The Complexity of Nationalism in Azerbaijan

Yoko Hirose


This article examines recent manifestations and trends of Azerbaijani nationalism, highlighting their complexity as they have evolved within regional and international contexts as expressions of Azerbaijani identity. It argues that although the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia in the l990s was instrumental in invoking and strengthening Azerbaijani nationalism, more recent manifestations of nationalism have been varied and responsive to domestic as well as international influences. These influences include the de-russification of Azerbaijani names, which began toward the end of the Soviet era, and the development of national movements aimed at promoting the country’s image internationally. One means by which to achieve this latter goal has been record-setting, which has included the creation of the world’s largest national flag, prioritization of sporting excellence and attempts to host major international sporting and other events, and grandiose construction of buildings, pipelines, and communication and transportation networks. The Azerbaijani diaspora has also been active in promoting an Azerbaijani identity in opposition to Armenia. At the regional level, expressions of Azerbaijani nationalism have caused apprehension within Iran that Iranian Azerbaijanis might participate in these movements. Diplomatic efforts have been aimed at achieving balance, especially in Azerbaijani relations with Russia, Turkey, Iran, China, and the West. The article concludes that Azerbaijani nationalism is currently based on a weak economic foundation of extravagance enabled by oil and gas wealth. It recommends economic diversification, as well as a rethinking of Azerbaijani nationalism policy aimed toward fostering national identity in a less costly manner.

Full Text:




  • There are currently no refbacks.

Paper Submission E-mail:

International Journal of Social Science Studies   ISSN 2324-8033 (Print)   ISSN 2324-8041 (Online)

Copyright © Redfame Publishing Inc.

To make sure that you can receive messages from us, please add the '' domain to your e-mail 'safe list'. If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox', check your 'bulk mail' or 'junk mail' folders. If you have any questions, please contact: