Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic


(Azerbaidzhan Sovet Sosialist Respublikasy), also Azerbaijan.

The Azerbaijan SSR was founded on Apr. 28, 1920. From Mar. 12, 1922, until Dec. 5, 1936, it was part of the Trans-caucasian Federation. On Dec. 5, 1936, it became a part of the USSR directly. Located in the southeastern part of Transcaucasia, it borders on the RSFSR in the north (the Dagestan ASSR), on the Georgian SSR in the northwest, on the Armenian SSR and Turkey in the southwest, on Iran in the south, and on the Caspian Sea in the east. Area, 86,600 sq km, including islands in the Caspian Sea. (Because the level of the Caspian Sea has fallen, Azerbaijan’s territory has increased by 3,500 sq km.) Population (Jan. 1, 1969), 5,042,000. The capital is Baku. The Azerbaijan Republic includes the Nakhichevan ASSR and the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast. The republic is divided into 60 raions and has 57 cities (in 1913 there were 13) and 119 urban-type settlements.

The Azerbaijan SSR is a socialist state of workers and peasants, a union republic of the Soviet Union. The constitution now in effect was adopted by the Extraordinary Ninth All-Azerbaijan Congress of Soviets on Mar. 14, 1937. The highest body of state power is the unicameral Supreme Soviet of the Azerbaijan SSR, elected for four years on the basis of one deputy for every 12,500 inhabitants. Between sessions of the Supreme Soviet the highest organ of state power is the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the Azerbaijan SSR. The Supreme Soviet appoints the government of the republic—the Council of Ministers—and legislates for the Azerbaijan Republic. The local bodies of state power are the Soviets of Working People’s Deputies of the raions, cities, settlements, and villages, as well as of the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast. These soviets are elected by the population for two-year terms. The Azerbaijan SSR is represented in the Soviet of Nationalities of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR by 32 deputies. In addition, the Nakhichevan ASSR and the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast, part of the Azerbaijan SSR, are represented in the Soviet of Nationalities by 11 and five deputies respectively.

The highest judicial body of Azerbaijan is the Supreme Court of the republic, elected by the Supreme Soviet of the Azerbaijan SSR for a period of five years. The court functions in the form of two judicial divisions, one for civil and one for criminal cases, and a plenum. In addition, a presidium of the Supreme Court is formed. The attorney of the Azerbaijan SSR and the attorneys of the Nakhichevan ASSR and the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast are appointed by the Attorney-General of the USSR for a period of five years.

The main part of Azerbaijan’s territory is located between the southeastern end of the Greater Caucasus, the southeastern end of the Lesser Caucasus, and the Talysh Mountains. The coast of the Caspian has few irregularities and extends 800 km. The largest peninsulas are the Apsheron, Sara, and the Kura Sand Bar. Convenient inlets are provided by the Apsheron Gulf, the Gulf of Kirov (Kyzylagach), and the Bay of Baku. The major islands are Zhiloi and Artem, which is connected with the mainland by a jetty. Both islands are in the Apsheron archipelago. The islands of the Baku archipelago are small.

Terrain. Nearly half the territory is occupied by mountains. The southeastern parts of three major morphological structures of the Caucasus are found in the borders of Azerbaijan: that of the Greater Caucasus in the north, that of the Lesser Caucasus in the south, and between them part of the Kura depression. In the extreme southeast are the Talysh Mountains, and in the south is the Central Araks River valley framed by the Zangezur and Aiotsdzor (Daralegez) mountain ranges. The Greater Caucasus is represented by the Main, or Dividing, Range (including Mount Bazardiuziu, 4,466 m, or according to some statistics, 4,480 m), and by the Lateral Range (including Mount Shakhdag, 4,243 m). The terrain of the higher ranges of the Greater Caucasus is characterized by frequent glaciers and rival structures. The middle-altitude ranges are broken up by deep and abrupt river valleys. To the east of Mount Babadag (3,629 m) the Greater Caucasus drops off rapidly and turns into broad low hills and foothills where an arid and denuded terrain predominates. Northward from the Greater Caucasus lies the sloping Kusary Plateau, which shades eastward into the Samur-Divichi Plain. Within the boundaries of Azerbaijan, the Kura depression consists of two parts. The terrain in the western part and along the northern rim of the depression is made up predominantly of low hills, ridges, and valleys, the largest of which is the Alazan’-Avtoran (Alazan’-Agrichai) Valley. Badlands and clay karst are found on the steep southern slopes of the mountain ranges. The central and eastern parts of the Kura depression—the Kura-Araks lowlands—consist of alluvial flatlands and low delta areas along the seacoast. The foothills take the form of sloping plains.

Within the borders of the republic there are three mountain ranges of the Lesser Caucasus in a well-developed stage of leveling and rounding: the Shakhdag, Karabakh, and Murovdag, the latter including Mount Giamysh, 3,724 m. The Karabakh highlands, whose terrain consists characteristically of vast lava plateaus and extinct volcanic peaks, are within the Lesser Caucasus. The Talysh mountains, of medium height and erosional structure, consist of three ranges and attain an altitude of 2,477 m.

The distinguishing features of the terrain in the Nakhichevan ASSR are the sloping plains of the Araks valley and the plateaus and severely broken southern slopes of the Aiotsdzor and Zangezur ranges (Mount Kaputdzhukh, 3,904 m). In the foothill region the Ilandag dome and other domes are found. The highest ranges of the Lesser Caucasus, including Zangezur and Murovdag, retain traces of glacial phenomena.


Geological structure and minerals. Azerbaijan is situated at the eastern end of the Caucasian segment of the Alpide geosynclinal fold. Adjoining Azerbaijan on the east is the enormous meridional depression of the Caspian Sea. The northern part of Azerbaijan encompasses the eastern spur of the structurally complex southern limb of the Greater Caucasus mega-anticlinorium as well as the zone of its southeastern termination. The geological structure of this part of Azerbaijan is made up primarily of sedimentary deposits from the Jurassic, Cretaceous, Paleogene, Neogene, and Quaternary systems. Of these the most characteristic are slate layers from the middle Jurassic, flysch formations from the late Jurassic and early Paleogene, and molasse from the Oligocene and Neogene. Toward the southeast, older layers more and more frequently alternate with younger ones, and the lineal folding is replaced by that of the intermittent or discontinuous kind. Along the southern edge of the Greater Caucasus, in the Sheki-Shemakha zone, volcanogenic formations from the middle Jurassic and Cretaceous are found.

On the Apsheron Peninsula and in the Apsheron and Baku archipelagos major deposits of petroleum and natural gas are concentrated in a productive stratum from the middle Pliocene and in deposits of Maikop formation from the Oligocene and early Neogene. The central part of Azerbaijan belongs to the Kura intermontane depression area, which is characterized by a very thick layer of accumulated molasse from the Neogene and Quaternary. These sedimentary deposits in a zone south of the prolonged Alazan’-Agrichai depression are pressed into steep foldings, in some places overthrust southward; in the Kura-Araks lowland area they form sloping brachio-anticlinal upheavals. Along the lower reaches of the Kura the significant deposits of petroleum and natural gas in the productive stratum and in the deposits of the Apsheron layer are related to these sedimentary deposits.

Located in the southern part of Azerbaijan is the Lesser Caucasus system, in whose structure the main role is played by igneous rock from the middle Jurassic, igneous and carbonaceous deposits from the late Cretaceous, and igneous terrigenous deposits from the Paleocene period. In the northern part of the Lesser Caucasus some small out-croppings of metamorphic rock from the Precambrian are known. There are numerous intrusions of granitoid rock from the late Jurassic and late Eocene. The major iron ore deposits at Dashkesan and, indirectly, the Alunite deposits at Zaglik in the same region are connected with the late Jurassic. Here, too, is located the famous Naftalan oil field, producing a type of raw petroleum used for medicinal purposes. Intrusions of basic and ultrabasic rock are widespread throughout the strip that cuts across the upper reaches of the Terter and Akera rivers. The Nakhichevan depression along the Araks was filled by a Miocene lagoon, and terrigenous-carbonaceous deposits from the Silurian, Devonian, and early Carboniferous periods are found in the Nakhichevan ASSR, along with carbonaceous deposits from the Permian and Triassic (the Sharuro-Dzhul’fa anti-clinorium) and calcareous deposits from the Paleocene and Eocene (the Ordubad synclinorium). Deposits of molybdenum, rock salt, and other minerals are also being worked here. In the Karabakh highlands there are manifestations of subaerial vulcanism from the Pliocene and Quaternary periods. The Talysh Mountains, which are separated from the Lesser Caucasus by the transverse depression of the lower Araks, constitute a system of complicated fault folds of marine Paleogene (igneous underneath and terrigenous above) and Miocene layers.

There are over 200 mud volcanoes in the southeast termination of the Greater Caucasus, in the Kura-Araks lowland, in a significant part of the aquatorium of the Caspian Sea adjacent to Azerbaijan, and in other parts of the republic. Many parts of Azerbaijan are distinguished by a high degree of seismicity, especially the southern slope of the Greater Caucasus in the Sheki-Shemakha region and in the southern part of the Lesser Caucasus adjoining the Araks. Azerbaijan has many hot and cold mineral springs, including Kislovodsk-type springs at Narzana (Badamly, Turshsu) and Essentukov (Istisu). V. E. KHAIN and SH. F. MEKHTIEV

Climate Azerbaijan is located basically in the subtropical zone. Several types of climate can be distinguished, from arid subtropical and humid subtropical to mountainous tundra climate. The average yearly temperature varies from 14.5°C in the lowlands to 0°C and lower in the mountain regions. The average temperature in July in the lowland areas is 25°-27°C and even higher in the Nakhichevan valley. In the highlands the average yearly temperature is 5°C or lower. In the lowlands the summers are dry. The average temperature in January is 0°-3°C in the lowland areas, and higher in the Lenkoran’ lowland; between -3°C and -6°C in the medium-altitude highlands; and below - 10°C in the highest mountain regions. The maximum temperatures attain 40°-43°C, and the lowest, in the Nakhichevan valley and the mountains, -30°C. Prevailing winds are from the north on the Apsheron Peninsula, from the northwest or southeast in the Kura-Araks lowland, and from the west in the Lenkoran’ lowland.

Precipitation is distributed in a highly uneven fashion. On the southern shore of the Apsheron Peninsula, in southeastern Shirvani, and southeastern Kobustan (the foothills of the Greater Caucasus), less than 200 mm of precipitation falls annually. In the Kura-Araks lowland and the Nakhichevan valley the figure is 200–300 mm. In the foothills and medium-altitude highlands it is 300–900 mm. On the southern slopes of the Greater Caucasus precipitation reaches 1,000–1,300 mm, and in the Lenkoran’ region, 1,200–1,400 mm, and sometimes as much as 1,700–1,800 mm. In the Lenkoran’ region most of the precipitation falls in the cold part of the year; in the other mountainous and foothill regions precipitation occurs primarily from April to September.

Rivers and lakes In Azerbaijan there are as many as 1,250 rivers, only 21 of which are longer than 100 km. The mountainous regions, 1,000–2,500 m, are covered by a very dense network of rivers (.40–.50 km of river per sq km). In the flatlands rivers are considerably less common (.5–. 10 km per sq km). The largest river of the Caucasus, the Kura, flows through the republic from the northwest to southeast and drains into the Caspian Sea. The main tributary of the Kura, the Araks, runs along the southern border of Azerbaijan. Most rivers in Azerbaijan drain into the Kura basin. The rivers in the northeast and in the Talysh Mountains flow directly into the Caspian. A number of sel’-bearing rivers, rivers that carry friable rock loosened by floods from barren mountain slopes, have their source on the southern slopes of the Greater Caucasus, among them the Belokan-chai, Mukhakhchai, Talachai, and Kurmukhchai. On the other side of the watershed there are rivers that flow toward the northeast, including the Samur and Kudialchai. A number of rivers have their source in the high mountains of the southeastern Lesser Caucasus: the right tributaries of the Kura—the Shankhorchai, Akstafa, Giandzhachai, and Terter, and the left tributary of the Araks—the Akera. For most of the rivers the heaviest flow is observed during the warm season from April to September, but for the rivers in the Talysh the heaviest flow is in the winter season between October and March. The rivers are used for irrigation when they reach the plains. The major Mingechaur Hydroelectric Power Plant and the Mingechaur Reservoir, covering an area of 605 sq km with a volume of approximately 16 million cu km of water, are located on the Kura. The major irrigation canals, the Upper Karabakh and Upper Shirvan, have their source in this reservoir. The Kura River is navigated locally below the Mingechaur plant.

There are 250 lakes in the republic, most of which are insignificant. The largest are LakeGadzhikabul, 15.5 sq km, and Lake Beiukshor, 10.3 sq km. Lakes created from glaciers or from valley dams are found in the Greater and Lesser Caucasus. The largest of these is Greater Alagel’ Lake in the Karabakh volcanic highlands, with an area of approximately 5 sq km and a depth of 8 m. On the northeast slope of the Murovdag Range there are a number of picturesque lakes originally created by landslides and natural dams. Among them is one of the most beautiful in the Caucasus, LakeGeigel’. The Kura-Araks lowland also has many lakes.

Soils In the Kura-Araks lowland the soils that are found most widely are gray desert-meadow soils, meadow and marsh soils, and solonchak. At its outer edges there are gray desert soils and meadow desert soils. On the sloping plains and in the foothills the following soils are widely found: gray desert and brown solonetzic and solodized soils, cinammic postforest soils, chestnut soils, mountain chestnut soils, mountain gray and cinnamic soils, and mountain chernozems. Typical of the forested mountain zones are mountain-forest browns, mountain-forest humus-calcareous soils, and varieties of mountain-forest cinnamic soils. Above the forest line, mountain meadow soils of the chernozem type, mountain meadow soddy soils, and mountain meadow peat soils are widespread. In the humid eastern foothills of the Talysh Mountains and in the Lenkoran’ valley there are various types of yellow earths.

Flora The flora of Azerbaijan is distinguished by great variety; over 4,100 species have been counted. The lowland regions of Azerbaijan are covered by semidesert and sometimes desert (saltwort) vegetation with various species of partial scrub growth (primarily wormwoods), ephemerals, and ephemeraloids predominating in the semiarid regions. Various saltworts are found in the saline soils of the Kura-Araks valley. In the sloping plains and semiarid foothills the vegetation consists of wormwood and wormwood mixed with grass, semidesert growth, dry steppe growth, and clumps of highland xerophytes. Further to the west and at higher altitudes these are replaced by mountain-steppe vegetation with feather grass, beard grass, fescue, and other types of grasses predominating. Large forest areas cover 1,146,000 ha. The largest of these in Azerbaijan are on the southern slopes of the Greater Caucasus and partially on the slopes of the Lesser Caucasus and the Talysh Mountains. In the lower mountain forest zone (between 500 and 800 m) the Iberian oak predominates. In some areas of the southern slopes of the Greater Caucasus the European chestnut is also present. In the foothill forest zone of the Talysh Mountains relic forests of chestnut-leaf oak, albiz-zia, ironwood, persimmon, and so on predominate. The eastern beech is widespread in Azerbaijani mountain forest zones at middle altitudes. In zones above 2,200–2,500 m, and in some places above 1,800 m, there are subalpine and alpine meadows which serve as excellent grazing pastures.

Fauna Roughly 12,000 animal species have been identified in Azerbaijan. In the arid regions such reptiles as grass snakes, adders, and blunt-nosed vipers are found, as are various rodent species. In the reed thickets of the Kura-Araks lowland, the wild boar, coypu, and racoon dog are found; they are not indigenous but have adapted to the region. Gazelles inhabit the steppes. Bird species include the pheasant (in the tugai forests), the francolin, rock partridge, little bustard, and great bustard, as well as many kinds of geese and ducks. The mountain regions are inhabited by the wild boar, leopard, bear, lynx, wildcat, mountain goat, roe deer, doormouse, and squirrel. Porcupines are found in the Talysh area. The Caspian Sea and Kura River are rich in valuable species of fish, such as the salmon, sturgeon, starred sturgeon, and beluga. Game animals include the wild boar and fur-bearing coypu; game birds include the true duck, bufflehead, little bustard, and coot.

Preserves Azerbaijan’s most outstanding preserves include the Zakataly preserve for the protection of primeval forests, mountain meadows, and such fauna as the Dagestan aurochs and stone and pine marten; the Turianchai preserve, for the protection of the arid soil sparse juniperpistachio

Table 1. Population
 PopulationUrbanRuralPercentage of urbantotal rural
1913 (estimate at end of year) .............2,339,000566,0001,783,0002476
1926 (census, Dec. 17) ...................2,314,000650,0001,664,0002872
1939 (census, Jan. 17) ...................3,205,0001,157,0002,048,0003664
1959 (census, Jan. 15) ...................3,698,0001,767,0001,931,0004852
1969 (estimate, Jan. 1) ...................5,042,0002,546,0002,496,0005050

forests and arborescent junipers, and the El’dar branch of this preserve, for the protection of the relic El’dar pine; and the Kyzylagach preserve, the wintering place for many kinds of water birds.

Natural regions The following natural regions of Azerbaijan may be distinguished: the southeastern part of the Greater Caucasus; the southeastern part of the Lesser Caucasus; the Kura depression; and the Talysh and Nakhichevan region. Within the Greater Caucasus region the southern and northern slopes and the southeast termination of the Greater Caucasus are most sharply distinguished in their structure and in the types of variation in high mountain terrain. In the northwest the Kusary plateau and Samur-Divichi plain adjoin with the Greater Caucasus. The eastern termination of the Greater Caucasus is characterized by such a significant increase in the aridity of the terrain that semiarid conditions appear. On the Kusary plateau wooded terrain and steppe land with scrub growth predominate. Semidesert terrain prevails in the lowland along the river, except in the areas of abundant groundwater where lowland wooded areas and marshlands occur. In the Lesser Caucasus internal differentiation and distinct variations in the high mountain terrain are characteristic. The distinguishable regions are the northeastern slope, the southeastern slope, the Karabakh volcanic highlands, and the Akera River valley. In the Kura depression the following areas are clearly distinguishable: the Alazan’-Agrichai valley, where wooded lowlands prevail; the Dzheiranchel’-Adzhinour piedmont, with sparse forests growing in arid soil and semiarid terrain; and the Kura-Araks lowland, where semiarid terrain is found in conditions of insufficient moisture. The Talysh region includes the Lenkoran’ lowland and the Talysh Mountains. In the Nakhichevan region a mountain area and a lowland area can be distinguished. The climate for the most part is sharply continental and dry; semiarid terrain predominates.


Fizicheskaia geografiia Azerbaidzhanskoi SSR. Baku, 1945.
Fizicheskaia geografiia Azerbaidzhanskoi SSR. Moscow, 1959.
Geomorfologiia Azerbaidzhana. Baku, 1959.
Klimat Azerbaidzhana. Baku, 1968.
Agabekov, M. G. [et. al.] “Osnovnye cherty geologicheskogo stroeniia Azerbaidzhana.” Izv. AN SSSR. Seriia geologicheskaia, 1967, no. 11.
Geologiia neftianykh i gazovykh mestorozhdenii Azerbaidzhana. Moscow, 1966.
Geologiia Azerbaidzhana, vols. 1–7. Moscow, 1952–61.
Kashkai, M. A. Petrologiia i metallogeniia Dashkesana i drugikh zhelezorudnykh mestorozhdenii Azerbaidzhana. Moscow, 1965.


Azerbaijanis form the basic population of the republic; they numbered 3,777,000 according to the 1970 census, constituting 73.8 percent of the total population. A considerable portion of the urban population is composed of Russians (510,000) and Armenians (484,000). Armenians are found in the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast, the mountainous parts of the Nakhichevan ASSR, and in a number of cities. Peoples who speak languages of the Caucasian family—including 137,000 Lezghins, 17,300 Avars, 3,200 Udins, and 2,900 Tsakhurs—live in northern Azerbaijan. In the eastern parts and on the Apsheron Peninsula there are 5,900 Tats. In the southwest there are 1,500 Kurds. Other inhabitants include Ukrainians, Jews, Tatars and Georgians.

Azerbaijan is one of the areas in the Soviet Union where the population is growing especially rapidly. It is the sixth largest union republic in terms of population. From 1913 to 1969 its population more than doubled (see Table 1). In the postwar years this increase occurred primarily by the natural growth of the population, which slowed down after 1960. In 1968 the natural growth rate was 25.6 per thousand as opposed to 35.9 per thousand in 1960, which is explained by a drop in the birthrate from 42.6 per thousand in 1960 to 32.3 per thousand in 1968.

The average population density was 58.2 persons per sq km in 1968, as against 27 per sq km in 1913. The most densely populated zone is the Apsheron Peninsula, including the suburban area of Baku (150—300 people per sq km). Certain lowland and foothill regions are also densely populated. The highest density of rural population is found in the Lenkoran and Masally raions (as many as 166 persons per sq km). Part of the Kura-Araks valley and the high mountain zone are sparsely populated.

