Analysis: Do Azerbaijan’s Ethnic Minorities Face Forced Assimilation?

June 26, 2008
By RFE/RL analyst Liz Fuller
Over the past 10 days, representatives of ethnic minorities in Azerbaijan have issued two separate public statements affirming their fear of assimilation and soliciting international support. Azerbaijani commentators have dismissed those appeals as unfounded and orchestrated by Moscow.

The ethnic groups in question are the Avars, Tsakhurs, and Lezgins, and according to official statistics together they constitute less than 1 percent of Azerbaijan’s total population of 8.65 million. They live compactly in several districts of northern Azerbaijan bordering on the Russian Federation. Continue reading

How an Ethnic Group in Azerbaijan Became the Center of Geopolitical Intrigue

Bradley Jardine and Ryan McCarrel
April 6th, 2015

In Azerbaijan, ethnic Iranian communities, known as “Talysh,” in the southern Lenkaran district are at the center of a brewing regional controversy over territorial narratives in the country. Talysh nationalists, who refer to the Lenkaran district as Talyshistan, are challenging Azerbaijan’s claim to the region, and some neighboring countries may be encouraging their aspirations.
In the Caucasus, these sorts of local disputes are regularly manipulated by other regional powers.
Continue reading