Azerbaijan. Opposition magazine Monitor’s editor-in-chief Elmar Husynov was murdered outside his home in Baku in March. The political opposition said he was killed for his regime-critical journalism. A few weeks after the assassination, a group of political prisoners were released, among them seven leading opposition politicians who were sentenced for protests against the election of Ilham Aliyev as president in 2003, when election fraud was believed to have occurred.
In May, a new oil pipeline from Baku was opened through Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey to the port city of Ceyhan on the Mediterranean coast. Azerbaijan hopes that the 160-mile-long pipeline from the rich oil deposits in the Caspian Sea will give the country a strong economic boost.
During the summer and autumn, the opposition carried out several large demonstrations in Baku demanding that the parliamentary elections in November be free and fair. The regime acted harder as the election approached, and several demonstrations were stopped by police. The opposition leader in exile, Rasul Gulijev, tried to return to Azerbaijan from the US before the election, but his plan was diverted to Ukraine where he was arrested at the request of Azerbaijan. According to countryaah, Baku is the capital and one of the major cities within the country of Azerbaijan. The regime in Azerbaijan accused Gulijev of for planning a coup with several Azerbaijani politicians who were also arrested just before the election. Gulijev was released, but human rights organizations said that the regime during the election campaign tried to scare the opposition by, among other things, mass arrests and beatings.
- Also see abbreviationfinder.org for how the acronym AZ stands for the country of Azerbaijan and other meanings of this two-letter abbreviation.
When the elections were held in November, the government of New Azerbaijan, according to the official result, won its own majority in parliament. However, international observers explained that there were serious cases of election fraud. Thousands of people walked the streets of Baku to protest, and in the crowd many orange flags appeared, a reference to the “orange revolution” in Ukraine in 2004. The Azerbaijani regime partially retreated and the authorities ordered re-election in two constituencies and recalculation in one-third.
Baku, (Azerbaijan Bakı), the capital of Azerbaijan; 2.12 million residents (2012). Baku is located on the south side of the Apsjeron Peninsula on the west bank of the Caspian Sea and is an important port city. The central part of the old town is shaped like an amphitheater down to the bay. The residents are mainly Azerbaijani and Russian, but there are also Armenians and Jews.
Baku is the center of administration, trade and communication, but the city is especially known for its association with the oil industry. Oil extraction began as early as 1871, and around 1900 Baku field accounted for 50% of the world’s oil production. Yields from the old oil fields at Baku were declining in the last year of the Soviet Union, but the city gained importance again in the 1990’s due to the expansion of the offshore fields in the Caspian Sea. The Baku-Supsa oil pipeline, opened in 1999, further increased the city’s role as a strategic oil town. In May 2006, the strategically important oil pipeline from Baku over Tbilisi in Georgia was opened to the Turkish city of Ceyhan on the Mediterranean (BTC pipeline).
The city has an extensive petrochemical industry, but there is also the metal and mechanical industry. Baku’s subway system consists of two lines, a total of 30 km. Plans for major expansions were cut down following the dissolution of the Soviet Union.
Baku is the cultural center of Azerbaijan; here are a number of higher education institutions, such as a university founded in 1919. There are also theaters, opera and ballet.
The old central part of the city with its narrow alleys is well preserved. Here you will find the synagogue of Synyk-Kala from 1078, the tower Kyz Kalasy (the Virgin tower) from 1100-t. and the Palace of the Shirvans, built between 1000 and 1400 hours. This area is listed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. Here, the area’s historical link with Persia and Turkey is reflected, which is strengthened again after the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the conflict with Armenia.