According to the 1959 census, 41.3 percent of the Azerbaijani population was employed in the national economy, 16 percent more than in 1939. Women constituted 52 percent of the population and 44 percent of those employed in the national economy. Industrial and office workers constituted 57.5 percent of the population, and kolkhoz peasants made up 42.4 percent. In 1967 the average number of industrial and office workers in the economy was 1,139,000, including 292,000 in industry, 90,000 in construction, 156,000 in agriculture, and 128,000 in transportation and communication. The urban population in 1968 had increased by 4.6 times over that of 1913 (the rural population increased by 1.4 times).

Major cities with a population of more than 100,000 as of 1969 were Baku with 1,236,000 inhabitants, including municipal settlements coming under the jurisdiction of the city soviet, and Kirovabad with 180,000 inhabitants. Under Soviet rule new cities have arisen, including Sumgait, population 117,000, Mingechaur, 39,000, Stepanakert, 28,000, Ali-Bairamly, 27,000, and Dashkesan, 11,000.


The primitive communal system and slaveholding relations on the territory of Azerbaijan The territory of contemporary Azerbaijan was settled and made habitable by human beings as early as the Paleolithic period. Paleolithic stone axe heads have been found at Aveidag in Kazakh Raion and at the Azykh cave in Gadrut Raion. Archaeological excavations in 1968 at the Azykh cave have unearthed the lower jaw of one of the oldest forms of Neanderthal man (of the Chellean period). In the Neolithic period these people learned to make more finished and functional stone implements. In the Aeneolithic period the inhabitants of Azerbaijan first began to use metal implements in their work and copper weapons of war. Interesting relics from the Aeneolithic have been discovered at the Kiul’-Tapa mound in Nakhichevan ASSR. Agriculture and herding, originating in the Neolithic period, became the basis for the economy of communal clan society. Agriculture was quite primitive: the land was worked primarily with implements of wood, stone, and bone. Part of the population engaged in handicrafts. At the end of the third millennium and the beginning of the second millennium B.C., metal implements and weapons of bronze came into widespread use—knives, axes, poleaxes, daggers, and swords. Relics of the Bronze Age have been found near Khodzhaly, Kedabek, Dashkesan, Kirovabad, Mingechaur, and Shamkhora in the Nakhichevan ASSR. Iron implements gradually came into use near the beginning of the first millennium B.C. Evidence of the progress in production techniques in the Iron Age is provided by the skillfully made swords with iron blades and bronze handles found at Mugani, in the locality of Uzuntep (the contemporary Dzhalilabad Raion). The culture of the inhabitants of the country developed in close interrelation to the cultures of the neighboring countries and peoples. The transition from stone to metal implements, especially ones of iron, led to a revolution in the area of social production. During the first half of the first millennium B.C. primitive communal society began to disintegrate, creating the conditions for the development of private property and commercial trade, which in its turn stipulated the appearance of classes and the rise of the state.

The first state formations on the territory of Azerbaijan appeared in embryonic form with the tribal alliances of the Mannaians, living in the southern part of the country, and later those of the Medes, some of whom also inhabited the southern part of Azerbaijan. In the first millennium B.C. the peoples living in the Azerbaijan area also included Cadusiis, Caspians, and Albanoi. In the ninth century B.C. a state arose in Mannai, in the region south and east of Lake Urmiia, with Izirtu as its capital. Significant levels were achieved in the economy and culture of this state. Mannai succeeded for a long time in resisting attack by Assyria and Urartu, but in the 650’s B.C. it gradually lost its political importance.

Approximately in the 670’s B.C. the new state formation of Media arose in southern Azerbaijan and on the territory of neighboring countries. It later extended its power to cover a vast territory. Under King Cyaxares (625–584 B.C.), Media, which had become the greatest empire of the ancient East, conquered Mannai, which in turn became the basic cultural and economic nucleus and the leading region of the Median state. By the middle of the sixth century B.C. , power within the Median Empire passed into the hands of the ancient Persian dynasty of the Achaemenids. Harsh oppression by the Persian conquerors provoked popular disturbances; the prophet Gaumata led one in the 520’s B.C. After the defeat of the Achaemenid state by Alexander the Great at the end of the fourth century B.C, a form of state power was restored in the territory of Azerbaijan. This became known by the name of Atropatena and had its capital at Gazaka. However, there is testimony from the ancient Greek author Polybius to the effect that “this kingdom had remained intact from the time of the Persians.” Atropatena is one of the most ancient names known for Azerbaijan, reaching us by way of Greek sources; it means, literally, “land of the keepers of the fire.” Agriculture, herding, and handicrafts were developed intensively in Atropatena. It was particularly famed for its manufacture of wool fabrics. Monetary trade also expanded. The prevailing religion was Zoroastrianism, and the main temple of the fire worshipers was at Gazaka.

Roughly at the beginning of the Christian era, although the exact period of its origin is not known, a state called Albania arose in the territory of contemporary Azerbaijan and southern Dagestan with its main city at Kabala. In the first century B.C. the slaveholding Roman Empire tried to conquer Albania, Armenia, and Iberia (Eastern Georgia).

The social structure of most of the ancient states on Azerbaijani territory was characterized by the interweaving of the disintegrating primitive-communal relations and the arising slave-owning relations. The latter were strongest in Atropatena, although here too most of the producers were members of communal clans. These states played an important role in unifying the tribes living on Azerbaijani territory. The language of the territory was, apparently, the same as what later became known as Azeri. Eventually, the Albanian tribes and other ethnic groups also became part of the nationality that was forming itself in Azerbaijan.

The origin and development of the feudal system (third through 19th centuries) In the first centuries A.D. a process of intense development of agriculture, herding, viticulture, and fruit and melon cultivation went on. At the same time the handicrafts advanced considerably—including metalworking, production of fabrics and earthenware, jewelry-making, and highly skilled crafts such as rug-making. From the third through the fifth centuries, feudal relations were essentially established in Azerbaijan. The basic classes of feudal society took shape—feudal lords and dependent peasants. The majority of the feudal lords did not occupy their own estates, which would have required considerable expense because of the need for artificial irrigation. Thus they were directly interested not so much in the land on which the dependent peasants dwelled as in collecting rents from the peasants who worked the land. The result was that payment in kind was the predominant form of rent. In the beginning of the fourth century, Christianity was adopted as the state religion in Albania. The feudal lords used it to strengthen their domination.

Azerbaijan was frequently subjected to raids by foreign conquerors. In the middle of the third century it was partly conquered by the Sassanids, who had established a powerful state in Iran. In the fourth century Azerbaijan, as well as Armenia and Georgia, became an arena for the ruinous wars between Rome and Iran. Raids via the Derbent Pass by nomadic Turkic-speaking tribes from the north, such as the Huns and Khazars, became more intense. Oppression by foreigners aroused resistance among the masses of the people. In the second half of the fifth century and in the sixth century a wave of anti-Sassanid uprisings spread through Transcaucasia. The struggle against foreign oppression was frequently combined with antifeudal outbreaks among the people. Peasants refused to pay tribute and fulfill feudal obligations. They destroyed the estates of feudal lords and fled to the mountains and forests. In the late fifth and early sixth centuries, the Mazdakite movement became widespread in Azerbaijan and neighboring Iran; to a certain extent it represented a protest against feudal dependency.

In the period from the fifth through the seventh centuries a further development of the productive forces took place in Azerbaijan, bringing about important changes in the economic and cultural life of the local population. The arable lands and natural resources began to be used more fully, the system of irrigation was introduced. Metal-smelting techniques improved, and the extraction of petroleum in the Apsheron Peninsula began. Such major cities as Shabran, Shemakha, Kabala, Sheki, Shamkhor, Gandzha (Giandzha), Tabriz, and Barda (the main commercial and handicraft center) grew. Urban artisans and tradesmen became the most important social force.

There were notable advances in the realm of intellectual culture as well. The Pahlavi form of writing spread through Atropatena. In the beginning of the fifth century, Albania developed its own 52–letter alphabet. Literature and science were developing; in the seventh century Movses Kagankat-vatsi began to compile the history of Caucasian Albania. In the mid-seventh century Azerbaijan was invaded by the army of the Arabian caliphate. During the resistance to this invasion, the prominent Albanian military leader Dzhevan-shir covered himself with glory. Chief of the feudal domain of Girdyman, he had become the ruler of Albania. The Arabian caliphate broke the resistance of the masses only by the beginning of the eighth century; it then subjugated Azerbaijan, along with the rest of Transcaucasia, and established the heavy yoke of its rule in this region. The conquerors implanted Islam by force. The taxation policies of the conquerors and the arbitrariness of the officials aroused the peoples’ hatred for the foreigners and for the powerful local feudal lords who were in alliance with them. The most significant popular uprising in Azerbaijan against this dual oppression was the peasant war led by Babek.

In the second half of the ninth century and first half of the tenth, when broadly based popular movements shook the foundations of the Arabian caliphate’s rule, a number of feudal states took form and consolidated themselves in Azerbaijan: the most notable one was the domain of the Shirvanshahs, with its center at Shemakha. The feudal dependence of the peasants increased still further, and a considerable portion of the best lands came into the hands of the most powerful feudal lords and their vassals.

In the middle of the 11th century Azerbaijan was invaded by Turkic-speaking tribes, including the Oguzy, headed by the Seljuk dynasty; this invasion led to a decline in the economic life of the settled population. And only after the weakening of Seljuk power and the rise of the states of the Shirvanshahs, Kesranids, and Il’degizids in Azerbaijan in the 12th century could a new rise in agriculture, handicrafts, and trade and a revitalization of city life be observed. In a number of cities the production of silk, wool, and linen fabrics, metal goods, glazed pottery, and glassware increased to a significant degree. The export of silk, wool, petroleum, saffron, copperware, earthenware, dry fruit, fish, and so on to neighboring and more distant countries expanded significantly.

Changes took place in the social structure as well. Over the course of time the forms of feudal landholding were modified. The most stable of them was inheritable landed property, the so-called mul’k, and landed property owned by religious institutions, the so-called waqf, originating as early as the period of Arab rule. Under the Arabs and later under the Seljuks, conditional grants of land, the ikta, became a widespread form of property. Lands belonging to the state were called divani. Vast estates, the khasse, belonged to members of the ruling dynasty. In Azerbaijan three forms of feudal rent existed—payment in kind, in money, and in service; payment in kind was the most prevalent.

The arrival and settlement in Azerbaijan of compact masses of Turkic-speaking tribes over an extended historical period (the seventh through 11th centuries) led to the displacement of the ancient local languages by Turkic, which by the 11th—13th centuries had already become the spoken language of the native population of Azerbaijan. This newly formed Azerbaijani language, belonging to the Turkic language family, preserved elements of the indigenous languages and did not become the literary language for some time. In business correspondence, scholarship, and literature Arabic and Persian were long retained. The formation of the Azerbaijani nationality dates from this period as well.

For centuries material and intellectual creations of value were produced by the genius of this people. Major contributions to the development of Azerbaijan and world culture were made in the 11th and 12th centuries by such prominent scholars as Makki ibn Akhmed and Bakhmaniar, the poets and thinkers Khatib Tabrizi, Khagani, and Nizami Ganjevi, and the poetess Mekhseti Ganjevi. Masterpieces of the architecture of this period have been preserved in Azerbaijan—including the mausoleum of Iusuf (the son of Kuseiir and Momine-khatun) in Nakhichevan and the tower of Kyz-kalasy (the Maiden’s Tower) in Baku.

In the 1230’s, Azerbaijan was conquered by the Mongol Tatar hordes. They left such flourishing trade and craft centers as Bailakan, Gandzha, Shemakha, Ardebil’, and Barda in ruins. On the conquered lands of Azerbaijan and in neighboring countries the Il-khanid state arose. Under its domination, lasting until the 1360’s and 1370’s, the system of irrigation canals was destroyed and arable lands were turned into pasture. Agriculture went into decline. Many of the lands that had belonged to the local feudal gentry passed into the hands of the Mongol Tatar military and tribal nobility. Part of the land remained, as before, the property of peasant communes, the dzhamaats. In the 13th and 14th centuries anti-Mongol and antifeudal disturbances occurred in Karabakh, Aran, Shirvan, and Tabriz. The heavy burden of feudal and foreign oppression retarded the development of culture but did not stop it completely. A number of outstanding figures lived and worked in Azerbaijan in the 13th and 14th centuries—for example, the poets Zul’figar Shir-vani, Avkhedi Maragai, and Izzedin Hasan-ogly; the scholar Nasireddin Tusi, founder of the Maraga observatory; the philosopher Makhmud Shabustari; and the historians Faz-lullakh Rashidaddin and Mukhammed Nakhichevani.

At the end of the 14th century, Azerbaijan was invaded by the armies of Tamerlaine. In the late 14th century and early 15th the Shirvanshah state gained considerable power, and in the 15th century two new state formations appeared—Kara-Koiunly and Ak-Koiunly. These occupied a considerable part of the southern territory of Azerbaijan. Shirvan, the main center for the production of raw silk, played an important role at that time in Azerbaijan’s trade with other countries. Commercial, economic, and diplomatic ties between Azerbaijan and Russia grew stronger. The Shirvanshahs sent delegations to Moscow, and delegations from the Muscovite state visited Shirvan.

The main centers of Azerbaijan culture at the end of the 14th century and in the 15th were Tabriz and Shemakha. Among the structures built in the 15th century were the palace of. the Shirvanshahs in Baku (a masterpiece of medieval Azerbaijani architecture) and the Blue Mosque in Tabriz.

An important role in the history of Azerbaijan was played by the formation in the 16th century of the Safawid state, which originated on Azerbaijan territory and soon became a mighty empire covering a vast territory from the Syr Daria to the Euphrates River. Its founder was Shah Ismail I, who ruled from 1502 to 1524. By the middle of the 16th century almost all of Azerbaijan had come under Safawid rule. The unification of the country promoted an upsurge in economic and cultural life and facilitated the struggle of the people against foreign conquerors, the Turks most of all. In the initial stages of the Safawid state’s existence, the Azerbaijani nobility played a leading role. Regional administration and almost all positions at court were in its hands. The army was composed primarily of Azerbaijanis. Azerbaijani was used at the Shah’s court, in the army, and sometimes in diplomatic correspondence as well. In the 16th century arable lands which had been turned into pasture under the Mongols and Tatars began to be cultivated again, and the irrigation system they destroyed was restored. The onerous form of tribute, the tamga, which had been collected for the benefit of the military-tribal nobility of the Mongols and Tatars, was abolished. The role of cities in which craft production was highly developed, such as Tabriz, Shemakha, Baku, Ardebil’, and Dzhulfa, increased considerably. Trade relations expanded between Azerbaijan’s cities and neighboring Transcaucasian countries, Russia, Iran, Turkey, and India. Trade relations were established with England, France, and Italy. At the end of the 16th century tens of thousands of poods (1 pood= 16.38 kg) of raw silk were exported from Shirvan annually. The Azerbaijani cities grew into major trade centers; along with the Azerbaijanis, Armenian, Georgian, Iranian, Indian, and Western European merchants conducted trade there.

But the country’s economic revival did not last long. Changes in the world trade-route patterns, the renewal of wars between the Safawid state and Turkey in the 1570’s, and internecine feudal strife led to a general slowdown in the tempo of social and economic development for the countries of the East, including Azerbaijan. The Safawid state was wracked by antifeudal outbreaks among artisans and the urban poor and among the peasants, provoked by the rising tax burden. The largest of these was the uprising of Tabriz artisans in 1571–73.

Under Shah Abbas I, who ruled during 1587–1629, the Safawid state underwent a certain process of Iranianization. In the tenth year of his rule Abbas I moved the capital from Kazvin to Isfahan, deep in the heart of Iran, thus strengthening the influence of the Iranian nobility at court and in the government apparatus. The Iranian feudal lords became more and more the base of the shah’s support. The main positions at court and the higher administrative posts passed into their hands. Many Azerbaijani military leaders were removed from the army. Azerbaijan began to be turned into just another borderland region of the Iranian state. Thus the Azerbaijanis soon were forced to struggle not only against exploitation by local feudal lords but also against Iranian oppression. At the same time, the masses suffered from the burden of the prolonged wars between the Turkish sultan and the Iranian shah, which lasted from 1602 until 1639 with slight interruptions. During these years the name of the folk hero Ker-ogly became famous. He was the leader of one of the peasant bands that fought against the foreign and local oppressors. After peace was concluded between Iran and Turkey in 1639, Azerbaijan came under Iranian rule once again.

At the beginning of the 18th century, fighting between Iran and Turkey over Azerbaijan and the rest of Transcaucasia broke out anew. The expansionist policies of Iran and Turkey represented a great danger for the peoples of this region, since the policies not only entailed worsening the area’s social and economic backwardness, fragmenting its economic and political systems, and establishing the most savage forms of feudal oppression, but also threatened a considerable part of the population with physical extermination. Uprisings against both Turkey and Iran occurred in Transcaucasia during 1715–31.

The economic and political interests that linked Azerbaijan and the other countries of Transcaucasia to Russia and the need to seek protection from the Iranian and Turkish enslavers strengthened the leanings among some Azerbaijanis, especially city dwellers, toward Russia. This coincided with the interests of tsarist Russia, which was attempting to extend and strengthen its influence in the East. The Russian government wished to secure itself on the Caspian coast and regarded the taking of Baku, the best port on the Caspian, as especially important. Russian troops landed at Baku in the summer of 1723 and shortly overcame the resistance of the local garrison and occupied the city. After Baku, Russia annexed Caspian coastal regions up to Resht and Astrabad.

England and France, the Western European powers that were attempting to enlarge their colonial possessions in the East, tried to oppose this strengthening of Russian influence in the Caucasus by every means. Turkey began to prepare for war with Russia at the instigation of the European states. In the summer of 1723 the sultan’s troops invaded Georgia and by early 1724 had already seized many parts of Transcaucasia. Russia, which had just emerged from a war with Sweden, was not able to undertake a new war with Turkey. By the terms of the treaty between Russia and Turkey signed on June 12 (23), 1724, in Constantinople, Russia secured the Caspian coastal areas of Azerbaijan including Baku, Sal’iany, and Lenkoran’. The rest of Azerbaijani territory remained in the hands of Turkey and Iran. This situation lasted until 1735, when Russia was forced to yield the Caspian regions to Iran in order to avoid a new war with both Iran and Turkey. In March 1735 Iran and Russia signed the Gandzha treaty; according to its terms the Russian forces withdrew from Baku and Derbent. The Caspian coastal regions once again came under Iranian rule. The government of Nadir-Shah imposed intolerable oppression there. In the late 1730’s and early 1740’s major anti-Iranian uprisings erupted in Shirvan, Sheki, and other regions of Azerbaijan.

In the second half of the 18th century some 15 states— khanates—were formed on Azerbaijani territory. The largest of these khanates were those of Sheki, Karabakh, and Kuba. Even smaller feudal realms came into existence, such as sultanates and malikates. Natural economy continued to prevail. Household crafts were linked with agriculture, and the manufacturing stage of production had not been reached. The craft workshops made tools, weapons, fabrics, leather goods, and other articles for household use. Various types of handicrafts were distributed among the different khanates. Shemakha was the center of silk fabric production; the manufacture of copper utensils and weapons developed in the Shirvan khanate, rug-weaving in the Kuba khanate, and so forth.

The cities of Azerbaijan in the late 18th century and early 19th served primarily as administrative centers for the khanates. A substantial section of the urban population had not broken its ties with agriculture. All of the land in Azerbaijan was formally considered the property of the khans, but in fact the greater part of it was in the hands of the secular feudal lords, the beks and agalars, either by conditional property rights (tiul’) or by hereditary right (mul’k). Part of the land was in the hands of religious institutions (waqf). The nomadic tribal nobility also belonged to the ranks of large landholders, having seized the lands occupied by settled or semisettled peasants.

The greater part of the peasantry consisted of those who were bound to the soil, the raiiats. When a tract of land passed from one owner to another the raiiats were also transferred to the new master. Their situation was a very difficult one. In addition to the large payments in money and in kind that they delivered to the feudal landlords, the raiiats also had to fulfill labor obligations for them. In addition, they paid taxes and fulfilled obligations to the khan. Another, smaller group of peasants consisted of randzh-bars—peasants who were bound personally without land. Their situation was even more difficult. The peasant section of the population also included the eliats, the nomadic herders. They belonged to the nomadic tribal structure and were subject to the tribal nobility.

The domination of the feudal lords extended also to the cities of Azerbaijan. Frequently the ownership of a large number of commercial establishments and craft workshops was concentrated in their hands, and they imposed the severest forms of feudal exploitation. The feudal lords also exerted their influence on trade, especially foreign trade. The existence of tariff barriers between the khanates, the high customs payments charged, the existence of different monetary systems and systems of measurement—all this impeded the development of trade within the country.

The historical conditions of the 17th and 18th centuries found their expression in Azerbaijani culture as well. The 17th-century heroic epic Ker-ogly is an outstanding monument of folk art. Patriotic themes in literature grew stronger, as in the works of the Azerbaijani poets Vagif and Vidadi. A number of architectural monuments have been preserved from the 17th and 18th centuries, such as the Baiat, Shakhbulag, and Shusha fortresses in Karabakh.

