Edited by Léo-Paul Dana, Mary Han, Vanessa Ratten and Isabell M. Welpe
Elena Sannikova and John F. Cassidy Introduction Azerbaijan is located in the South Caucasus region on the western shore of the Caspian Sea, with the Russian republic of Dagestan to the north, Georgia and Armenia to the north and west and Iran to the south. This region lies to the south of the principal Caucasian mountain range, and is situated on the crossroads between Europe and Asia, bridging the Caspian and Black Seas. In terms of religion, Azerbaijan is nominally Islamic, whilst Armenia and Georgia are Christian Orthodox. After 1917 all three countries became part of the Soviet Union. Together with the other republics they gained independence in 1991. Since 1995, political and economic stability has been restored to Azerbaijan. It is primarily an oil-based economy. Whilst still characterized as a low income economy, gross domestic product (GDP) has quadrupled since 2000 amounting to US$19.9 billion in 2006. With the coming on stream of the Baku–Tbilisi–Ceyhan pipeline (BTC pipeline), GDP is expected to double by 2010. In 2006, Azerbaijan was growing at the fastest rates of all emerging markets at 34.5 percent, and in terms of gross national income (GNI) at purchasing power parity (PPP), per capita income in Azerbaijan was US$5430, compared with Armenia with US$1920 and Georgia US$1580 (World Bank, 2008).1 Azerbaijan’s oil industry dominates all other sectors; in 2007, the oil sector accounted for circa 54 percent of GDP and 75 percent of industry.2 The non-oil sector also grew by...
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