdict is a way of stripping independent media. In 2015, she was sentenced to a seven-year prison sentence, which was later converted to a conditional sentence. Among other things, she has been known to review the ruling family Aliyev and Telia’s suspected bribery in Azerbaijan (see September 26, 2017).
Police strike against regime critics
At least eleven people have been arrested by the police for arranging a memorial march for people who lost their lives in demonstrations in connection with the liberation of Azerbaijan from the Soviet Union. Among those arrested are Ali Karimli (Əli Kərimli), leader of the People’s Party, and Jamil Hasanli (Cəmil Həsənlı), who was the opposition presidential candidate in 2013. After a couple of days, and after the fine of Karimli, both are released. Karimli intends to continue holding meetings that the Aliyev regime dislikes.
Christian becomes Israel’s ambassador
Israel has for the first time appointed a Christian diplomat as ambassador. George Deek becomes Ambassador to Azerbaijan in 2019. He is a lawyer and educated at Georgetown University in Washington. Israel has some cooperation in the military with the regime in Azerbaijan.
British authorities call big jumpers
The wife of an Azerbaijani former bank governor is the first to be prosecuted in accordance with Britain’s new anti-corruption law. After a court decision, she has to explain to the NCA, which combats organized crime, how she and her husband obtained their assets – a new measure against money laundering called the Unexplained Wealth Order (UWO). In the UK, the couple has bought properties, among other things. According to the BBC, the woman, who is also wanted in Azerbaijan, has spent £ 10 million alone over a ten-year period at the Harrods department store in London. Husband is serving a 15-year prison sentence for embezzlement in his home country (see October 14, 2016).
Flight exercise in contested enclave
In the Armenian-backed republic of Nagorno-Karabakh, the governing is embarking on a flight exercise that surrounding Azerbaijan perceives as aggression. This is happening at the same time as talks are being planned between the countries’ foreign ministers at the UN General Assembly in New York. In the latest gunfire across the border, a week before the exercise, two soldiers must have been killed according to what the Armenian side states.
Regime critics unconditionally released
Opposition leader Ilgar Mammadov (İlqar Məmmədov) is released conditionally after five years in prison. He is given a two-year probation and travel ban. The Democrat activist had been expected to stand in the 2013 presidential election, but was arrested in advance and charged with revival.
Agreement on the Caspian Sea
12th of August
The five countries that coast towards the Caspian Sea – Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Iran, Russia and Turkmenistan – sign an agreement regulating its legal status. The agreement is signed by the country’s leaders in the port city of Aktau, Kazakhstan. The status of the Caspian Sea has been unclear since the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. The conflict has affected whether it is a lake or an inland sea. An inland sea would be subject to UN maritime law, while the right to a lake must be negotiated between the countries. The ambiguity has led to strained relations between the states as well as ambiguities about who has the right to extract the rich oil and natural gas resources. The agreement provides that the Caspian Sea is neither a lake nor a sea, but has “special legal status”. This means that the surface water should be used jointly by the five states, while the seabed and its assets are to be divided, How these boundaries are to be drawn says nothing about the agreement. The big fishing that produces caviar is regulated by means of quotas. The agreement also states that no other country may establish military bases on the Caspian Sea alongside the five states.
Turkish security service acts abroad
The Turkish security service MIT has arrested two opponents of President Erdoğan, one in Azerbaijan and the other in Ukraine. Both have been brought to their home country designated as supporters of the Gülen movement, which is accused of the coup attempt against the president in 2016, reports the news agency Anatolia. When MIT carried out such an action in Kosovo in March, it led to a management crisis in Kosovo. In April, Turkish authorities stated that 80 Gülenists were brought home similarly. This has also happened from countries in Africa.
Claws in protest of arrest
Two police officers are reported killed in riot gear in the city of Ganja. According to the Interior Ministry, radical Islamists protesting the arrest of a Russian citizen have been charged with shooting at the mayor of the city. 40 people were arrested during the protests.
New step in drone collaboration
The Azeri Ministry of Defense and the Israeli aerospace engineering company Aeronautics are signing a letter of intent to manufacture a new driverless system, reports the Azernews site. According to Flight Global, which oversees the aviation industry, the parties have been producing “drones” in Azerbaijan since 2011, through the Azad joint venture. The Israeli government has also purchased artillery and communications equipment from Israel.
Heat wave turns off the electricity supply
In the summer heat that hits centuries-old records, technical faults arise at the country’s largest hydropower plant. A nationwide interruption will result. Hospitals and metro are eliminated in the capital Baku as well as oil production onshore (offshore extraction relies on other systems). In Baku, 44 degrees are measured, the highest temperature of 120 years. Electricity imports from Georgia and Russia help to stabilize the situation, but only the next morning the electricity supply is restored.
The cranes are opened in important gas pipeline
Azerbaijan inaugurates part of a gas pipeline network that will enable deliveries from one of the world’s largest gas fields to Europe without passing through Russian territory. The inauguration – when President Əliyev opens the cranes and praises the Azeri cooperation with neighboring countries, the EU and the US – takes place at a terminal just over five kilometers southwest of the capital Baku. Seven countries and eleven companies are involved in the project, which also gives Turkey an important position as a hub in the gas trade.
Ilham Aliyev extends his power holdings
Despite the boycott of the opposition parties, presidential elections are conducted six months ahead of the ordinary time. There are formally seven candidates, but according to news media on site, they have hardly implemented anything that can be called campaigns. Some even call on voters to vote for incumbent President Ilham Aliyev (İlham Heydər oğlu Əliyev), who has ruled the country since 2003. Voting is set at just under 75 percent and Əliyev has received 86 percent of the vote when 94 percent counted.
Big fire at clinic
A severe fire at a drug addiction clinic in the capital Baku has claimed at least 24 lives and injured four people. The fire cause is believed to have been an electrical fault, reports the Azerbaijani news agency APA. More than 30 people could be rescued from the single-story building in wood.
Boycott against the presidential election
The largest opposition parties have decided to boycott the suddenly announced presidential election to be held in April. The Popular Front and the National Council agree on a boycott, says People’s Front leader Əli Kərimli to the AFP news agency. There are no conditions for a fair election and there is no free media, he explains. Müsavat and the Alternative Republican Movement have also announced that they do not intend to participate.
Presidential elections are scheduled
The next presidential election will be held on April 11, earlier than planned, President Ilham Aliyev (Əliyev) announces. The deputy leader of the ruling party has previously stated that Aliyev will stand for re-election. Aliyev has amended the constitution so that there is no limit to the number of terms of office. When the amendments were adopted in 2016, the term of office was also extended from five to seven years. According to AFP, at least two opposition candidates have declared that they want to run for candidacy, but opposition voices criticize the decision to make the election earlier on the grounds that it makes it difficult for Aliyev’s counter-candidates.
Three years in prison for politicians
Gözəl Bayramlı, Deputy Chairman of the People’s Party, is sentenced to three years in prison on charges of currency smuggling. She was arrested in May on her way into the country from Georgia. She herself says that someone had “planted” $ 12,000 found in her hand luggage.
Prison for journalists
Journalist Əfqan Muxtarlı is sentenced to six years in prison, accused of smuggling, among other things. He himself claims that he was taken away from his will from Tbilisi in Georgia to face an Azerbaijani court. Among other things, he has investigated corruption in the Azerbaijan army. His lawyer tells the AFP news agency that the verdict is political. Recently, journalist Aziz Orucov was also sentenced to six years in prison, on charges of financial crime.