The incorporation of Azerbaijan into Russia. The rise and development of capitalist relations (19th century) Given the existence of a permanent threat from the direction of Iran and Turkey, a number of Transcaucasian statesmen— including the Kuban khan Fatali Khan and Vagif, the vizier of the Karabakh khanate—tried to establish an alliance with Russia. As Engels noted, “... in relation to the East, Russia actually plays a progressive role” (K. Marx and F. Engels, Soch., 2nd ed., vol. 27, p. 241). Even though the Azerbaijani feudal lords frequently pursued a vacillating policy in relation to Russia and even though some of them were oriented toward Iran and Turkey, the progressive elements among the Azerbaijanis favored unification with Russia. In the years 1803–05 the Karabakh and Sheki khanates were peacefully annexed to Russia. The Gandzha Khanate was annexed to Russia in 1803 after the Russian siege and occupation of Gandzha, which was renamed Elizavetpol’ in 1804. During the Russo-Iranian War of 1804–13, the Kuba and Baku khanates came under Russian control in 1806, and the Talysh Khanate in 1809. The Guli-stan Peace Treaty of 1813 was concluded between Russia and Iran on Oct. 24 (Nov. 5) and confirmed this situation juridically. Iran abandoned its claims to the Karabakh, Gandzha, Shirvan, Sheki, Baku, Derbent, Kuba, and Talysh khanates as well as to eastern Georgia and Dagestan. According to the treaty, all of the southern khanates of Azerbaijan remained under the shah’s rule. At the end of the Russo-Iranian War of 1826–28, under the terms of the Turkmanchai peace treaty, the Nakhichevan Khanate, the Ordubad Okrug, and other territories came under Russian rule.

The incorporation of northern Azerbaijan into Russia proved to be an important turning point in the history of the Azerbaijanis. Despite the tsarist colonial policy, merger with Russia brought Azerbaijan a respite from ruinous foreign invasions as well as from feudal fragmentation and internecine strife. More favorable conditions were created for mutual interaction between Russian and Azerbaijani culture. The beneficial influence of progressive Russian culture and of revolutionary-democratic ideas was manifested in the works and creative activity of the best representatives of Azerbaijani culture, including A. Bakikhanov, M. Top-chibashev, K. Zakir, and M. F. Akhundov.

In the 1830’s, 1840’s, and 1850’s the tsarist government made its first attempts to adapt Azerbaijani economic and social institutions to the purposes of colonial exploitation. Especially favorable conditions for this were created in the postreform era. A characteristic feature of the postreform period in Russian history was the development of capitalism not only vertically but horizontally, which led to the economic rapprochement of the peoples and to the strengthening of their economic and cultural ties. However the growth of the productive forces moved more slowly in the outlying parts of the country than in the central Russian provinces. Through limited reform measures tsarism tried to preserve patriarchal and feudal backwardness and to blunt the edge of social conflicts in many of the outlying areas, including Azerbaijan. Only in 1870 were the peasant reforms carried through in Azerbaijan, and then with numerous restrictions. In contrast to the situation in the central Russian provinces, the tsarist government did not grant loans to the Azerbaijani peasants with which to purchase their plots of land, and the purchase price was expected to be paid in full all at one time. For that reason there was not one single case of an Azerbaijani peasant purchasing his land during the 25 years after the reform. Feudal-dependent relations persisted in Azerbaijan right up until the Great October Socialist Revolution. The majority of peasants suffered from land hunger and landlessness and had to lease land on heavy terms. At the end of the 19th century, 30 percent of all land in use by the peasants of Elizavetpol’ Province were rented lands.

For all its limitations, the peasant reform nevertheless stimulated capitalist development in Azerbaijan. The abolition of feudal-dependent relations by law created the conditions for the appearance of a class of free laborers which was absorbed by the developing capitalist industry. The growth of commercial types of agriculture, such as cereal crops, cotton, livestock, silk, and tobacco, as well as of extractive and processing industries—such as oil extraction and refining, processing agricultural produce, and rock-salt extraction—was one of the main features of Azerbaijan’s economic development in that period. The laying of a railroad track from Tbilisi to Baku in 1883 and the linking of the Transcaucasian railway with the all-Russian rail system in 1900 were of great importance to Azerbaijan. The expansion of commercial shipping on the Caspian also played an important role. In the late 19th century Baku became the major rail center and port for the entire Caspian region. The development of Baku’s petroleum industry was connected with the general process of Russia’s capitalist development in the latter half of the 19th century. Before 1872 the leasing system prevailed in the Azerbaijani petroleum industry and the amount produced was insignificant (6,500 tons in 1863). With the abolition of this system in 1872 the basis was laid for Baku’s petroleum industry to develop more rapidly. The first large-scale industrial undertakings were begun. Primitive wells were replaced by scientifically drilled ones, and in 1873 steam engines began to be used in drilling. The high rate of profit attracted domestic and foreign capital to the petroleum industry of the Baku region. Petroleum output rose from 26,000 tons in 1872 to 11 million tons in 1901, which constituted roughly 50 percent of world petroleum output. Other branches of industry also developed in Baku; so did the copper smelting industry in Kedabek, the silk thread industry in Sheki, the commercial fishing industry, and others. On the whole, the economic development of prerevolutionary Azerbaijan (except Baku) was characterized by great unevenness and slow rates of growth.

Capitalist relations in agriculture did not mature sufficiently for the feudal mode of production to be replaced by the capitalist mode. Azerbaijan was one of those border territories of tsarist Russia in which poorly developed capitalist relations were intermixed with disintegrating but still surviving feudal relations and patriarchal remnants. Despite the presence of capitalist methods of operation in several branches of the national economy, Azerbaijan was on the whole an agricultural country and had not, for the most part, entered the stage of industrial capitalism. Still, the rapid growth of capitalist industry, primarily in Baku, resulted in substantial changes in the social structure of Azerbaijan. New classes arose—the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. The leading force among the bourgeoisie in Azerbaijan was the economically powerful commercial and industrial bourgeoisie. Influential representatives of this multinational bourgeoisie includedG. Z. Tagiev, A. I. Man-tashev, S. G. Lianozov, P. O. Gukasov, and the Rothschilds, Nobels, and Wischau.

The proletariat of Azerbaijan took shape as one of the strongest detachments of the working class of Russia. Its most numerous and militant vanguard element (over 60,000 at the beginning of the 20th century) was the Baku proletariat, which included representatives of about 30 nationalities—including Azerbaijanis, Russians, Armenians, Georgians, Dagestanis, and Tatars. Azerbaijani workers engaging in heavy labor alongside Russian workers and those of other nationalities in the oil fields and refineries, on construction sites, in railroad and maritime work, and in agriculture more readily acquired class consciousness and feelings of international solidarity. The multinational proletariat of Azerbaijan was drawn into the overall revolutionary and emancipatory movement of Russia. In the 1870’s the Kedabek workers participated in strikes, and in the 1880’s and 1890’s there were outbreaks among the Baku workers.

The first Social Democratic circles arose in Baku at the end of the 1890’s. In the first years of the 20th century there was a lively correspondence between the Social Democrats of Baku and the editorial board of Iskra, headed by Lenin, and in 1901 an Iskra group was formed in Baku. That same year the Baku Social Democratic Committee was established.

In the second half of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th a democratic-minded Azerbaijani intelligentsia formed, primarily in Baku, absorbing the progressive cultural traditions of Azerbaijan and the advanced ideas of Russian social thought and of all world culture. Among the intelligentsia were A. Sabir, G. Zardabi, N. N. Narimanov, and Dzh. Mamedkulizade. The historical basis was laid for the consolidation of the Azerbaijanis into a nation.

The age of imperialism and the bourgeois-democratic revolutions in Russia (1900–17). During the epoch of imperialism and the bourgeois-democratic revolutions in Russia the toiling people of Azerbaijan waged a struggle against tsarist autocracy and the power of the bourgeoisie and the landlords. The economic crisis of 1900–03 affected Baku’s industry: petroleum output fell off sharply, wages were reduced, and there were massive layoffs—all leading to a sharpening of the class struggle. The revolutionary struggle of the Baku proletariat attained a very wide scope in the years 1903 and 1904. The following organizations played an important role in the leadership of the revolutionary movement in Azerbaijan: the Baku Committee of the RSDLP, the Caucasian Union Committee of the RSDLP, the Caucasian Bureau, and, later on, the Caucasian Regional Committee of the RSDLP (Bolshevik), as well as the Social Democratic groups established at various times in the Azerbaijani districts. The demonstrations of the multinational working class of Baku merged more and more into a common flood of the all-Russian revolutionary and national liberation movement, becoming an organic part of that movement.

Stubborn strike struggles were characteristic of the Baku proletariat in the years of the revolution of 1905–07. The first trade union organizations appeared in Azerbaijan in October 1905. At a meeting of the deputies from craft and factory commissions on Nov. 25, 1905, the Baku Soviet of Workers’ Deputies was formed. Lenin wrote that in 1905, according to the official statistics themselves, every worker in Baku Province struck 4.56 times (see Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 19, p. 306). The Baku workers continued their strike struggles even under conditions of revolutionary retreat. “In 1908, Baku Province topped the list with 47,000 strikers. The last of the Mohicans of the mass political strike!” Lenin wrote (ibid., p. 385, footnote). The arbitrary rule of the beks and tsarist officials and the sharpening of class contradictions in the rural areas also spurred the toiling peasants of Azerbaijan into action. In the spring and summer of 1905 there were peasant disturbances in the Elizavetpol’, Lenkoran’, Shusha, Nukha, and Kazakh districts, among others.

In 1913–14 there were general strikes in Baku. Prominent members of the Bolshevik Party led the revolutionary struggle of the toilers of Azerbaijan and the rest of Transcaucasia. They included M. A. Azizbekov, P. A. Dzhaparidze, L. B. Krasin, N. N. Narimanov, G. K. Ordzhonikidze, S. S. Spandarian, J. V. Stalin, I. T. Fioletov, S. G. Shaumian, and S. M. Efendiev. The Bolsheviks of Azerbaijan served as transmitters of the ideas of proletarian internationalism and friendship among all peoples. They exposed the bourgeois nationalists—the Pan-Islamists, the Pan-Turkists, the Dashnaks, the Musavatists (the Musavat Party was founded in 1911), the Socialist Revolutionaries, and the Mensheviks. The Bolsheviks gathered the workers and toiling peasants around the Russian proletariat as the leading force of the revolutionary movement in Russia. Social Democratic groups, which were formed at various times by the Baku Committee of the Bolsheviks and which carried on revolutionary work among the toilers of various nationalities, included the groups Gummet (Energy), Faruk (Supporter of Justice), and Birlik (Unity).

During World War I the Azerbaijani economy experienced a decline. Oil surveying and drilling work was curtailed, and the amount of land for agricultural crops was reduced sharply, especially for cotton. Feudal relations in the village, patriarchal remnants, and colonial oppression continued to retard the further development of the productive forces.

After the victory of the February Revolution of 1917 dual power appeared in Baku as in all of Russia: on the one hand, there was the Executive Committee of Public Organizations—the organ of the petroleum industrialists and the landlords, which served as the local organ of the Provisional Government—and on the other hand, the Soviet of Workers’ Deputies, founded on Mar. 6, 1917, with S. G. Shaumian as chairman. On Mar. 20, 1917, the workers’ soviet merged with the Soviet of Officers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies. In the spring and summer of 1917, soviets were also formed in Elizavetpol’, Shemakha, Nukha, Lenkoran’, Nakhichevan’, and Shusha.

The period of the Great October Socialist Revolution, military intervention, and Civil War (1917–20) The Great October Socialist Revolution brought the Azerbaijanis deliverance from social and national oppression. The primary center of the struggle for the victory of the socialist revolution in Azerbaijan and all of Transcaucasia was proletarian Baku. On Oct. 27 (Nov. 9), 1917, at an enlarged conference of the Baku Soviet, with more than 400 persons in attendance, the Bolsheviks put forward a resolution that the soviet take power. However, the deputies from the petit bourgeois and bourgeois nationalist parties managed to deflect the resolution. The Baku committee of the RSDLP (Bolshevik) then appealed to the working class of Baku to take power into its own hands.

Under the pressure of the workers and revolutionary soldiers, the Baku Soviet proclaimed Soviet power in Baku on Oct. 31 (Nov. 13), 1917, and on Nov. 2 (15) it passed a resolution on taking power into its own hands; a new executive committee was elected. Under military pressure from the counterrevolution on every side, the Bolsheviks began early in 1918 to build up their own revolutionary armed forces: in March they had 6,000 in Baku. During the spring the Soviets took power in the Baku, Lenkoran’, Dzhavad, and Kuba districts. The Central Committee of the Russian Communist Party (Bolshevik) and the Council of People’s Commissars (Sovnarkom) of the RSFSR, headed by V. I. Lenin, rendered great aid to the Bolsheviks of Azerbaijan. S. G. Shaumian was appointed special commissar for Caucasian affairs by the Soviet government.

The struggle for Soviet power in Azerbaijan unfolded under conditions of complex social and economic relations with a population of widely varied national composition. The White Guard and local nationalist counterrevolutionaries took up arms against Soviet power in Azerbaijan and throughout Transcaucasia. In March 1918 the Musavatists staged an anti-Soviet uprising in Baku and organized armed attacks in other areas of Azerbaijan. From Mar. 30 to Apr. 1 savage skirmishes went on in Baku, with as many as 20,000 participants on both sides. The Red Guard units and the fleet crushed the rebellion with the active support of the revolutionary workers. On Apr. 25, 1918, the Baku Soviet established the Baku Sovnarkom, presided over by S. G. Shaumian. The Sovnarkom laid the foundation for socialist transformations in the economic and cultural fields. It published decrees nationalizing the petroleum industry, the banks, the Caspian commercial fleet, and confiscating the lands of the beks and the khans and giving them to the peasants. The Baku Sovnarkom’s goal was to improve the situation of the workers. The eight-hour day was introduced in all offices and industrial establishments, and wages were increased. Arrangements were begun to provide for cultural and social services and medical care.

The situation in Azerbaijan and in Transcaucasia as a whole was an extremely difficult one in the summer of 1918. Turkish troops, having captured a considerable part of Armenia in April and May 1918, invaded Azerbaijan. Simultaneously, the German imperialists began the occupation of Georgia. The Baku commune was the only stronghold of Soviet power in Transcaucasia. By order of Lenin in June 1918, Baku was supplied with seven armored cars, 13 airplanes, 80 artillery pieces, 160 machine guns, 10,000 rifles, munitions, and bread. Through its ambassador in Berlin, A. A. Ioffe, the Soviet government demanded that Germany observe the terms of the Brest Treaty of 1918 and immediately curtail the assault by Germany’s ally, Turkey, on Baku. However, under pressure from English and later German and Turkish interventionists, and as a result of betrayal by the Socialist Revolutionaries, Mensheviks, Dash-naks, and Musavatists, Soviet power in Azerbaijan fell temporarily on July 31, 1918. Leading figures of the Baku Commune—including S. G. Shaumian, M. A. Azizbekov, P. A. Dzhaparidze, I. T. Fioletov, and Ia. D. Zevin—were among the 26 “Baku Commissars” who were brutally shot on Sept. 20, 1918, by the Socialist Revolutionaries and the English interventionists near Krasnovodsk.

From Aug. 4 to Sept. 14, 1918, the English interventionists occupied Baku; on Sept. 15 they were driven out by Turkish troops. The Musavatists found support from the Turkish interventionists and with them restored the power of the bourgeoisie and landlords. Under the Moudros armistice of 1918, concluded between the Allied powers and Turkey, the Turkish troops withdrew from Baku in the autumn of 1918. In November 1919 the city was once again taken by English forces. The Musavatists and the English actively cooperated, together establishing a regime of savage terror. The English interventionists plundered the country of its oil wealth and other resources.

The Bolsheviks of Azerbaijan worked deeply underground. At the beginning of 1919 a directing nucleus for the Baku organization of the RCP(B) was formed once again. A new permanently functioning proletarian organization, the Baku Workers’ Conference, also was established at that time under Bolshevik leadership. It consisted of 251 representatives of workers’ organizations and began its work on Dec. 15, 1918. S. M. Kirov described it as a “workers’ parliament.” From the beginning of March 1919, A. I. Mikoyan headed the Baku bureau of the Caucasian Regional Committee of the RCP(B). The Communists devoted great effort to delivering gasoline by illegal methods to Astrakhan’. As much as 20,000 poods of gasoline, sorely needed by the Red Army, were secretly delivered to Astrakhan’ by so-called maritime expeditions over a period of several months, along with 3,500 poods of lubricating oils.

In order to organize support for the workers of Azerbaijan and all Transcaucasia, the People’s Commissariat for Nationalities established on Jan. 16, 1919, the Section for Transcaucasian Muslim Affairs, under the chairmanship of S. M. Efendiev. The CC RCP(B) and the Sovnarkom of the RSFSR kept in close communication with the Baku Party organization. In May 1919, G. K. Ordzhonikidze arrived in Baku illegally. The workers of Azerbaijan, headed by the Bolsheviks, led the struggle to restore Soviet power.

At the end of 1919 and the beginning of 1920 the Musavat regime experienced a profound political and economic crisis. The ruinous condition of industry and agriculture was growing worse. Dissension had broken out in the ranks of the bourgeois-landlord parties and within the nationalist government itself. Mass unemployment, the landlessness of the peasants, and the administrative and police arbitrariness of the Musavatists encouraged the revolutionary activity of the proletariat. Of great importance for the liberation movement in Azerbaijan were the resolutions adopted by the Second All-Russian Congress of Muslim Communists of the East, which took place in Moscow Nov. 22–Dec. 3, 1919. The victories of the Red Army in the Civil War inspired the toilers of Azerbaijan to struggle. The Baku proletariat engaged in massive strikes and demonstrations at the end of 1918 and in the summer of 1919. In the spring of 1919, Soviet power was established in Lenkoran’ and in Mugan’, but it lasted for only a short time. In the summer and autumn of 1919 the Azerbaijani peasants in several districts took up armed struggle against the beks and the Musavat government. In this struggle the leader of the peasant masses Katyr Mamed became famous as the leader of the peasant armed struggle in the former Elizavetpol’ District. Toward the end of 1919 the Bolsheviks of Azerbaijan succeeded in establishing an alliance between the proletariat and the working peasants. The growing struggle of the toilers of Azerbaijan and of all of Transcaucasia, the disaffection appearing within the English occupying units as a result of revolutionary work by the Bolsheviks, and the defeat of the White Guard armies of Kolchak, Denikin, and Iudenich by the Red Army forced the English to withdraw their troops from Azerbaijan in the autumn of 1919. On Feb. 11 and 12, 1920, in Baku, the First Congress of Communist Organizations of Azerbaijan was held illegally and adopted a resolution establishing the Azerbaijan Communist Party (Bolshevik) and directing it toward the preparation of an armed uprising against the counterrevolutionary Musavat regime and the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat.

On Apr. 26, 1920, the Provisional Revolutionary Committee of Azerbaijan was formed, consisting of the following persons: N. N. Narimanov (chairman), A. Alimov, D. Kh. Buniatzade, M. D. Guseinov, A. G. Karaev, G. M. Musabekov, andG. G. Sultanov. On the night of Apr. 27 an insurrection was carried out in Baku which overthrew the Muscavat capitalist-landlord power. All power passed into the hands of the Azerbaijan Revolutionary Committee (Az-revkom), which proclaimed Azerbaijan a Soviet Socialist Republic. The Azrevkom immediately appealed to the government of Soviet Russia with a proposal for an alliance and an appeal for military aid. On the morning of Apr. 27, four armored trains with an expeditionary force under the command of M. G. Efremov were sent to the aid of the insurgent workers of Azerbaijan down the railroad line from Petrovsk to Baku. G. Dzhabiev, A. I. Mikoyan, and G. M. Musabekov arrived with the trains. On Apr. 28 the Azrevkom formed the Soviet of People’s Commissars under the chairmanship of S. N. Narimanov. With the advance units of the Eleventh Red Army, commanded by M. K. Levan-dovskii, G. K. Ordzhonikidze arrived in Baku on Apr. 30 with members of the Revolutionary Military Council of the Army S. M. Kirov and K. A. Mekhonoshin. Ships of the Soviet Volga-Caspian Flotilla arrived in Baku harbor. On May 18, 1920, these ships made a surprise raid on the port of Enzeli and liquidated the last White Guard military base on the Caspian.

For the first time in their history, the Azerbaijani people had their own sovereign socialist state. On May 5, 1920, Lenin sent the Azrevkom a telegram which ended with these words: “Long live the workers and peasants of Azerbaijan! Long live the alliance between the workers and peasants of Azerbaijan and Russia!” (Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 41, p. 119). On Sept. 30, 1920, a military and financial-economic alliance was concluded between the Azerbaijan SSR and the RSFSR.

