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The Beautiful Azerbaijan You Have to Visit to Appreciate

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Oil-rich Azerbaijan has redefined itself over the past two decades from a struggling newly independent state to a major regional energy player.

Deals with international energy producers have allowed the country to use its energy revenues to create a government-run fund involved in international projects. It has also used its resources to rebuild its army, which is seen as a government priority as the country grapples with the breakaway territory of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Despite its wealth and increased influence in the wider region, poverty and corruption continue to overshadow the country’s development.

A government crackdown on human rights advocates and journalists has raised concern that Azerbaijan’s embryonic democracy is under threat.

  • Republic of Azerbaijan
  • Capital: Baku
  • Population 9.6 million
  • Area 86,600 sq km (33,400 sq miles)
  • Major languages Azeri, Russian
  • Major religion Islam
  • Life expectancy 68 years (men), 74 years (women) (UN)
  • Main exports Oil, oil products