Subsequently, the Red Army, supporting itself on Revolutionary Azerbaijan, aided the workers of Armenia and Georgia in liquidating their counterrevolutionary regimes. Soviet power was established and Soviet socialist republics were formed on Nov. 29, 1920 in Armenia and on Feb. 25, 1921 in Georgia.

The period of socialist construction, 1920–40 After the establishment of Soviet power in Azerbaijan and the founding of the Azerbaijan SSR, socialist transformations of great importance were begun: for the benefit of the toiling peasants the lands of the beks and khans, church lands, waqf lands, monastery lands, and others—over 1,300,000 desiatinas in all—were confiscated; all forests, water and mineral resources, transport, petroleum, and fish industries, the Caspian commercial fleet, banks, and so on were nationalized. The work of constructing a Soviet state got under way. The multiplicity of rural social and economic patterns, the sharp contrast between the highly developed industry of Baku and the backward Azerbaijani villages, and the variegated national composition of the population—all of this required an exceptionally flexible policy in the period of socialist construction, strictly taking into account the peculiar features of local conditions. With the victory of the socialist revolution and the establishment of Soviet power, socialist relations in production were introduced (as in the entire Soviet country) which provided unlimited scope for the development of the economy and culture of the Azerbaijanis. The Musavitists and the interventionists had left behind a difficult heritage for Soviet Azerbaijan: both agriculture and the petroleum industry were in disastrous condition. Petroleum production in 1920 was 2.9 million tons, compared to 7.7 million tons in 1913. The reestab-lishment of the economy and the construction of socialism in Azerbaijan began.

In the spring of 1921 a general transition took place in Azerbaijan from revolutionary committees and poor-peasant committees to soviets. On May 19, 1921, at the First Congress of Azerbaijan Soviets the first constitution of the Azerbaijan SSR was adopted. The Communist Party of Azerbaijan consistently fought for the realization of the Party’s Leninist nationalities policy and for the strengthening of a fraternal alliance among the peoples of Transcaucasia. On Mar. 12, 1922, Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Georgia signed an agreement on the founding of a federal union. From Mar. 12, 1922, until Dec. 5, 1936, Azerbaijan was part of the Transcaucasian Federation (the Trans-caucasian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic—TSFSR). On Dec. 30, 1922, Azerbaijan joined the Soviet Union as part of the TSFSR. As component parts of Azerbaijan, the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast (1923) and the Nakhichevan Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic (1924) were founded. In 1936, when the TSFSR ceased to exist, Azerbaijan, like Armenia and Georgia, became part of the Soviet Union directly, having the rights of a union republic. On Mar. 14, 1937, a new constitution was adopted by the Azerbaijan SSR which reflected the successes of socialist construction.

During the years when the economy was being reconstructed and socialist industrialization was beginning, the Soviet government attempted to provide faster rates of industrial growth and capital investment for the national republics than for the union as a whole. The petroleum industry in Azerbaijan was one of the first in the country to enter the stage of technological modernization. The aim of providing quick and effective support to the Baku oil industry was given highest priority by the All-Union Sovnarkom in 1921. New and rich oil fields were discovered and brought into production, such as Bukhta Il’icha, Kara-Chukhur, Lok-Botan, and Kala. Work on the electrification and mechanization of the petroleum industry got under way. In March 1931 the Baku oil workers fulfilled the first five-year plan in 2½ years. On Mar. 31, 1931, the Azerbaijan petroleum industry was awarded the Order of Lenin. Azerbaijan at that time provided 60 percent of the total Soviet petroleum output. On the basis of new technology, oil refining and machine-building plants were built in Baku. Toward the end of the second five-year plan (1933–37) Azerbaijan emerged in third place in the USSR in terms of volume of capital investment, gross output, and electric power production. New, modern branches of industry arose, such as the machine building and chemical industries. Large new enterprises were built in Baku, Gandzha (in 1935 renamed Kirovabad), Khachmas, Nukha, and elsewhere. In 1938 over 96 percent of all industrial production came from enterprises that had been newly built or fundamentally reconstructed under Soviet rule. By 1940 petroleum production had increased nearly three times in comparison with 1913, and gasoline production had increased by 39 times; industrial production as a whole had increased by six times over 1913. By the time of the first five-year plan unemployment had been eliminated. The material welfare of the workers improved considerably.

The task of socialist transformation in agriculture was accomplished. In prerevolutionary Azerbaijan there were 330,000 small peasant households. In 1929 a mass kolkhoz movement developed in Azerbaijan, and 99 percent of peasant households had been collectivized by 1940. Agriculture began to receive technical equipment. By 1940 there were 6,500 tractors (when converted into standard 15–horsepower units), approximately 700 combines, and more than 2,400 trucks. The workers of Azerbaijan, with aid from other union republics, built new canals and irrigation systems in the Mugan, Mil’, and Shirvan steppes. Crop areas were expanded, including those for cotton, and the yield of cereal grains increased. Azerbaijan became the second largest producer of tea in the USSR after Georgia. The collective farm system brought about fundamental changes in the way of life of the Azerbaijan peasant. During the prewar five-year plans, Azerbaijan was transformed into a highly developed industrial republic with a collectivized agriculture.

The Leninist nationalities policy and the friendly support of the entire Soviet people helped to carry through the cultural revolution in Azerbaijan—to liquidate illiteracy, to develop qualified national cadres of the working class and national intelligentsia, and to establish higher educational institutions and scientific and cultural institutions. Soviet Azerbaijani literature and art arose and developed. A major achievement of the revolution in Azerbaijan was to draw women into all areas of socialist construction. In the school year 1940–41, 41 percent of students at higher educational institutes and technical schools were women. Socialist industrialization, collectivization of agriculture, and the cultural revolution radically changed the appearance of this formerly backward country. In essence socialism had been built in Azerbaijan. On Mar. 15, 1935, in connection with the celebration of the republic’s 15th anniversary, the Azerbaijan SSR was awarded the Order of Lenin for outstanding successes in socialist construction.

The Great Patriotic War and the postwar period During the Great Patriotic War of 1941–45 the Azerbaijani people together with all the other peoples of the Soviet Union defended the socialist fatherland. More than 20,000 Azerbaijanis were awarded orders or medals for bravery in combat. Over 100 soldiers from Azerbaijan, among whom there were more than 40 Azerbaijanis, earned the title Hero of the Soviet Union. During the war the Baku region produced as much as 70 percent of the country’s total petroleum output. Baku was one of the arsenals of the Soviet Armed Forces. Various kinds of defense materials were produced in the republic. The collective farm peasantry worked selflessly. Thanks to the toilers of Azerbaijan, entire tank columns and air squadrons were built in 1941–43. For their heroic labor during the war thousands of workers, collective farmers, and representatives of the intelligentsia of the republic were awarded orders and medals of the Soviet Union.

After the war the Azerbaijani people, together with the toilers of the entire country, returned to their peaceful labor of completing socialist construction and building communism. Workers from Baku took part in restoring parts of the country ruined by the German fascist occupation forces and in discovering large new oil fields in various parts of the Soviet Union. Under the conditions of fraternal collaboration and socialist mutual aid between the peoples of the Soviet Union, the workers of Azerbaijan further developed the economy and culture of the republic, building new industrial centers at Sumgait, Mingechaur, and Dashkesan and laying the Baku-Tbilisi-Yerevan pipeline (the Friendship Line). The twentieth through twenty-third Party congresses, which restored Leninist norms in Party and government spheres and which outlined the tasks of building the material and technical base for communism, were major milestones in the life of Soviet Azerbaijan and the rest of the country. By 1968 the gross industrial product of Azerbaijan had grown by 29 times in comparison with 1913 and by 4.8 times in comparison with 1940.

On May 29, 1964, the Azerbaijan SSR was awarded a second Order of Lenin for outstanding successes in economic and cultural development. Orders of Lenin were also granted to the Nakhichevan ASSR on Sept. 14, 1967, and to the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast on Aug. 29, 1967.


Lenin, V. I. Ob Azerbaidzhane: Sb. Baku, 1959.
Istoriia Azerbaidzhana, vols. 1–3. Baku, 1958–63.
Ocherki po drevnei istorii Azerbaidzhana. Baku, 1956.
Monopolisticheskii kapital v neftianoi promyshlennosti Rossii 1883–1914: Dokumenty i materialy. Moscow-Leningrad, 1961.
Azerbaidzhán v gody pervoi russkoi revoliutsii. Baku, 1965.
Rabochee dvizhenie v Azerbaidzhane v gody novogo revoliutsionnogo pod”ema (1910–1914), parts 1–2. Baku, 1967.
Bor’ba za pobedu Sovetskoi vlasti v Azerbaidzhane: Dokumenty i materialy. Baku, 1967.
Rastsvet ekonomiki Azerbaidzhana. Baku, 1967.
Guliev, A. N., and I. V. Strigunov. Dorogoi svobody i schast’ia. Baku, 1968.
Azerbaidzhanskaia SSR k 50–letiiu Velikogo Oktiabria: Statisticheskii sb. Baku, 1967.
Ibragimov, Z. I., and E. A. Tokarzhevskii. Sovetskaia istoriografiia Azerbaidzhana. Baku, 1967.
Chto chitat’ ob Azerbaidzhane. Issue 1: Istoriia Azerbaidzhana. Baku, 1963. (Bibliographic reference.)
Velikii Oktiabr’ i Azerbaidzhán. 1917–1967: Bibliografiia. Baku, 1967. (In Russian and Azerbaijani.)
Äzärbayjan kitabï (Bibliograffya): Ich childd ä, vol. 1. (1780–1920). Baku, 1963.


The Communist Party of Azerbaijan is one of the oldest and most militant sections of the Soviet Communist Party and an essential element of it. The first illegal workers’ circles appeared in Baku in the second half of the 19th century. In 1898 some exiled Russian Social Democrats in Baku founded the first Marxist circles, which brought together advanced workers from machinery and oil-refining enterprises. In 1899, six circles were functioning. Among the organizers and active participants were I. P. Vatsek, B. A. Dadashev, N. P. Kozerenko, M. M. Mamed’iarov, and I. Popov. In 1900 a directing center was established in Baku for the Social Democratic circles. It was made up of A. S. Enukidze, V. Z. Ketskhoveli (Lado), N. P. Kozerenko, and A. G. Eizenbet. In the spring of 1901 the first Baku Social Democratic Committee adhering to the Leninist Iskra tendency was organized, including L. A. Gal’perin, A. S. Enukidze, V. Z. Ketshkoveli, V. M. Knuniants, M. G. Melikian, L. B. Fainberg and A. G. Eizenbet. Among those who took an intimate part in its organizational, agitational, and propaganda work were A. A. Bekzadian, M. B. Kasumov, L. B. Krasin, M. M. Mamed’iarov, I. F. Sturua, and V. A. Shelgunov.

Of great importance for the work of the Party organization in Azerbaijan was the establishment of ties in the spring of 1901 between the Baku Social Democrats, the editorial board of Iskra, and V. I. Lenin. The Baku underground press, Nina, was one of the central presses of the RSDLP. It provided Marxist literature for many of the cities of Russia. Revolutionary literature entered the country from abroad by the routes Vienna-Tabriz-Baku and Marseilles-Batumi-Baku. At the end of April 1902 the Baku Committee of the RSDLP successfully held the first political demonstration for May Day and distributed leaflets in connection with it. The Baku Social Democratic organization, which firmly supported the positions of the Leninist Iskra, conducted an energetic struggle for the holding of the Second Congress of the RSDLP. In March 1903 the First Congress of Caucasian Social Democratic Organizations was held. It founded the Caucasian Union of the RSDLP, headed by the Caucasian Union Committee of the RSDLP. In 1902–03 a number of party organizations were set up in the Baku area and new Social Democratic circles were formed in Baku and in Elizavetpol’. The delegate from the Baku Social Democrats taking part in the Second Congress of the RSDLP was B. M. Knuniants. After the congress the Baku party organization sided with the Bolsheviks. The growing influence of the Social Democrats on the Azerbaijani proletariat and their organizational role found expression in the huge demonstrations and general strikes in Baku in 1903 and 1904.

Following the decisions of the Second Congress of the RSDLP, the Transcaucasian Bolsheviks worked energetically toward the international education of the workers. The Gummet (Energy) group, founded in 1904 by the Baku Committee of the RSDLP, was active among Muslim workers. At various times the Baku Committee had Armenian and Latvian sections functioning, as well as the Adalet (Justice), Faruk (Supporter of Justice), and Birlik (Unity) groups, which worked among Dagestanis, Volga Tatars, and workers from Iranian Azerbaijan.

In 1905–07 the Bolshevik organizations were at the head of the revolutionary actions of the workers and peasants. The efforts of the Bolsheviks successfully halted the clashes between nationalities which had been provoked at the beginning of February 1905 by the tsarist authorities and the bourgeois nationalists with the aim of diverting the workers from revolutionary struggle. Armed workers’ groups were set up by the Baku Committee. The Bolsheviks of Azerbaijan worked in the cities and the villages, in military units, and in the navy. They organized demonstrations and frequently engaged in armed encounters with the police. During this period, new party cells and groups began to be formed in Adzhikabul and Akstafa, the activity of Gummet was intensified, and the network of Social Democratic circles in Shusha, Kedabek, and elsewhere was extended. The Baku Bolshevik organization took an active part in the preparations for the Third Congress of the RSDLP, at which P. A. Dzhaparidze worthily represented the committee.

Proletarian Baku remained a stronghold of Bolshevism even under conditions of revolutionary retreat. The Bolsheviks working there at that time included M. A. Aziz-bekov, P. A. Dzhaparidze, M. S. Ol’minskii, G. K. Ordzhonikidze (Sergo), S. S. Spandarian, J. V. Stalin, I. T. Fioletov, S. G. Shaumian, and S. M. Efendiev. The Baku Bolsheviks skillfully took advantage of both legal and illegal opportunities for solidifying the ranks of the workers, and they conducted a consistent struggle against the Liquidators and the Otzovists. Lenin considered the Baku and Kiev Social Democratic organizations “model and outstanding social democratic organizations in Russia of 1910 and 1911” (Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 21, p. 5).

During the years of the new revolutionary upsurge and World War I the Bolsheviks of Azerbaijan remained true to proletarian internationalism. They took an active part in the preparations for and the work of the Sixth (Prague) All-Russian Conference of the RSDLP and in the publication and distribution of the newspaper Pravda. In 1913–14 they organized the general strikes of the Baku proletariat, which had nationwide significance. In 1915 the conference of Caucasian Bolsheviks was held in Baku at which the Caucasian Bureau of the RSDLP was elected. The Bolshevik organizations of Azerbaijan carried on a stubborn struggle against all the bourgeois nationalists—Pan-Islamists, Pan-Turkists, Musavatists, Dashnaks, and so on —and for the internationalist unity of workers of various nationalities in Azerbaijan. Lenin frequently took note of this energetic and fruitful work on the part of the Transcaucasian Bolsheviks (ibid., vol. 21, pp. 5–6; vol. 25, p. 386).

In the days of the February Revolution of 1917 there was a united organization of the RSDLP in Baku, which impeded the development of the revolution in Azerbaijan. On June 25 (July 8), the Baku General Conference of the Bolsheviks elected the Baku Committee of the RSDLP(B), including I. I. Anashkin, M. V. Basin, I. P. Vatsek, P. A. Dzhaparidze, M. N. Israfilbekov (Kadirli), V. I. Naneish-vili, N. N. Narimanov, S. G. Shaumian, and S. M. Efendiev, among others. The work of Gummet and of the Party cells in the districts was revived. The Bolsheviks of Azerbaijan exposed the antipopular policies of the Provisional Government, the opportunism of the SR’s and Mensheviks, and the nationalism of the Dashnaks and Musavatists. The Baku Bolsheviks organized a general strike in September 1917; its success signified the political defeat of the compromise parties. By November 1917 the Bolsheviks managed to strengthen their position in the Baku Soviet and take its management—the Executive Committee—into their own hands. In 1918 they headed the Baku Sovnarkom, which carried out the first socialist measures in Azerbaijan. In March 1918 the counterrevolutionary rebellion of the Musavatists was suppressed under Bolshevik leadership. In July 1918 the combined forces of domestic counterrevolution and foreign intervention temporarily defeated Soviet power in Baku. The foe took savage revenge upon the best sons of the people. The Party organization went underground. Only in early 1919 did the nucleus of the Baku Bolshevik organization—including L. D. Gogoberidze, M. D. Guseinov, I. I. Dovlatov, A. I. Mikoyan, V. I. Naneishvili, G. G. Sultanov, and I. I. Chikarev—reestablish itself.

The specific circumstances of the political situation and revolutionary struggle in Azerbaijan determined the peculiar structure of the Communist Party there. Along with the Baku organization of the RCP(B), the Communist organizations Gummet and Adalet functioned formally as independent Party units. But in fact they were component elements of the RCP(B) and worked under the direct guidance of the Baku Bureau of the Caucasian Regional Committee and the Baku Committee of the Party. Regular, reliable communication was established with the CC RCP(B) and with V. I. Lenin personally. A network of party organizations was built up in the districts and rural areas of Azerbaijan. At the end of 1919 and the beginning of 1920, when the Musavat regime was undergoing a severe political and economic crisis and the task of immediately preparing the masses to overthrow it had become clear, life itself posed the necessity for uniting all the Communist organizations of Azerbaijan. On Jan. 3, 1920, the Politburo of the CC RCP(B), with Lenin participating, discussed the question of the party organizations of the Caucasus. The resolution that was adopted speaks of the need for “. . . Communist organization in the states which have in fact been set up as ‘independent’ within the borders of the former Russian empire to work as independent Communist parties. This form of organization is especially important in the East inasmuch as the need to win the confidence of the peoples living in Asia or at the threshold of Asia is one of the most fundamental tasks of Soviet Russia and of the RCP” (requoted from Ocherki istorii kommunisticheskikh organizatsii Zakavkaz’ia, Tbilisi, 1967, p. 443).

On Feb. 11–12, 1920, the first congress of the Communist organizations of Azerbaijan, with over 120 delegates representing 4,000 Party members, was held illegally in Baku. It united all the Communist organizations of Azerbaijan into the Azerbaijan Communist Party (Bolshevik)—the ACP(B). The Central Committee of the ACP(B) included M. D. Guseinov (chairman of the CC), K. Dzh. Agazade, A. B. Bairamov, D. Kh. Buniatzade, I. I. Dovlatov, V. G. Egorov, A. G. Karaev, M. B. Kasumov, V. I. Naneishvili, M. G. Pleshakov, E. I. Rodionov, G. G. Sultanov, N. I. Tiukhtenev, A. B. Iusifzade, and S. D. Iakubov. The congress voted to declare the ACP(B) “part of the general Caucasian Regional Communist Organization and to consider the Caucasian Regional Committee its highest governing body” (Ocherki istorii Kommunisticheskoi partii Azerbaidzhana [Baku], 1963, p. 323). The congress oriented the ACP(B) and the Baku proletariat toward the preparation of an armed insurrection against the Musavat regime, which was overthrown on the night of Apr. 27, 1920. The ACP(B) headed the work of founding the Azerbaijan SSR.

Table 2. Membership in the Communist Party of Azerbaijan
Year (as of January)MembersCandidate membersTotal
1921 ..............15,400
1930 ...................30,3009,60039,900
1940 ...................50,30028,80079,100
1950 ...................101,3007,500108,800
1960 ...................135,0008,700143,700
1969 (July) ..............233,20012,600245,800
Dates of Party Congresses
First Congress .................................Feb. 11–12, 1920
Second Congress ..............................Oct. 16–23, 1920
Third Congress ................................Feb. 11–18, 1921
Fourth Congress .................................Feb. 2–7, 1922
Fifth Congress.................................Mar. 12–16, 1923
Sixth Congress ..................................May 5–9, 1924
Seventh Congress ..........................Nov. 30–Dec. 4, 1925
Eighth Congress ...............................Nov. 12–18, 1927
Ninth Congress .................................Mar. 6–14, 1929
Tenth Congress ............................May 31–June 4, 1930
Eleventh Congress .............................Jan. 19–25, 1932
Twelfth Congress ..............................Jan. 11–12, 1934
Thirteenth Congress .............................June 3–9, 1937
Fourteenth Congress ............................June 7–14, 1938
Fifteenth Congress ................................Feb. 25, 1939
Sixteenth Congress ............................Mar. 12–16, 1940
Seventeenth Congress ..........................Jan. 25–28, 1949
Eighteenth Congress ...........................May 24–26, 1951
Nineteenth Congress ..........................Sept. 23–25, 1952
Twentieth Congress ............................Feb. 12–16, 1954
Twenty-first Congress ...........................Jan. 25–27,1956
Twenty-second Congress .......................Jan. 28–30, 1958
Twenty-third Extraordinary Congress ................Jan. 8–9, 1959
Twenty-fourth Congress .........................Feb. 16–18,1960
Twenty-fifth Congress ............................Sept. 6–9, 1961
Twenty-sixth Congress ...........................Jan. 9–10, 1964
Twenty-seventh Congress .......................Feb. 24–26, 1966

After the victory of Soviet power in Azerbaijan, the ACP(B) led the struggle of the republic’s toilers in reconstructing the economy and laying the bases for socialism. Of great importance for the building of socialist society in Azerbaijan were the decisions of the Tenth Congress of the RCP(B) of March 1921, aimed at ensuring a firm economic alliance between the working class and the peasants and at liquidating the actual inequalities suffered by the formerly oppressed peoples. These tasks were formulated in Lenin’s letter of Apr. 14, 1921, entitled “To the Communist Comrades of Azerbaijan, Georgia, Armenia, Dagestan, and the Mountain Republic” (see Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 43, pp. 198–200). In July 1921, S. M. Kirov became the secretary of the CC ACP(B).

By way of assisting the Bolsheviks of Azerbaijan, the Politburo of the CC RCP(B) on Oct. 17, 1921, sent the Directive from the CC RCP(B) to the Workers of Azerbaijan, which indicated the necessity for careful consideration of the national and traditional peculiarities of the republic and called attention to the task of bringing the proletarian and semiproletarian layers of the native population into the Party. The Party’s activity in guiding the reconstruction of the economy of Azerbaijan was reviewed by the Seventh Congress of the ACP(B) in November and December of 1925.

Through all the phases of construction of the new life the ACP(B) acted as the energetic organizer of the workers of Azerbaijan in the struggle to realize the plans for socialist industrialization, collectivization of agriculture, and a cultural revolution. The ACP(B) undeviatingly carried out the general line of the All-Union CP(B) and conducted an uncompromising struggle against every kind of hostile tendency or grouping, whether Trotskyist, right opportunist, or national deviationist.

Under the leadership of the Communist Party in Azerbaijan, as throughout the Soviet Union, fundamental transformations took place in the economic, social, political, and cultural life of the people. Socialism was victorious. Soviet democracy entered into a new, higher stage in its development. The Thirteenth Congress of the ACP(B) in June 1937 noted,that as a result of the heroic efforts of the workers, Azerbaijan had been transformed into an industrialized and collectivized republic with a high level of culture, national in form and socialist in content. Among those carrying out important works in the ranks of the Communist Party of Azerbaijan before the war were R. A. Akhundov, M. V. Barinov, D. Kh. Buniatzade, M. G. Gadzhiev, M. D. Guseinov, Ch. Il’drym, M. N. Israfilbekov (Kadirli), A. G. Karaev, L. I. Mirzoian, G. M. Musabekov, N. N. Narimanov, G. G. Sultanov, and S. M. Efendiev.

During the Great Patriotic War the Communists of Azerbaijan exerted enormous efforts in the task of mobilizing all the strength of the workers to resist the foe. By the end of 1942 over half of the members of the Communist Party of Azerbaijan had joined the Red Army; from the Baku Party organization alone there were 18,000. The Communists of Azerbaijan courageously fought on the battlefront and labored self-sacrificingly on the home front. In the postwar years the Communist Party of Azerbaijan guided the struggle of the workers for further development of the economy and culture of the republic. But along with the great advances were serious shortcomings. The Communist Party of Azerbaijan accomplished a great work in the restoration of Leninist norms in Party life and of socialist legality. The combined Plenum of the CC and of the Baku Committee of the Party in July 1953 subjected the work of the Azerbaijan Party organization to a profound analysis. After the Twentieth Congress of the CPSU, with the aid of the CC CPSU, the Communists of Azerbaijan strengthened and heightened the combat capacity of the Party organizations and intensified its activity. Putting into practice the program of the CPSU adopted at the Twenty-second Congress and the resolutions of the October Plenum of 1964 and subsequent plenums of the CC CPSU and armed with the decisions of the Twenty-third Congress of the CPSU, the Communist Party of Azerbaijan marches on in the vanguard of the toilers of the republic, self-sacrificingly struggling for the creation of the material and technical base of communism and for the construction of communist society.


Ocherki istorii Kommunisticheskoi partii Azerbaidzhana. Baku, 1964.
Ocherki istorii kommunisticheskikh organizatsii Zakavkaz’ia: Ch. 1, 1883–1921 gg. Tbilisi, 1967.


The Komsomol of Azerbaijan is a component part of the All–Union Komsomol. The first organizations of student youth were formed and functioned in Baku and other cities of Azerbaijan as early as 1903–07. In accordance with the resolution “On Youth Leagues” of the Sixth Congress of the RSDLP(B) (1917), the Baku Committee of the Party in August 1917 set up an organization of working and student youth; this was the forerunner of the Komsomol of Azerbaijan. The nucleus of this organization included such figures as S. Kh. Agamirov, D. Babaev, V. G. Egorov, O. G. Shatunovskaia, and S. G. Shaumian. In the autumn of 1917 a group of revolutionary youths arose among the printers. In January 1918 both groups united in the Internationalist League of Working Youth of Baku and its surrounding areas. This became the basis of the Komsomol of Azerbaijan. The league played an important role in the struggle for the consolidation of Soviet power in Baku Province, and its active members entered the Red Army. The members of the league did not curtail their activities even under the ferocious terror of the Musavat and interventionist regime. In May 1919 a conference of 42 delegates of the league was held in Baku, which called on the youth to fight against the counterrevolution. On June 11, 1919, the first issue of the newspaper Molodoi rabochii (Young Worker) appeared in Russian; the Azerbaijani-language version, Giandzh ishchi, appeared on Oct. 27, 1919.

Table 3. Membership in the Komsomol of Azerbaijan
Year (as of January)MembersYearMembers
1921 ...............45,0001960...............333,900
Dates of Congresses of the Komsomol of Azerbaijan
First Congress .................................July 16–19, 1920
Second Congress ..............................May 20–27, 1921
Third Extraordinary Congress ....................Aug. 26–28, 1921
Fourth Congress ..................................July 26, 1922
Fifth Congress ................................June 21–25, 1924
Sixth Congress ................................Feb. 18–23, 1926
Seventh Congress ..........................Mar. 30–Apr. 7,1928
Eighth Congress............................May 28–June 2, 1929
Ninth Congress ............................Nov. 29–Dec. 3, 1930
Tenth Congress ...............................June 20–22, 1932
Eleventh Congress .............................Feb. 12–16, 1936
Twelfth Congress ..............................Oct. 13–18, 1937
Thirteenth Congress .............................Feb. 7–12, 1939
Fourteenth Congress .............................Oct. 1–3, 1940
Fifteenth Congress .............................Dec. 20–22, 1947
Sixteenth Congress.............................Feb. 12–14, 1949
Seventeenth Congress ..........................Jan. 26–28, 1951
Eighteenth Congress .............................Feb. 2–3, 1953
Nineteenth Congress ...........................Jan. 15–17, 1954
Twentieth Congress ............................Dec. 15–16, 1955
Twenty-first Congress ..........................Dec. 24–25, 1957
Twenty-second Congress.........................Feb. 9–10, 1960
Twenty-third Congress ...........................Feb. 8–9, 1962
Twenty-fourth Congress ........................Dec. 21–22, 1963
Twenty-fifth Congress ..........................Mar. 17–18, 1966
Twenty-sixth Congress..........................Feb. 21–22, 1968

In September 1919 the first Transcaucasian Conference of Young Communist Leagues of Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Georgia was held illegally in Baku. It unified them into a single Transcaucasian Regional Organization of the All-Russian Communist Youth League headed by the Transcaucasian Committee. During the armed insurrection in Azerbaijan in April 1920, combat units of Baku Komsomol members, on orders from the Baku Committee of the ACP(B), carried out arrests of Musavat leaders, disarmed their soldiers and police, and so on. With the triumph of Soviet power in Azerbaijan, Komsomol organizations were set up everywhere. On July 16–19, 1920, the First Congress of the Youth League of Azerbaijan was held, with more than 300 delegates in attendance, representing over 10,000 Komsomol members. The congress founded the Komsomol organization of the republic which was named the Azerbaijan Communist Youth League. The Fifth Congress of the Komsomol of Azerbaijan in June 1924 adopted the name Lenin Communist Youth League of Azerbaijan (LKSM A). The Komsomol acted as a true aid to the Party organization of Azerbaijan in the work of reconstructing the economy, carrying out the plans for socialist industrialization, collectivization of agriculture, and cultural revolution. The Central Executive Committee of the Azerbaijan SSR awarded the Baku organization of the LKSM A the Order of the Red Banner of Labor for its active part in fulfilling the plans of the first five-year plan in petroleum production.

In the 1920’s the flood of young Azerbaijani women, emancipated by the October Revolution, began to pour into the Komsomol. In 1924–25 there were 386 women members of the Komsomol in the districts and about 900 in Baku—that is, 2.5 percent of the total membership. In 1940 they constituted 68,183 members, or 27.8 percent of all Komsomol members in Azerbaijan.

During the Great Patriotic War of 1941–45, Komsomol members of Azerbaijan offered a massive display of model heroism. During the first week of the war over 17,000 Komsomol members joined the army in Baku. During the first two years practically the entire membership of 104 base organizations of the Komsomol of Baku went to the front lines. In the period 1941–45 some 150,000 young men and women joined the Komsomol in Azerbaijan. Many Heroes of the Soviet Union came from the ranks of the Azerbaijan Komsomol, including I. Mamedov, G. Mamedov, V. Kuz-netsov, S. Kiazimov, M. Guseinzade, A. Kuliev, and N. Stepanian. Among the heroes of Krasnodon, the young Azerbaijani A. N. Dadashev (Lenia Dadashev) became famous. Komsomol members also labored unstintingly on the home front.

In the postwar years the Komsomol of Azerbaijan energetically joined the struggle of the entire people for the further development of the economy, for the completion of the building of socialism, and for the construction of communist society.


Barkhashev, B. Bakinskii komsomol v gody revoliutsii i kontr-revoliutsii. Ocherki po istorii Bakinskoi organizatsii komsomola: 1917–1920. Baku, 1928.
Istoriia Azerbaidzhana, vol. 3, parts 1–2. Baku, 1963.
Ännaghiev,Ä . Äzärbayjanda komsomolun yaranmasï tarikhind ä n. Baku, 1958.


The trade unions of Azerbaijan are an integral part of the body of Soviet trade unions. Blacksmiths, salesclerks, waiters, postal and telegraph personnel, Caspian seamen, printers, railroad workers, and cobblers began organizing in 1905; in October 1906 the petroleum workers’ union was founded. By the end of 1906 there were about 20 trade unions in Baku incorporating as many as 12,200 members. In 1906 there were about 4,000 members in the petroleum workers’ union, and by the beginning of 1908 they numbered 7,000. P. A. Dzhaparidze, V. Tronov, and M. M. Mamed’iarov were among its organizers and leaders. The trade union played a major role in providing Baku’s proletariat with a firm revolutionary grounding. The Central Bureau of Trade Unions provided union leadership; its secretary was M. L. Kunin, a member of the Baku committee of the RSDLP. The unions participated in organizing revolutionary demonstrations by the workers, in working out their demands, and in winning improvements in their living conditions, including housing and medical care. The oil workers’ union published a legal newspaper, Gudok (The Horn), from August 1907 until the summer of 1908; there were 34 issues in all. Two issues of Volna (Wave), the legal journal of the trade unions, edited by S. G. Shaumian, appeared from February to Mar. 6, 1909. Delegates from the Baku trade unions participated in all-Russian conferences of trade unions in the metal trades and printing industry in 1906–07 and in all-Russian trade union congresses in Moscow and St. Petersburg. From the very start the development of the union movement in Azerbaijan had close ties with the trade union movement of the Russian proletariat. In the years of the Stolypin reaction the Baku trade unions suffered from harsh acts of repression.

Organization of trade unions on a massive scale began after the February Revolution of 1917. In March 1917, 13 trade unions were in operation in Baku and a central bureau of trade unions was elected. By summer there were 28 unions functioning in Baku, incorporating 20,000 members. In April 1919 a congress of trade unions of Transcaucasia, Dagestan, and the Transcaspian region was held in Baku. In April 1920 the trade unions of Azerbaijan greeted the victory of Soviet power in the republic. The Azerbaijan Council of Trade Unions, with A. I. Mikoyan as chairman, was founded on June 30, 1920, at the First All-Baku Conference of Trade Unions. Trade unions came into being inGandzha, Sal’iany, Kuba, Agdash, and Lenkoran’. From Aug. 29 to Sept. 6, 1920, the First Congress of Trade Unions of Azerbaijan, representing 23 unions, was held in Baku. In March 1922 the First Transcaucasian Congress of Trade Unions, which ratified the founding of the Transcaucasian Federation, was held in Tbilisi.

During the prewar five-year plans the trade unions, under the leadership of the Party organizations, actively participated in carrying out industrialization and the collectivization of agriculture. In April 1931 in Baku, at the First Congress of Petroleum Industry Workers, the All-Union Petroleum Workers’ Union of the USSR was founded.

During the Great Patriotic War of 1941–45 the Azerbaijani unions mobilized the workers of the republic to maintain an uninterrupted supply of fuel to the front lines, thus helping to further the rapid expansion of war production. In the postwar years the unions actively participated in developing the national economy and culture of Azerbaijan and in organizing nationwide socialist competition. At the First Interunion Conference of Trade Unions in Baku in March 1948 the Azerbaijan Council of Trade Unions was elected.

In 1968 there were 21 trade unions in Azerbaijan with 1,204,000 members, as compared with 185,700 members in 1926. The social security budget for the trade unions amounted to 85 million rubles as of Jan. 1, 1968. The trade unions maintain 134 club facilities, 187 circulating libraries, 591 sports facilities, vacation hotels, sanatoriums, and so forth.


Guseinov, K. A., and M. I. Naidel’. Ocherki istorii profdvizheniia v Azerbaidzhane. Baku, 1966.


General characteristics Azerbaijan is an industrialized republic with a developed agriculture. It is distinguished within the economy of the USSR primarily by its vast petroleum, petroleumrefining, and related chemical and machine-building industries, including machinery for the rapidly growing natural gas industry. Also of Union-wide significance are the silk, textile, wine-making, and canning industries. Cotton, vegetable, fruit, grape, and tobacco growing, silk production, tea production, and livestock pasturing are its most highly developed agricultural enterprises. Occupying 0.4 percent of the USSR’s territory and containing 2.1 percent of its population, Azerbaijan produced 7.5 percent of the Union’s petroleum, manufactured 46 percent of its industrial equipment for the petroleum industry and 17 percent of its synthetic alcohol, and grew 10 percent of its tobacco, 5.6 percent of its raw cotton, and 4 percent of its grapes in 1967.

In 1967 the gross social product included: industry, 62.8 percent; agriculture, 14.9 percent; construction, 12.3 percent; transportation and communication, 3.9 percent.

Capital investment in the national economy between 1920 and 1967 came to approximately 10 billion rubles. These investments were distributed among various branches of the economy as follows: industry, 54 percent (including more than half for the petroleum industry); agriculture, 10 percent; and transportation and communication, 9 percent.

In accordance with the decisions of the September (1965) Plenum of the CC CPSU, enterprises in Azerbaijan, as in the other Union republics, began to make a transition to the new system of planning and economic incentives in 1966. By Jan. 1, 1969, about 300 enterprises had made this transition. They accounted for half of the work force in industry and manufacturing and more than half of the volume of production.

Azerbaijani products are exported to other Union republics and to more than 50 foreign countries.

Industry Heavy industry is the predominant form. Nearly half of the basic funds are concentrated in the fuel-producing industry. Ferrous and nonferrous metallurgy, machine building, and the construction materials industry are growing at rapid rates. In 1968 production increased in the ferrous and nonferrous metallurgical industries by 1,287 times over 1940, in the machine-building and metalworking industries by 16 times, in the construction material industries by 18.1 times, and in the electric power producing industry by 6.6 times. The output of basic types of industrial products is shown in Table 4.

Table 4. Production of basic types of industrial goods
1 Before blending
Petroleum (million tons).......7.722.214.821.6
Natural gas (million cu m).....2,498.01,233.05,771.0
Electric power (million kW-hrs).111.01,827.02,923.011,164.0
Steel (thousand tons).........23.744.1831.4
Finished rolled ferrous metallic products (thousand tons). . . .8.512.7665.6
Iron ore (thousand tons)......1,431.0
Sulfuric acid in monohydrate form (thousand tons)........6.126.323.5161.6
Butyl and isobutyl alcohol (tons) Sulfanol converted in terms1,531.0
of 100 percent (tons) .......19,229.0
Mineral fertilizers (thousand tons)............666.0
Motor vehicle tires (thousand units)............1,265.0
Petroleum equipment (thousand units)............
Deep-pumping units (thousand units)............
Borehole pumps (thousand items) ...........31.241.574.0
AC electric motors, 100 kW (by the piece) .............783.02,400.0
AC electric motors 0.25 to 100 kW (thousand units)........1.0231.0
Household refrigerators (thousand units) ...........74.3
Television sets (thousand units)137.8
Cement (thousand tons).......46.0111.6129.61,440.8
Window glass (thousand sq m). .448.0366.05,421.0
Cotton fabric (million m)......11.949.149.2131.5
Wool fabric (million m)........
Silk fabric (million m).........
Fish and marine animals, catch (thousand tons) ............97.333.227.365.5
Canned goods (million standard containers) ................
Grape wine (thousand of decaliters)1 ................824.0906.01,103.02,567.0

Essential changes have taken place in the territorial distribution of industry. It has even spread into regions that were previously agricultural. In the old industrial stronghold of Apsheron a number of new branches of industry have appeared. The Kirovabad-Dashkesan industrial complex was built in the prewar period; it includes well-developed mining and chemical industries and light industry and food processing. The new Mingechaur-Evlakh industrial complex also arose, featuring electric power production, metalworking, food processing, and light industry. The Ali-Bairamly-Sal’iany complex arose in the center of the Kura-Araks valley with a well-developed thermal-electric power base and a food industry. In the Sheki-Zakataly region an industrial complex grew up serving the silk and food industries. There are other industrial centers at Nakhichevan’, Stepanakert, Kuba, Khachmas, Tauz, Agdam, and Lenkoran’. Nevertheless, four-fifths of the gross industrial product of Azerbaijan is accounted for by the Baku-Sumgait region.

Azerbaijan is the oldest petroleum and natural gas producing area of the USSR. As new oil fields have been brought into production in other parts of the country, Azerbaijan’s share in petroleum production for the country as a whole has fallen from 71 percent in 1940 to 7.5 percent in 1967. However, actual petroleum production in Azerbaijan increased 2.8 times since 1913. Oil is produced on the Apsheron Peninsula, in the Kura-Araks and Samur-Divichi lowlands, and at offshore oil fields in the Caspian Sea—in the Apsheron (the “Neftianye Kamni” fields and others) and Baku archipelagoes, which account for more than half of the petroleum produced in Azerbaijan.

Industrial production of natural gas began in Azerbaijan in 1928. The deposits being exploited are located primarily in the Karadag-Duvannyi and the Zyria-Giurgian areas. There are large natural gas deposits also in the Sal’iany-Shirvan region and under the Caspian Sea. Pipelines for natural gas run from the gas fields on Zhiloi Island to the mainland. Gas is also obtained as a by-product from the production and refining of petroleum. A major pipeline carries Azerbaijan’s natural gas to Armenia and Georgia as well.

Under Soviet rule a major electric power industry has been built up in Azerbaijan. The combined capacity of its electric power plants in 1967 was 2,612,000 kw. Hydroelectric power plants have been built on the Kura River (the Mingechaur and Varvarinsk plants) and on the Terter River, among others. Heating and power plants include the Severnyi Raion State Power Plant and the thermal power plant in Sumgait on the Apsheron Peninsula, the Ali-Bairamly Regional State Power Plant and a plant in Kirovabad. Ninety percent of electric power is produced by thermal electric power plants. There are vast reserves for extending electric power production, without even counting the potential hydroelectric reserves, only 14 percent of which have been used. As of 1969 a hydroelectric power plant was being built jointly with Iran on the Araks River. The electric power industry of Azerbaijan is part of the Joint Transcaucasian Power Grid. Some electric power is transmitted from Azerbaijan to Armenia and Georgia.

The chemical industry, including petroleum refining, has become one of the main branches of Azerbaijan’s economy. The present-day refining plants, besides producing various types of fuel, industrial oils, and oil additives, yield intermediate products for the chemical industry, such as gases for petrochemical synthesis, propane and butane fractions, and raw olefin. Petroleum and natural gas refining plants are concentrated mainly around Baku and serve as a base for the Sumgait petrochemical concern. There are also synthetic-rubber plants, polymer plastic construction plants, the Baku tire plant, the Sal’iany plastics plant, and the Mingechaur fiberglass plant. Other chemical industry products include superphosphates, potassium sulfate, potassium chloride, caustic soda, sulfuric acid, toxic chemicals, bromine, iodine, pharmaceutical preparations, detergents, lacquers, and paints. The major centers of the chemical industry are Baku, Sumgait, Neftechala-Sal’iany, and Mingechaur. A chemical industry has begun to develop at Kirovabad for the multiple processing of alunite. The chemical industry is also developing in the Nakhichevan’ ASSR.

The machine-building and metalworking industries before the 1960’s specialized primarily in the manufacture of equipment for the petroleum industry. Other fields have been developed, such as the electrical engineering industry, instrument-making, the manufacture of technical equipment for the food industry, and the construction materials industry. The Baku electrical machinery plant, the Kishlinskii bearing and machine-building plants, the Kirovabad and Baku instrument-making and radio plants, and electrical machinery plants in Mingechaur are some of the manufacturing plants built under Soviet rule. Electrical household appliances are manufactured at Baku, Stepanakert, Nakhichevan’, and Kuba.

Metallurgical industry plants produce steel and rolled iron at Sumgait and Baku, steel pipe at Sumgait, alumina at Kirovabad, and aluminum at Sumgait. The extraction and dressing of pyrite, iron ore, and semimetal ores is found in the western part of the republic—for example, at Dashke-san, Alunitdag, Chiragidzor, Paragachai, and Giumushlug.

Drawing on available natural resources, the construction materials industry has expanded to include cement, asbestos-cement products (Baku and Tauz), faience used in construction, sanitary engineering items, building stone, inert materials (Baku, Mingechaur, Bagram-Tapa), window glass (Baku and Sumgait), composite reinforced structures and components, asphalt, artificial asphalt, and gypsum.

The food industry and other light industries have an important place in Azerbaijan’s economy. Large cotton-milling concerns are located in Baku, Kirovabad, and Mingechaur. In Sheki and Stepanakert there are silk-milling concerns. The manufacture of woolen fabric at Baku and Kirovabad and of rugs at Kirovabad, Kuba, and elsewhere is also being developed. In 1968 there were 12 cotton-ginning plants in the Azerbaijan’s cotton regions, in addition to knitting and stitching mills; in Baku, Kirovabad, and Stepanakert there is also a leather and footwear industry. Older branches of the food industry have expanded considerably, including flour, wine and brandy, tobacco, and fish. In 1968 the gross output of the food industry had increased by 2.6 times over 1940. Ninety percent of the fishing industry’s catch comes from the Caspian Sea. Processing of fish products is concentrated in Khudat, Neftechala, and Narimanabad. Fish-breeding enterprises have been established in the Kura River basin. Cheese and butter are produced in the foothills and mountain areas, and there are dairy concerns in Baku, Kirovabad, Geokchai, and elsewhere. Vegetable oils are manufactured in Kirovabad and Ali-Bairamly, and there are large meat-packing plants in Baku and Kirovabad.

Agriculture Under Soviet rule large-scale mechanized agriculture has been developed in Azerbaijan. The total land area used by farms and agricultural enterprises in 1967 was 6.7 million hectares. Farmland constituted 4 million ha, of which 1.4 million were plowed lands and 2 million were pasture lands and hay fields. The areas devoted to particular crops are shown in Table 5.

In 1967 there were 1,095 kolkhozes and 305 sovkhozes in Azerbaijan. At the end of 1967 there were 41,400 tractors (in terms of standard 15–horsepower units), 4,000 grain-harvesting combines, and about 16,000 trucks.

Irrigation is of great importance to agriculture. Under Soviet rule much work has been done in restoring old irrigation structures and canals and building new ones. The total irrigation system is more than 40,000 km long. Irrigated lands covered 1,088,000 ha in 1967. The largest canals are the Upper Shirvan, the Upper Karabakh, and the Samur-Apsheron.

Nearly 50 percent of the financial income of Azerbaijan’s kolkhozes comes from cotton, which grows primarily in the Kura-Araks valley and along the Araks itself, including in the Nakhichevan’ ASSR. On the average, a cotton plant yields between 15 and 16 centners per ha (1960–67). High grades of tobacco (Samson and Trabzon) are grown in the foothills of the Greater and Lesser Caucasus. Tea is grown in the Lenkoran’ lowland. In 1967 tea plantations covered 7,200 ha, for a gross yield of 8,700 tons. Grain is grown primarily in the foothills of the Greater and Lesser Caucusus and on the Mugan’ plain. About 70 percent of the grain land is sown to winter wheat. Rice has been grown in Azerbaijan since ancient times. In 1967 it covered 7,400 ha, for a gross yield of 12,000 tons, primarily in the Lenkoran’

Table 5. Crop areas (ha)
Total cultivated area...962,0001,124,0001,057,0001,218,000
Cereal crops.........833,000797,000737,000676,000
Maize .............5,00010,00014,00014,000
Industrial crops.......110,000213,000171,000227,000
Cotton ............103,000188,000151,000210,000
Tobacco ..........1,3006,7008,00012,800
Potatoes ............6,00022,00018,00014,000
Vegetables ..........3,00014,00012,00030,000
Fodder crops.........4,00066,000110,000261,000

and Sheki-Zakataly regions. Azerbaijan is one of the supply bases of early vegetables for the entire Soviet Union. The main vegetable-growing areas are the Lenkoran’ lowland, the Kuba-Khachmas area, the Apsheron Peninsula, and the eastern part of the Kura-Araks valley. Potatoes are grown in the foothills and mountains of the Lesser Caucasus. For data on the gross yields of agricultural crops see Table 6.

Viticulture and fruit growing are highly developed in Azerbaijan. In 1967 the area covered by orchards was as much as 104,000 ha (44,000 ha in 1950). Vineyards covered 103,000 ha (23,000 in 1950). The gross yield for grapes was 150,000 tons, compared with 78,000 tons for all other fruits. There are orchards almost everywhere. In the northeast the trees are primarily seed plants; in the northwest, nut plants and seed plants; and in the Nakhichevan ASSR, Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast, and Kura-Araks valley, stone-fruits. Arid subtropical fruits are widespread—pomegranate, fig, quince, Japanese persimmon, and almond. On the Aspheron Peninsula there are saffron and olive plantations. Grape-growing regions include both the upland and lowland parts of the Shirvan, the Kirovabad-Kazakh region, and the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast. Viticulture is being developed in the

Table 6. Gross yield of the most important agricultural crops (tons)
Cereal crops.........486,000567,000523,000729,000
Wheat ............314,000298,000308,000541,000
Maize ............4,00010,00017,00022,000
Raw cotton ..........64,000154,000284,000333,000
Tobacco ............1,0005,4008,10020,800
Potatoes ............38,00082,000119,000122,000
Vegetables ..........63,00067,000363,000

foothills of the Greater Caucasus, in the western and southwestern parts of the Kura-Araks valley, in the Lenkoran’ region, and in the Nakhichevan’ ASSR.

Livestock brings approximately 25 percent of the income of kolkhozes and sovkhozes. Beef-and-dairy and mutton-and-wool farming are the two main kinds. Livestock statistics are cited in Table 7.

Table 7. Livestock (as of January)
Horned cattle, including water buffalo.......1,397,0001,357,0001,248,0001,679,000
females .........491,000489,000345,000664,000
Sheep and goats.....2,394,0002,907,0003,360,0004,713,000
Hogs ...............31,000120,00073,000101,000

Traditional cattle distance pasturing developed. A reliable fodder base for livestock is being created, and some stock are now kept in barns. Sheep raising is of great importance, especially in the Lesser and Greater Caucasus and in several of the lowland areas. Together with local breeds of sheep (balbas, shirvan, karabakh, and so on), fine-wooled and semifine-wooled breeds, introduced in the Soviet period, are widespread, including the Azerbaijan mountain merino. Over 25 percent of the stock counted as cattle are water buffalo. In the Lenkoran’ region zebus are also raised. The main cattle-raising areas are the Lesser Caucasus, the Kuba-Khachmas area, and the Apsheron Peninsula. Diary farming to meet urban needs is found around Baku and Kirovabad. Poultry farming is being developed. More than 70 percent of kolkhozes grow silkworms. In 1967 approximately 3,600 tons of cocoons were produced (2,400 in 1940, and 2,600 in 1950).

The pattern of state purchases of agricultural products is represented in Table 8.

Table 8. Government purchases of agricultural products (tons)
Raw cotton ....................154,000284,000333,000
Tobacco ......................5,3007,90020,600
Cereal grains ..................130,000115,000178,000
Vegetables ....................25,00026,000236,000
Fruits and berries(including grapes) ............59,00052,000165,000
Tea leaves (graded).............2408008,700
Livestock and poultry (liveweight).23,00033,00067,000
Milk and dairy products(converted into equivalent)40,00055,000162,000
Eggs (million) ..................102094
Wool (test weight) ..............3,1003,8008,800
Silkworm cocoons (tons).........2,387,0002,581,0003,550,000

Transportation. Azerbaijan has a well-developed transportation network. Railroads handle 62 percent of freight turnover in the republic. The total length of railroad track has more than doubled under Soviet rule and in 1968 amounted to 1,800 km, with a density of 201 km per 1,000 sq km. The old Baku-Tbilisi and Baku-Derbent trunk lines have been completely rebuilt, and the Tbilisi line has been electrified as well. The Aliat-Mindzhivan-Dzhul’fa (passing on into Iran) and the Osmanly-Sal’iany-Astara lines are among the new ones. In 1926 the first electric railroad in the USSR was put into operation in Azerbaijan, running from Baku to Sabunchi. By 1966 all the railroads of the Apsheron Peninsula had been electrified. In 1969 a line was being built from Evlakh to Agdam to Goradiz (the Evlakh-Agdam section had already been built). This line would link the Baku-Tbilisi and Baku-Dzhul’fa trunk lines, and a spur would go from Lake Sevan to Akstafa. In 1967 railroad freight turnover amounted to 23.1 billion tons per km, and 30.4 million passengers were transported.

Maritime transport is of great importance. Most of the shipping on the Caspian Sea is done via Azerbaijan. A ferry has operated between Baku and Krasnovodsk since 1962. The Kura River is navigable for a distance of 500 km.

There are 20,000 km of highway. Freight turnover by general-use motor vehicle transportation was 717 million tons per km in 1967. The major highways in terms of density of freight traffic are Baku-Aliat-Sal’iany, Evlakh-Agdam, Evlakh-Sheki-Zakataly, Evlakh-Kirovabad-Kazakh, and Baku-Kuba. Motor vehicle transportation plays the main role in passenger travel within the republic (2,622,000,000 passenger km in 1967).

Air routes connect Azerbaijan with nearly all major industrial and economic centers of the USSR. There are also the following internal air routes: Baku-Kirovabad-Nakhichevan’, Baku-Evlakh, Baku-Sheki-Belokany, and Baku-Agdzhabedi.

Shipping via pipeline is also developed. The Baku-Batumi (the first in Russia) and Ali-Bairamly-Baku oil pipelines and the Karadaz-Akstafa (with branches to Yerevan and Tbilisi), Karadag-Sumgait, and Ali-Bairamly-Sumgait natural gas lines are operating in Azerbaijan.

Economic regions Particular features of economic development distinguish several regions in Azerbaijan.

The Apsheron (Baku-Sumgait) region has an elaborate industrial complex in which petroleum and natural gas production, the petrochemical and chemical industries, and the machine-building, construction, food-processing, and light industries are dominant. It also has a well-developed suburban agriculture.

The Kirovabad-Kazakh region has mining and related chemical industries and a variegated agriculture, with viticulture, cotton, and fine-wool sheep breeding predominating; there is also some food processing and light industry.

The Kura-Araks region has a highly developed agriculture based on irrigation (cotton), combined with stock breeding, grain, and viticulture. Power production, machine building, petroleum and natural gas production, construction materials production, food processing, and light industry are also developed here.

The Sheki-Zakataly region has livestock breeding, well-developed tobacco farming and fruit growing, and grain cultivation, including rice. The silk industry and food industry have been established.

The Kuba-Khachmas region is a fruit-growing region with well-developed canning and fishing industries, petroleum and natural gas production, and natural gas processing.

The Lenkoran’ region is a humid subtropical region with well-developed agriculture, including vegetables, tea, citrus fruits, and grains (rice) and legumes. The food industry is expanding (fish, canning, tea).

The Shemakha-Ismailly region is a viticultural and wine area with a significant level of grain farming and stock breeding.

The Kel’badzhar-Lachin highland region has livestock raising, lumbering, and mining; there is also a health resort industry.

In the Nakhichevan’ ASSR grain, viticulture, cotton, and highland stock raising predominate; there are also mining, electric power, construction materials, food-processing, and light industries.

The Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast has electrical engineering, silk, and wine-making industries. Agriculture is highly variegated, with stock raising, grain farming, and viticulture predominating.

Standard of living Under Soviet rule the population’s standard of living has risen sharply. There has been a radical change in the living conditions of rural and urban toilers. The wages of industrial and office workers and compensation for labor on kolkhozes have risen systematically. Social services for the urban and rural population have improved. The rise in the living standard was particularly noteworthy in the 1960’s. Thus, Azerbaijan’s income in the period 1959–67 grew by 65 percent nationally and by 24 percent per capita. Monetary income during this period increased by 99.7 percent. Payments and benefits received by the population from social welfare funds in 1967 came to 771 million rubles (343 million rubles in 1958). The greater part of this sum was spent on education, public health, social security, and physical culture. In 1967, 167 million rubles were set aside for maintenance of pensions (77 million rubles in 1958). Retail merchandise turnover increased significantly. In 1967 the quantity of goods sold to the public for immediate consumption was 4.1 times greater than in 1940, and the quantity of goods for cultural and domestic use increased by more than eightfold. The share of public eating facilities in the total of goods and services rose from 4 percent in 1924 to 10 percent in 1967. In 1967 there were 1,111 savings banks in Azerbaijan (478 in 1940); total deposits increased by 36.5 times during the same period.

From 1920 through 1967 new housing built by government and cooperative enterprises and organizations, kolkhozes, and the population at large amounted to 32.3 million sq m. Of this, more than 18 million sq m were built by government and cooperative enterprises and organizations as well as by industrial and office workers at their own expense with the aid of government credit. In the period 1956–67 alone, more than 11.6 million sq m of new housing were built, which was 2.7 times greater than the total housing in all the urban areas of Azerbaijan in 1926.


Sovetskii Azerbaidzhan. Baku, 1958.
Azerbaidzhanskaia SSR. Moscow, 1957.
Geografiia khoziaistva respublik Zakavkaz’ia. Moscow, 1966.
Azerbaidzhanskaia SSR 50–letiiu Velikogo Oktiabria (a statistical compilation). Baku, 1967.
Gadzhi-zade, A. Azerbaidzhanskaia SSR. [Baku,] 1967.
Rastsvet ekonomiki Azerbaidzhanskoi SSR (a collection of articles). Baku, 1967.
Kavkaz: Prirodnye usloviia i estestvennye resursy SSR. Moscow, 1966.
Atlas Azerbaidzhanskoi SSR. Baku-Moscow, 1963.


Demography and public health As a result of the successes under Soviet rule in developing the economy and culture and in increasing the living standard of the masses, significant improvements in the health of Azerbaijan’s population have been achieved.

The birthrate per thousand inhabitants in 1967 was 32.4; the death rate, 6.7 (25.5 in 1913). By 1967 infant mortality had been reduced by ten times compared with the prerevolution-ary period and by three times compared with 1940. Average longevity in 1967 was 72 years (27 years in 1913). Azerbaijan has the greatest number of persons of extreme old age within the USSR: 840 persons over 100 years old for every million inhabitants, whereas for the USSR as a whole there are 100 such persons per million inhabitants. (In the USA there are 15 centenarians per million, in France seven, and in Japan one.)

Smallpox, malaria, trachoma, and leishmaniasis have been eradicated. The incidence of visceral leishmaniasis has been sharply reduced, by 94.5 percent. By 1967 the incidence of severe intestinal diseases had been reduced by 3.7 times in comparison with 1959, typhoid fever by 3.8 times, diphtheria by 27 times, whooping cough by 10 times, poliomyelitis by 5.8 times, brucellosis by 7.6 times, tuberculosis by 1.9 times, and taeniarhynchosis by 84 percent.

In the most humid regions, such as the Lenkoran’ lowland and the Sheki-Zakataly region, ancylostomiases (hookworm diseases) are found, primarily necatorosis, although the incidence of infection is not high. The arid lowlands and foothills and some mountain areas where disease-bearing ticks and mites are widespread form natural breeding grounds for tick-borne and mite-borne spirochetosis, of which some cases affecting humans have been recorded. The natural breeding grounds of certain other diseases have been discovered there, including Q fever and leptospirosis. Among noninfectious diseases, endemic goiter has been noted in several mountain areas. Certain hereditary blood diseases characteristic of the subtropics, such as favism, appear among the population in the Lenkoran’ lowland.

In 1967 there were 43,300 hospital beds (88.1 per 10,000 inhabitants), as against 1,100 (5 per 10,000 inhabitants) in 1913. These 43,300 included the following types of specialized care: therapeutic, 11,600; surgical, 4,800; oncological, about 1,000; ear-nose-and-throat, about 500; optical, 1,000; nerve diseases, 676. There were 1,043 outpatient clinics, 133 tuberculosis clinics, 152 dermatological and venereal clinics, and 51 oncological clinics. These clinics take various forms—dispensaries, centers, and wards. Before the October Revolution there were no specialized tuberculosis, oncological, trachomatous, or dermatological-venereal facilities. In medical prophylactic and sanitary epidemic institutions serving the public in 1967 there were 11,900 working doctors (one doctor for every 414 inhabitants). In 1913 there were only 353 doctors in all.

The development of maternal and child care facilities has made it possible to meet 100 percent of inpatient obstetrical needs in the cities, to provide systematic observation of children by physicians, and to take successful measures against infant mortality and maternal deaths. By 1967 Azerbaijan had approximately 7,000 hospital beds for children, including over 1,600 for specialized care, and 4,900 hospital beds for pregnant women or women giving birth. There were 268 female consultation offices, child consultation offices, and polyclinics for children. Some 11,300 children were in permanent child care centers.

Medical personnel are trained at the N. Narimanov Azerbaijan Medical Institute and at 17 secondary medical schools. The A. Aliev Institute of Advanced Training for Physicians is also active, and 11 scientific research institutes are engaged in research in medical problems.

A network of antiepidemic facilities has been established, including 83 antiepidemic stations. In Azerbaijan there are over 60 mountain spas and many places rich in mineral springs, medicinal muds, and saline water. The most popular health resorts are Naftalan, Istisu (a Karlovy Vary-type resort), Shusha, Mardakian, Bil’chia, and Buzovna. The Baku “health zone” enjoys great fame. In 1967, 58 sanatoriums (with over 6,800 beds) and nine workers’ resorts (with 2,000 beds) were operating. Over 51,000 children vacationed at the 123 Pioneer camps in the countryside. Tourism has grown rapidly in Azerbaijan, and a network of camping sites and tourist centers has been built. The number of foreign tourists in 1967 was about 4,500.

The budget for health in the republic grows every year; in 1967 it was 119.5 million rubles.


Ibragimov, M. A. Zdravookhranenie Sovetskogo Azerbaidzhana. Moscow, 1967.
Nazirov, M. P. Kraevaia patologiia Azerbaidzhana. Baku, 1967.


Veterinary services Under Soviet rule in Azerbaijan, plague and epidemic pneumonia in cattle, glanders, infectious anemia, infectious encephalomyelitis, equine trypanosomiasis, and several other diseases have been liquidated in agricultural animals. The natural conditions on Azerbaijani territory foster certain tick-borne diseases of farm animals, such as theileriasis, anaplasmosis, and babesiasis. The foothill regions are the most consistent breeding grounds for these diseases, about 80 percent of which occur between May and September. The summer pastures in the high mountain regions are not free of disease-bearing ticks either. In Kobustan theileriasis of cattle takes a mild form because of the presence of large amounts of cobalt, copper, and other microelements in the soil and in the fodder. Such helminthiases as fasciola, echinococcus, and cysticercosis are also recorded among cattle. Azerbaijan’s border location makes it more susceptible to penetration by foot-and-mouth disease and certain other infections.

In Azerbaijan in 1969 there were 1,696 veterinary doctors and 2,300 middle-level veterinary personnel. There were 642 veterinary clinics, including 60 stations for combating disease in animals. There were about 400 veterinary hospitals or subdivisions and about 60 veterinary laboratories. The Chief Administration for Veterinary Services of the Ministry of Agriculture of Azerbaijan administers veterinary services for the republic as a whole, and in administrative raions this function is carried out by the chief veterinary doctor. Veterinary specialists with higher qualifications are trained at the Azerbaijan Agricultural Institute. The chief research center is the Azerbaijan Veterinary Scientific Research Institute.

The first schools on the territory of contemporary Azerbaijan, attended by the children of the nobility and clergy, arose in the fifth century. After Azerbaijan was conquered by the Arabian caliphate in the seventh century, mektebs were established at the mosques to spread Islam; there children studied the Koran and Arabic grammar. In the tenth and 11th centuries, schools providing more advanced education, the madrasahs, were affiliated with the mosques in a number of Azerbaijani cities. Parsi was introduced in the mektebs in the 11th century. In spite of the fact that the main purpose of the mektebs and madrasahs was to train Islamic clergy, the schools played a positive role in spreading literacy. Famous poets and thinkers received their education in these schools, including Abu al-Ala Ganjevi, Mekhseti Ganjevi, Khagani, Shirvani, Nizami Ganjevi, and Nasireddin Tusi. In the 17th and 18th centuries mektebs and madrasahs unaffiliated with the mosques were opened in the major cities. The form of instruction used in these schools was individual. Besides the reading of the Koran, Parsi and the native literature were studied. There was no definite time limit at these schools, and frequently the student remained in mektebs into his fifth or sixth year and in madrasahs into his 15th or 20th. Russian elementary schools were set up in the 19th century, after Russia’s annexation of northern Azerbaijan. Progressive people in Azerbaijan fought for the establishment of secular schools with instruction in the native language and for the development of a network of Russian schools with a greater number of Azerbaijani students.

In the first half of the 19th century the Azerbaijani enlight-eners A. Bakikhanov and M. F. Akhundov played an important role in the development of public education. In the second half of the 19th century and the early 20th century active proponents of a more advanced school system included the Azerbaijani pedagogues R. I. Efendiev, N. N. Narimanov, Dzh. Mamedkulizade, S. S. Akhundov, S. M.Ganizade, and F. Agazade, along with such progressive Russian pedagogues of Transcaucasia as A. O. Cherniaevskii and D. D. Semenov.

In Baku in 1865 a technical progymnasium (reorganized in 1874 as a technicum) and a women’s gymnasium were founded. In 1875 city schools and lower technicums and trade schools appeared. In 1887 the so-called Russian-Tatar elementary schools came into existence. In contrast to the ordinary Russian schools, these were attended only by Azerbaijanis and the Azerbaijani language was taught along with Russian. At the end of the 19th century the network of Russian schools was enlarged. In addition to the government schools, private schools and public schools were established. In the school year 1914–15 there were 943 elementary schools with 61,200 pupils, 18 upper elementary schools with 4,700 pupils, and 15 secondary schools with 7,200 pupils. There were 73,000 children in schools of all types. But the majority of children, especially Azerbaijanis, received no education. Only 36.1 percent attended elementary schools and 11 percent attended secondary schools, primarily children of the propertied classes. There were fewer than 2,000 Azerbaijani girls in schools. In prerevolutionary Azerbaijan there were only three specialized secondary schools and no institutions of higher education at all. The literacy rate was 9.2 percent.

After the Great October Socialist Revolution the culture of Azerbaijan was transformed radically. In 1918 the Baku Sov-narkom published a declaration on the introduction of free universal education in the native language throughout the republic and on the separation of schools and church. A council on public education and a commission to prepare curricula and textbooks were established. In 1920 a number of decrees on educational questions were issued—for example, “On Freedom of Conscience” and “On the Mobilization of Educational Workers.” A statute on “A Single Labor School System in the Azerbaijan SSR’’ was passed. Work on abolishing illiteracy and semiliteracy among the adult population got under way.

A decree of the Third Session of the Azerbaijan Central Executive Committee in May 1928 introduced universal elementary education. Beginning with the school year 1928–29, the schools changed from an Arabic to a Latin writing system. In the early 1930’s, universal seven-year schooling began to be carried out in practice in the major cities, and after 1935 this was applied throughout the republic. The school system was expanded, and the literacy rate reached 82.8 percent according to the 1939 census. In the same year, the writing system for the Azerbaijani language was changed to an alphabet based on Russian.

By 1951 the transition to universal seven-year schooling was complete. According to the 1959 census, the literacy rate among men was 98.8 percent and among women 96 percent (in rural areas it was 98.7 and 96.1 percent respectively). Beginning in 1959 compulsory universal eight-year schooling was introduced. In 1966 the transition to universal secondary school education began and is to be basically completed by 1975. A system of educational institutions of various types has been established. In 1968 there were 1,171 preschools with 95,100 children attending. In the school year 1968–69 there were 1.33 million students attending 5,643 general education schools of all types. The republic has a Palace of Pioneers and Schoolchildren in Baku, and there are 84 Houses of Pioneers, ten Centers for Young Scientists and Explorers, and 21 sports schools.

Vocational education has developed considerably. In the school year 1968–69 there were 32,000 students attending 17 professional and technical schools; 69,200 students attending 78 secondary special schools; and 95,000 students attending 12 higher educational institutions. Among the major higher educational institutions are the following: the S. M. Kirov University of Azerbaijan, the M. Azizbekov Institute of Petroleum and Chemistry, the Polytechnic Institute, the Lenin Pedagogical Institute, the M. F. Akhundov Pedagogical Institute for Languages, the N. Narimanov Medical Institute, and the U. Gadzhibekov Conservatory.

In 1913 there were only 25 public libraries in Azerbaijan, with a stock of 18,000 books. In 1968 there were 2,650 public libraries functioning in the republic, with a stock of 21.1 million books and magazines. Of these, 197 libraries were run by kolkhozes, with 509,000 books and magazines. The major libraries are the M. F. Akhundov Library of the Republic, the Library of the Azerbaijan State University, the Fundamental Library of the Academy of Sciences of the Azerbaijan SSR, and the Lenin Central Library, all located in Baku. In 1968 there were 1,725 clubs and 38 museums, the largest of which were a branch of the Lenin Museum, the Museum of Azerbaijani History, the R. Mustafaev Museum of Art, the Nizami Museum of Azerbaijani Literature, and the Agricultural Museum, all located in Baku.

Natural and technical sciencesRESEARCH IN THE NATURAL SCIENCES BEFORE THE 20TH CENTURY. In Azerbaijan, a land with a culture many centuries old, the beginnings of technical knowledge may be traced back to the most ancient times. Artifacts produced by ancient metallurgy, made from copper and copper-arsenic alloys, date back to the fourth millennium B.C. The use of oil for fuel as well as for medicinal purposes was known in ancient times. The remnants of the material culture of the area, frequently marked by a high level of technical and artistic craftsmanship, and the testimony of ancient authors indicate a high level of development in handicrafts. The 11th—13th centuries were characterized by significant developments in mathematics, astronomy, medicine, and other fields of knowledge. In 1259 the outstanding astronomer and mathematician Nasireddin Tusi established the Maragha Observatory, a kind of academy whose importance was not limited by the borders of Azerbaijan. Among Tusi’s works the Zidzhil’khani astronomical tables, compiled 300 years before the analogous tables of Tycho Brahe, are outstanding. The Dar ash-Shifa (House of Healing), established at the beginning of the 14th century in Tabriz, was a combination scientific center and school of higher learning. Forts and mosques preserved in Azerbaijan from the Middle Ages testify to the high level of construction technology, and the remains of the irrigation system in the Kura-Araks steppes tell of the existence of irrigated agriculture as early as the first millenniumA.D.

Azerbaijan’s incorporation into the Russian state at the beginning of the 19th century opened the way for it to merge with advanced Russian culture and science and thereby with world culture and science. Nevertheless, the colonialist policies of the tsarist administration retarded this process. Scientific research, connected mainly with oil production and refining, developed widely from the second half of the 19th century. The Russian academician G. Abikh laid the foundations for the geological study of Azerbaijan. Among those who made major contributions to the study of Azerbaijani natural resources, primarily oil, wereD. I. Mendeleev, V. V. Markovnikov, and I. M. Gubkin. The scientific writings of the first Azerbaijani chemist, M. Khanlarov, a doctor of sciences at the University of Strasbourg, date from the 1880’s and 1890’s. He became a member of the Russian Physics and Chemistry Society on the recommendation of the leading Russian scholars D. I. Mendeleev, N. A. Menshutkin, and D. P. Konovalov. A geological survey of the Apsheron Peninsula was carried out at the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th, and monographs appeared by N. I. Andrusov, D. V. Golubiatnikov, and M. V. Abramovich devoted to the study of petroleum areas and oil fields. However, before the October Revolution the geological study of Azerbaijan did not have a systematic character. Only 1.4 percent of Azerbaijan’s territory was covered by geological surveys.

Several techniques for perfecting oil production and refining were proposed. In 1878 the engineer V. G. Shukhov built the first oil pipelines in the Baku fields. He also proposed the use of the air lift in oil wells. Experiments in chemically refining petroleum by cracking were undertaken by A. A. Letnii in 1878 and V. G. Shukhov in 1890. During World War I, 1914–18, S. A. Lebedev established the production of toluene from petroleum gases in Baku.

In the second half of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th a number of scientific institutions or organizations arose, such as the Baku Section of the Russian Technological Society, branches of the Caucasian Agricultural Society, the Society of Physicians of Baku, chemical laboratories at petroleum refineries, experimental farms and stations, and so on, but their activities had an uncoordinated character. Many scholars of Russia took part in studying the flora and fauna of Azerbaijan in the 19th century, but no overall picture was achieved. The tsarist government’s prohibition against the organization of higher education in the Transcaucasus and the absence of secondary education in the native language hindered the training of Azerbaijani specialists, not to mention scientific personnel.

THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE NATURAL AND TECHNICAL SCIENCES AFTER THE OCTOBER REVOLUTION (PREWAR STAGE). The victory of Soviet power brought the Azerbaijani people unparalleled opportunities for scientific work. The main center for the development of the natural and other sciences in the first years of Soviet rule was the Azerbaijan State University, headed by the prominent Russian medical scholar V. I. Razumovskii. Along with institutes of higher education, which became important centers for the training of national scientific personnel, specifically scientific institutions and such scientific-production institutions as the Geological Bureau and the Central Chemical Laboratory of Azneft’ and the Baku Maritime Observatory came into being. In November 1923 the Society for the Exploration and Study of Azerbaijan was established, the forerunner of the Academy of Sciences of the Republic. The society’s initiators included the prominent state and Party figures G. Dzhabiev, S. Agamaly-ogly, G. Sultanov, and N. N. Narimanov and the writer and literary critic A. Akhverdov. From the very beginning, science in Soviet Azerbaijan developed in intimate relation with the rest of Soviet science, with the day-to-day support of such outstanding figures as A. P. Karpinskii, V. L. Komarov, N. D. Zelinskii, S. S. Nametkin, A. N. Nesmeianov, and N. N. Semenov, all of whom also did important work in training national scientific personnel. At the end of 1929 the Azerbaijan Scientific Research Institute (AzGNII) was established, based on the existing society. In the early 1930’s, thanks to the training of scientific workers in Azerbaijan’s institutes of higher education and in other centers of the USSR, the scope of scientific research rose sharply. At the end of 1932, AzGNII was converted into the Azerbaijan Section of the Transcaucasian Affiliate of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR, and reorganized in 1935 as the Azerbaijan Affiliate of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (AzFAN).

The main direction of scientific research in Azerbaijan dealt with the totality of problems connected with petroleum—exploration for new fields and improvements in production and refining. A basic task for the geologists of Azerbaijan was to establish standardized geological cross sections for the various separate petroleum regions. New petroleum layers lying deeper in the earth were discovered, which considerably increased oil production. A detailed geological survey of several regions was carried out by M. V. Abramovich, S. M. Apresov, M. A. Mullaev, and others, in collaboration with I. M. Gubkin, N. S. Shatskii, and others. Investigations were begun to determine the petroleum content of the southern part of the Caspian Sea and to bring offshore oil fields into production. Of great importance were the paleontological and stratigraphical research into the Cenozoic by V. V. Bogachev and N. I. Andrusov and, later on, by K. A. Alizade and M. M. Aliev, among others.

A major advance in the technology of petroleum production was the introduction of the progressive, turbine-driven form of drilling, in whose development the Baku engineer M. A. Kapeliushnikov played an important role. New kinds of drilling instruments and equipment and such technological advances as the use of clay mortars made it possible to increase the speed of driving and the depths of the oil wells.

In the 1930’s, work in chemistry was also expanded. Systematic study was begun of the hydrocarbon content of Azerbaijani petroleums and of the methods for refining them and using them in industry. Significant fundamental contributions to this branch of petrochemistry were made by L. G. Gurvich and K. A. Krasusskii. The cracking process was introduced in the mid-1930’s, and the technology was developed for obtaining synthetic ethyl alcohol from the petroleum gas ethylene. Research was undertaken in pyrolysis of liquid and gaseous hydrocarbons to obtain aromatic and unsaturated hydrocarbons. Methods of improving motor oils and fuels were studied. During this period the study of the hydrodynamics of petroleum within geological strata was developed. The founder of this study was Academician L. S. Leibenzon, who worked in Azerbaijan for a long time. The physical characteristics of petroleum and its products were also studied.

In the 1930’s the systematic study of metallic and nonmetal-lic minerals was begun. Sh. A. Azizbekov, M. A. Kashkai, and others undertook research on magmatic rock. Certain natural laws were determined regarding the locations of ferrous, nonferrous, rare, and precious metal deposits, of chemical raw materials, and of materials useful in construction. The basic ore-bearing minerals were also studied. Work on the composition of alunites and chromites and the methods of processing them also dates from this period. Research was also begun on one of the most important problems facing Azerbaijan—determining its water reserves and developing methods of exploiting them. The physics laboratory of AzFAN also began work on certain problems in the physics of metals and of semiconductors (Kh. I. Amirhkanov).

The main direction of work in biological research in the 1920’s and 1930’s was the discovery of the republic’s resources in flora and fauna. A. A. Grossgeim published the three-volume work Flora of Azerbaijan. Work on describing the fauna, in particular the commercially valuable fish of the Caspian (A. N. Derzhavin), was carried on. Soil maps of several regions were compiled.

In the 1930’s biologists and soil scientists in Azerbaijan concentrated on concrete problems having economic significance. A two-volume work, Plant Resources of the Azerbaijan SSR (1942), was prepared, along with a composite work on the types of soil salinization that occur in Azerbaijan, particularly in irrigated soils, and on the struggle against this phenomenon. Works by soil scientists had great importance in developing the lowland areas of Azerbaijan and improving the soils in the cotton-growing regions.

During the Great Patriotic War the attention of scientists was riveted on obtaining high-quality fuels, lubricants, explosives, and other chemical products necessary for the defense of the country. During those years and after the war, Azerbaijan’s petrochemists developed a process for the alky-lation of benzene with olefins in order to obtain cumene and ethylbenzene, valuable components of aircraft fuel and the starting products for the manufacture of synthetic rubber, phenol, acetone, and other chemical compounds.

DEVELOPMENT OF SCIENCE IN THE POSTWAR PERIOD. In 1945 the Academy of Sciences of the Azerbaijan SSR, the guiding center for science in the republic, was established. The basic tasks for science in Azerbaijan in the postwar years were to collaborate in raising petroleum and mining production, establish new branches of chemical, metallurgical, and construction materials industries, and obtain valuable crops, primarily cotton. Geology, petroleum technology, and (in the 1950’s and 1960’s) petrochemistry played the leading roles. Research in the area of petrochemistry has grown rapidly. Simultaneously, the scientific and technological revolution has led to wider development of the physical, mathematical, and biological sciences. The relative importance of research on theoretical problems in contemporary chemistry, physics, and biology has increased. In the postwar period the contribution of Azerbaijan’s scientists to the development of Soviet natural and technical sciences as a whole has grown considerably.

As a result of multilevel work in geology, geophysics, and the exploration of Azerbaijani territory, a number of new petroleum and gas regions have been discovered, deeper strata have been researched, and large new oil fields—including such offshore fields as “Neftianye Kamni,” Sangachaly-more, Duvannyi Island, and Bulla Island—have been opened up. Petroleum and natural gas deposits have been confirmed in the so-called Apsheron Threshold, which transects the Caspian Sea between the Apsheron Peninsula and the coast of the Turkmen SSR and which lies at considerable depths below the surface of the water. Definite successes have been achieved in the study of the conditions under which petroleum and gas were deposited. Important areas for petroleum geology have been the determination of laws for the origin of petroleum and gas fields; the link between the geological processes in the sedimentary and deeper layers of the earth’s core on the one hand and the formation of petroleum and gas deposits on the other; and advances in the ability to predict oil and gas reserves and their locations (M. V. Abramovich, A. A. Alizade, Sh. F. Mekhtiev, A. K. Aliev, B. K. Babazade, G. A. Akhmedov, F. G. Dadashev, A. M. Akhmedov, K. M. Sultanov, A. G. Khalidov, S. G. Salaev, and others). Paleontological and stratigraphic research (K. A. Alizade and M. M. Aliev) and tactonic research (V. E. Khain and E. Sh. Shikalibeili) have developed, making it possible to construct detailed charts of the Paleozoic, Mesozoic, and Cenozoic in Azerbaijan. Micropaleontology (D. M. Khalilov) has developed significantly, as has petrographic research (Sh. A. Azizbekov, R. N. Abdullaev, G. I. Kerimov, and others) and geochemical research.

Basic work has begun and is developing on the petrography of sedimentary rock (V. P. Baturin, A. D. Sultanov, A. G. Aliev, and others). A number of works have been devoted to sedimentary volcanism, as especially applied to Azerbaijani oil and gas deposits (A. A. Iakubov, V. A. Gorin, and others). The postwar stage has been characterized by a rapid development of the entire complex of geological sciences in Azerbaijan. The completion of the geological survey of the entire territory and generalizations drawn from the accumulated material made it possible to publish a seven-volume collective monograph titled The Geology of Azerbaijan (1952–61).

The reserves of useful metallic and nonmetallic minerals discovered by geologists have acquired special significance. Using the full complex of modern geological methods (M. A. Kashkai and others), systematic research in the geology of endogenic deposits—especially concerning pyrite, iron ore, alunite, and other formations in the Azerbaijani part of the Greater and Lesser Caucasus—has provided valuable theoretical and practical knowledge about the laws of their formation and distribution. It has also promoted the study and development of iron ore and cobalt deposits at Dashkesan, of alunite deposits at Zaglik, of semimetal deposits at Filizchai and elsewhere, and of gold-bearing, mercury, antimony-arsenic, and other metallic and nonmetallic mineral deposits in other areas.

Valuable data have been obtained through research in the fields of regional geology, geophysics, hydrogeology, and geological engineering. Important work has been conducted concerning thermal springs, reserves of mineral waters, the earth’s inner heat, and exploitation of these phenomena in the economy.

The most important forms of geophysical exploration—seismic, gravimetric, magnetic, and electric—have been developed in Azerbaijan by M. I. Radzhabov, K. A. Mustafaev, R. M. Gadzhiev, Kh. D. Dzhafarov, R. A. Abdullaev, E. M. Shekinskii, and others. Methods for working metallic and nonmetallic mineral deposits have been researched and their results applied to Azerbaijani deposits (Sh. N. Mamedov).

Significant advances have been made in the postwar period in the field of petroleum production technology. The theory and practice of diagonal drilling has been worked out by Azerbaijani petroleum technicians. The complex development and exploitation of offshore oil fields has been worked out extensively; a group of Azerbaijani scientists and specialists—including E. N. Alikhanov, A. I. Bilandarli, B. A. Gadzhiev, M. S. Kasumzade, I. P. Kuliev, M. K. Mamedov, Z. I. Melik-Tangiev, D. K. Mzareulov, V. F. Negreev, and F. I. Samedov—received the Lenin Prize in 1961 for this work. In collaboration with scientists in other petroleum-producing parts of the country, Azerbaijani scientists have been studying the problems of drilling at great depths and of sustaining and reducing formational pressure. Research has been conducted on the special features of fluid within geological strata, on the hydrodynamics of petroleum deposits, gas deposits, and gas-condensing deposits (A. Kh. Mirzadzhanzade), and on the physical chemistry of geological strata.

Since the Great Patriotic War petrochemistry has grown to become a leading area of scientific work in Azerbaijan. Great service in this respect has been performed by the Azerbaijani petrochemist Iu. G. Mamedaliev, a representative of the N. D. Zelinskii school and the author of a number of fundamental works. Among other petrochemical researchers are R. G. Ismailov, M. A. Dalin, V. S. Gutyria, V. S. Aliev, and S. D. Mekhtiev. A key stage in the development of the petrochemical industry not only in Azerbaijan but in all of the USSR was the establishment in 1953 of synthetic ethyl alcohol production by sulfuric acid hydration and later by direct hydration of petroleum ethylene. Thanks to this development, it became possible to completely abandon the use of potable alcohol for technological purposes, especially for producing butadiene, a basic component of synthetic rubber. A major accomplishment was the creation of facilities for obtaining butadiene by a two-stage dehydrogenation of butane.

A major subdivision of petrochemistry in Azerbaijan is the synthesizing and study of additives for fuel and oil which improve their physical and chemical qualities and heighten their potential for exploitation (A. M. Kuliev); additives are widely used in industry. Comprehensive works have been produced on the theoretical problems of chemical technology and on the theory of recycling processes (M. F. Nagiev), making it possible to evaluate the productivity of every apparatus in a complex multistage chemical process and laying the basis for optimal design in chemical production, from reaction vessels to entire industrial complexes covering a complete production cycle.

The task of creating synthetic products, especially polymers with prescribed qualities (resins, synthetic fibers, and so on), and of obtaining secondary raw materials for such products has taken on exceptionally great importance. The results of a number of studies have been applied in production in the USSR as well as in other countries. Technical procedures have been worked out for conducting chemical processes by using catalyzers in the air-fluidized (“spouting”) bed as well as in an open or partly open up-current. The technology developed in particular has been that of the dehydrogenation of butane in the “spouting” bed of the catalyzer, permitting the production of synthetic rubber to be greatly increased in quantity and reduced in cost.

After 1958, in connection with the decisions of the May Central Committee Plenum of the CPSU, the chemistry and technology of monomers became one of the leading branches of scientific work conducted by the petrochemists of Azerbaijan. Based on new, progressive methods for synthesizing and technological processing in the production of various monomers, research also began to develop in the 1960’s on the chemistry and technology of polymer materials. Work in radiation petrochemistry has the aim of obtaining polymers of great purity which have qualities of great practical value. Much research has gone into the technology of obtaining various monomers and polymers from the hydrocarbons of petroleum. An important part of the work of Azerbaijani petrochemists is to solve the theoretical problems connected with establishing methods that will be new in principle for synthesizing monomer and polymer compounds and for determining their molecular structures, as well as the interconnection between structure and reaction capacities (S. D. Mekhtiev and others). A large number of works have been devoted to the quantitative analysis of complex mixtures of organic compounds through the methods of molecular spectroscopy.

In the fields of inorganic and physical chemistry, research of special importance includes the synthesizing and investigation of oxides, natural catalysts, and adsorbents; the investigation of metal corrosion and the creation of protection against it under various conditions through inhibiting agents; the study of the republic’s mineral-chemical raw materials and the possibilities of their complex processing; the chemistry and geochemistry of rare elements (G. Kh. Efendiev); the elaboration of new methods, including express methods, for identifying the number of rare and nonferrous metals; and the chemistry of crystals. Theoretical research on the kinetics of chemical reactions is also being conducted.

Significant work has been carried out in the fields of the physics of semiconductors (G. M. Abdullaev); in the theory of nuclei and elementary particles and of solid bodies; radio physics (L. M. Imanov); thermophysics (Kh. I. Amir-khanov); and molecular physics (A. A. Abaszade). The Institute of Physics of the Academy of Sciences of the Azerbaijan SSR is the leading organization in the study of selenium and tellurium and of rectifiers made with them. Azerbaijani physicists have achieved considerable success in producing new rectifiers and improving existing ones made with selenium, tellurium, or some of their more complex compounds. Among the long-range and immediate problems being worked on by the physicists are research in new types of controlled diodes, the development of technology for making them, and the discovery of new applications, especially for electronic memory systems. Concerning the physical and physical engineering problems of energetics, investigations are under way on the conditions and possibilities for using electrical fields and discharges in petroleum refining (Ch. M. Dzhuvarly), and a general theory has been elaborated for adjustable automated electric drive (A. A. Efendizade). At the Shemakha Astrophysical Observatory (director G. F. Sultanov) a varied research program, including solar physics and the atmosphere of stars, is being carried out.

The main direction of mathematical research is in functional analysis and its applications, in the mechanics of solid bodies under stress, and in fluid mechanics. The scientific achievements of Azerbaijani mathematicians (Z.I. Khalilov, A.I. Guseinov, and I.I. Ibragimov) not only have theoretical importance but also have furthered the development of applied sciences—including the mechanics of bodies under stress, fluid filtration, and automatic control theory. There is also research in cybernetics; mathematical methods and techniques in computer technology for solving immediate problems in industry; and control and management of the economy, particularly methods of optimizing complex technological processes—for example, petroleum refining and petrochemistry.

The specification of the basic zones of Azerbaijan has been completed, large-scale regional maps have been compiled, and a monograph and corresponding map on the geomorphology of Azerbaijan have been published. A wide range of research has dealt with problems relating to the preservation of the natural environment (G. A. Aliev) and on the climatology, synoptic meteorology, and hydrology of the land areas. The Atlas of the Azerbaijan SSR was published in 1963. Research by K. K. Giul’ into problems relating to the Caspian Sea—including its hydrology, hydrometeorological regime, water balance, and pattern of currents—is of special interest.

The long-term work by Azerbaijani botanists has been systematized in a number of general works, including the eight-volume Flora of Azerbaijan (1950–61) and the three-volume handbook on nutritious plants. The four-volume monograph The Microflora of Azerbaijan by V. I. Ul’ianishchev (1952–67) was awarded a Lenin Prize. There has been research in geobotanics and in plant morphology (Kh. V. Tataiuk). A major area of botanical research with great practical importance is plant physiology (M. G. Abutalybov and M. A. Alizade). Questions concerning the role of microelements in plant life; the salt tolerance of cotton plants, potatoes, and other crops; and conditions of water supply and the drought resistance of plants are also important. More and more attention is being paid by contemporary biology to immediate problems in genetics, biochemistry, biophysics, and cytology.

Zoologists have completed an inventory of the vertebrate fauna. The scientific foundations have been laid for combating pests and parasites of plants, animals, and human beings (M. A. Musaev and S. M. Asadov). Azerbaijani scientists have made significant contributions to studying the fish life of the southern Caspian and of the republic’s inland waters and to developing the basis for the artificial breeding of commercially valuable fish (A. N. Derzhavin and Iu. A. Ab-durakhmanov).

In the field of human and animal physiology, research has been conducted especially in such areas as metabolism, the physiology of interoceptors (A. I. Karaev), phagocytosis, the effect of radioactive substances on living organisms, and gerontology.

The accomplishments of the soil scientists of Azerbaijan have been summed up in the collective work The Soils of the Azerbaijan SSR (1953) and in a large-scale soil map of the republic. Among the works devoted to an analysis of the connection between soils and other elements in the biosphere are the works The Ecology of Soils (1963) and Soils and Climate (1953) by V. R. Volobuev. Their author was awarded the Dokuchaev Prize in 1959 and the State Prize of the USSR in 1968. Problems of soil erosion have been dealt with (K. A. Alekperov). Work in the production of fertilizers and other biologically active substances obtained from petroleum industry by-products is being pursued (D. M. Guseinov). Efficient ways of applying fertilizers are also being studied.

Azerbaijan’s professional selectors and breeders have developed new varieties of cotton (N. Z. Alekperov and I. M. Velizade), wheat and barley (I. D. Mustafaev), vegetables (M. A. Musaev), silkworms (I. K. Abdullaev), and maize and alfalfa (A. M. Kuliev) that are notable for their commercially valuable features. Scientific foundations have been laid and a number of original methods have been proposed for the improvement of the saline soils of the Kura-Araks lowland.

In the medical field, work has been done on the study of regional pathology (M. R. Nazirov), on research into and practical use of the republic’s balneological reserves, on surgery and anesthesiology (M. A. Topchibashev and Z. M. Mamedov), on therapy (D. Abdullaev and E. Efendiev), on ophthalmology (U. S. Musabekova and S. Velikhan), on pathological anatomy (D. Iu. Guseinov), and on the hygiene of inhabited areas (V. Iu. Akhundov). Research of considerable scope has dealt with the important areas of general, medical, veterinary, agricultural, soil, and water microbiology (M. K. Ganiev and B. F. Medzhidov) and on stockbreeding and zootechny (F. A. Melikov and A. A. Agabeili).


Social sciencesSOCIAL THOUGHT FROM THE MOST ANCIENT TIMES UP TO THE 20TH CENTURY. The beginnings of social ideas are encountered in the doctrine of Mazdaism, dating from the seventh century B.C., which during its evolution was transformed into Zoroastrianism around the sixth century B.C. Magism arose somewhat later. In their philosophic content Zoroastrianism and Magism were dualistic systems based on the concept of the struggle between two opposing forces in the world—light and darkness, evil and good.

During the period of developing feudal relations (third through sixth centuries) the sharpening of the class struggle found its ideological reflection in the religious doctrine of Manichaeism (third century). Basic influences in its formation, besides Zoroastrianism, were Gnosticism and Christianity, which penetrated the Near East in the form of various heresies, such as Nestorianism. As opposed to Zoroastrianism, Manichaeism put forward the thesis that darkness and evil dominate in the world and that light and good are held captive by them. Manichaeism served as the religious covering for the ideology of Mazdaism, which arose in Iran at the end of the fifth and beginning of the sixth centuries. The Mazdakites rejected Manichaean pessimism and asceticism and preached equality in property, considering the natural resources of the land and its minerals, waters, and so on to be common property. They called for the reorganization of life on earth in the interests of the deprived masses and affirmed their faith in the possibility of the immediate establishment of a kingdom of justice on earth.

Along with the development of philosophical and religious concepts in Azerbaijan, there was an accumulation of historical knowledge about the peoples inhabiting the region. This process began in the most ancient times. As early as the seventh century, a chronicle known as The History of the Agvans was undertaken in Caucasian Albania.

In the middle of the seventh century Azerbaijan was invaded by the Arabs. During the struggle of the Azerbaijani people against the Arab yoke and against local feudal lords in the eighth, ninth, and tenth centuries, Mazdaism was reborn in the form of the Khurramite doctrine. The ideologists of Kurramism, Dzhavidan and Babek, saw the main source of social injustice as the existence of large landholdings and the reign of feudal lords. The Khurramites called on the people to struggle against feudal oppression for the establishment of equality in property and for a just distribution of land among the peasants.

During the period of the Arabian conquests, historical and geographical science developed widely in Azerbaijan and other countries under the rule of the Caliphate. In the eighth century, Azerbaijanis became acquainted with Greek philosophy through Arabic translation, at first with the systems of Plato and Pythagoras and later with that of Aristotle. The teachings of Empedocles and others also enjoyed circulation. Along with these a large apocryphal literature appeared—texts attributed to Empedocles, Democritus, Aristotle, and others (the so-called pseudo-Empedocles, pseudo-Democritus, and pseudo-Aristotle). And although all of these imitations were not notable for any profundity of philosophical thought, they nevertheless played a role in preparing the soil for the first seeds of a national philosophical tradition. Among the members of the philosophers’ group of the tenth century, the Ihwan al-Safa (Brotherhood of Purity), which put out its own original philosophical encyclopedia, there were some Azerbaijanis. Arabic Aristotelianism had a prominent representative in Azerbaijan in the person of Bakhmaniar (11th century), who attempted to reconcile the philosophy of Aristotle with Islam. Another current in the philosophic and social thought of Azerbaijan in the feudal period was Sufism, which was primarily pantheistic; its leading representative was Makhmud Shabustari (late 13th and early 14th centuries).

One of the highest achievements of medieval thought in Azerbaijan was the work of the great poet and thinker Nizami Ganjevi in the 12th century. Nizami was an idealist in his philosophical views, but there were preliminary elements of dialectics and materialism in his world view. He had a sympathetic attitude toward the struggle of the oppressed masses against the feudal lords and sang the praises of labor as the foundation of social equality. Nizami assigned the main role in the struggle for universal equality to reason, the idea, and the word. Nizami’s older contemporary, the poet Khagani, recognized the role of perception and reason in knowledge and rejected mystical intuition.

In the 11th and 12th centuries an entire galaxy of Azerbaijani scholars came to the fore. They undertook long journeys through the countries of the East and composed valuable works in history, geography, astronomy, and medicine. The well-known Arab traveler Iakut Khamavi mentions the names of people who came from Shirvan, Derbent, Salmas, Maragha, and Tabriz and were educated in the major cultural centers of the East. Makki ibn Akhmed of Barda traveled through Maverannakhra and Khurasan and, according to the testimony of medieval authors, left a legacy of many books. The poet and scholar Khatib Tabrizi (11th century) taught in Nizami’s madrasah in Baghdad. Abubekr Mukhammed Shir-vani studied jurisprudence.

The Mongol-Tatar invasion of the 13th century led to intensified reactionism in Azerbaijan’s social thought. However, the progressive scholar, astronomer, and mathematician Nasireddin Tusi lived and worked in this period. His Treatise on Dynasties developed a Utopian proposal for reorganizing the state’s economic policies which called for a significant reduction in taxes and exemptions and a new principle for establishing tax levies based on an estimate of the profitability of parcels of land and on the property qualifications of the taxpayer. He also expounded an original idea on the classification of government receipts and expenditures.

During this same period, important steps were taken in developing historical knowledge in a progressive way—for example, historical works of the chronicle type. Valuable information about the economic and political events in Azerbaijan and neighboring countries in the period of Mongol-Tatar rule are found in the work of the Tabriz historian Fazlallakh Rashidaddin (13th-14th century), Dzhami at-tavarikh (Collection of Chronicles). Mukhammed Nakhi-chevani compiled the 14th-century book Dastur al’-kitab (Guide for the Scribe), which gives information about the social and economic life of Azerbaijan in the 13th and 14th centuries.

In the 14th and 15th centuries the religious-philosophical doctrine of Hurufi gained popularity. A major representative of this doctrine was the Azerbaijani poet Imadeddin Nesimi. Valuable material on the history and geography of Azerbaijan in the second half of the 15th century is compiled in the works of the scholar and geographer Abdurrashid Bakuvi. Bed-reddin Emir Seid Akhmed Lialiavi, a native of Tabriz, was an expert in logic, literature, and oriental philology. The historian and philosopher Dzhalaladdin Mukhammed Davani wrote Akhlagi-Dzhelali, a work on ethics popular in the East.

A certain advance in the field of science and social thought took place in the 16th century as a result of the partial revival of economic life. The poet M. Fizuli, who in general stayed within the bounds of the idealist viewpoint, nevertheless expressed a number of progressive ideas in the realms of philosophy, logic, and politics. His ethical doctrine opposed medieval asceticism.

There was an increased interest in the history and cultural heritage of the Azerbaijani people during the 16th century. Outstanding historical works of that period were written by Gasanbek Rumlu and Iskender Miunshi (16th and 17th centuries). Only a part of Rumlu’s voluminous work Akhsanat at-tavcuikh (The Best of Histories) has been preserved; it deals with the period 1405–1578. Miunshi’s work Tarikhi alem-araii Abbasi (History of Abbas, Adorner of the World) has great value for the political history of Azerbaijan, Iran, and other neighboring countries in the 16th and 17th centuries. The 17th-century Azerbaijani philosopher Iusif Mukhammedzhan ogly Karabagi, who spent the greater part of his life in Samarkand and Bukhara, was well known as the author of a number of treatises on philosophy and law.

With the founding of separate feudal khanates on the territory of Azerbaijan in the second half of the 18th century, local chronicles began to appear. Azerbaijani scholars in the feudal era collected valuable factual material on the history, geography, literature, and folklore of the country and its neighboring lands. The appearance of chronicles in Azerbaijani at the end of the 18th century, a time when scholarly works were primarily written in Parsi, is generally considered an important milestone in the rise of historical scholarship in Azerbaijan. At the end of the 18th and beginning of the 19th centuries the Azerbaijani scholar and geographer Gadzhi Zeinalabdin Shirvani took a journey through the countries of the East, which he described in his writings, providing valuable testimony on the history, ethnography, and culture of the peoples of the Near East, Middle East, India, and other countries.

A new stage was reached in the development of social thought in Azerbaijan in the 19th century. Azerbaijan’s annexation extended its links with Russian and world science and culture. During this period a noticeable qualitative leap occurred in the development of social thought in Azerbaijan. A. Bakikhanov, who was the first to draw upon a wide range of sources to write a history of Azerbaijan, M. Kazem-bek (a professor at the University of Kazan and later at the University of St. Petersburg and a leading Russian orientalist), and the educator M. Topchibashev were among those who propounded enlightened and democratic ideas. The poet M. Sh. Vazekh, an advocate of freedom for the people, influenced the ideological development of that major thinker of Azerbaijan M. F. Akhundov, who gave the most integral exposition of the materialist philosophical system in all of the Near East. The democrat G. Zardabi, publisher of the first Azerbaijani-language newspaper, Ekinchi (Plowman), opposed religious prejudices and was a supporter of evolutionism.

In the 19th century, Azerbaijani historiography also rose to a higher level. Azerbaijani scholars, including A. Bakikhanov and M. F. Akhundov, attempted to create well-researched historical works, enriched with new material and encompassing a considerably greater territorial range than previous Azerbaijani historical writings. The most outstanding study in the history of northern Azerbaijan and Dagestan was A. Bakikhanov’s Giulistan-lram (The Garden of Paradise).

From the 1860’s through the 1880’s, philosophy, political economy, and history were separated from social thought as independent disciplines with their own objects of investigation. The new nonaristocratic intelligentsia attempted to pose and resolve practical questions from the viewpoint of political economy, which M. F. Akhundov called “the science of management and politics,” G. Zardabi called “the science of commerce,” and N. Vezirov called “the science of the economy of time.” The basic economic questions surveyed by them at that time were the dependence of the profit level on the amount of labor expended; fluctuations of prices in connection with supply and demand; the role of machinery in increasing productivity of labor; the advantages of large industry over petty industry; and the flow of means of production and labor from one branch of industry to another. M. F. Akhundov paid great attention to the principles of the distribution of wealth. He proposed to abolish the existing practice of deducting one-fifth of receipts to be paid as benefits for the clergy and descendants of the Prophet and instead to tax all the classes (estates) one-tenth of their income for the state treasury and the rural population one-twentieth of its income.

A new period in the development of social and economic thought in Azerbaijan began at the end of the 19th century. The ideas of Marx and Engels penetrated Azerbaijan, and Marxist economic doctrines began to be studied. This advance in social thought was linked primarily with the fact that in the 1880’s and 1890’s the workers’ movement was beginning to develop and Social Democratic circles were coming into existence in Baku. All this signified the approach of a new proletarian stage in the development of social thought in Azerbaijan.

In the beginning of the 20th century the first Marxist works in Azerbaijani history appeared. Many questions of the workers’ revolutionary movement are clarified from the viewpoint of Marxist methodology in the works of P. A. Dzhaparidze, B. M. Knuniants, N. N. Narimanov, J. V. Stalin, A. M. Stopani, S. G. Shaumian, S. M. Efendiev, and others. The ideas of Marxism had an effect on representatives of democratic culture as well. Prominent representatives of revolutionary democratic thought at the beginning of the 20th century, such as A. Sabir and Dzh. Mamedkulizade, who founded the magazine Molla Nasreddin (which was popular beyond Azerbaijan’s borders as well), carried on a struggle against such reactionary theoreticians as A. M. Rufetov and Alibek Guseinzade, who attempted to sever philosophy, literature, and art from life and from politics. The revolutionary democrats unmasked the essence of these religious and philosophical constructions.

A. O. Makovel’skii and A. N. GULIEV

THE DEVELOPMENT OF SOCIAL SCIENCES AFTER THE OCTOBER REVOLUTION. The genuine advance of social science in Azerbaijan came after the victory of the Great October Socialist Revolution. The establishment of the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic and the practical realization of socialist industrialization and collectivization provided the basis for a fully developed cultural revolution and a radical change in the class and social structure of Azerbaijan’s society. The Leninist policy of friendship among peoples promoted the process of mutual enrichment among national cultures and the development of science and enlightenment in Azerbaijan.

In the course of socialist construction in Azerbaijan an enormous amount of work was done to propagate Marxist philosophy. The basic works of Marx and Engels were translated, and editions of V. I. Lenin’s works and the works of other leading figures in the Communist Party were published in Azerbaijani. The works of the Russian revolutionary democrats were also published, and much attention was paid to the elaboration of philosophical terminology in Azerbaijani.

During the first decade of Soviet rule, Azerbaijan State University, founded in 1919, was the center for the study of Marxist-Leninist philosophy. The university published Logic by A. Guliaev (1921, in Russian) and several works by A. O. Makovel’skii on the history of ancient Greek philosophy. The Azerbaijan State Scientific-Research Institute (AzGNII, founded in 1929) published the first Russian translation of Truth, or a Trustworthy System (vol. 1, 1930), by the French philosopher Deschamps. The literary, social, and political magazine Maarif ve medeniet (Enlightenment and Culture), which published articles on philosophical subjects and translations of articles by Soviet Russian philosophers, played an important role in spreading the ideas of Marxism-Leninism. The works of N. N. Narimanov, S. Agamali-ogly, and others were also published. In 1953 the Academy of Sciences of the Azerbaijan SSR (ANAzSSR) published the Selected PhilosophicalWorks of M. F. Akhundov. In 1945 a philosophy section was founded as part of the history faculty at the S. M. Kirov Azerbaijan State University; and in 1947 a division of logic and psychology was added to the philology faculty.

The training of specialists in philosophy is conducted primarily at the ANAzSSR and at Azerbaijan State University. At the academy scholarly research work in philosophy is conducted by the Institute of Philosophy and Law (before 1967 it was the philosophy sector). Work on problems of philosophy is also carried on in the philosophy departments of the republic’s institutes of higher education. A. O. Makovel’skii, A. Zakuev, Dzh. Mustafaev, A. Seid-zade, and F. Kasumzade are among the scholars who write on ancient and medieval Azerbaijani philosophy; the first volume of Essays on the History of Azerbaijan Philosophy, a collective work covering the period from ancient times up to the 18th century, was published in 1960. The history of Azerbaijani 19th- and 20th-century philosophy is treated by M. Kasumov, Sh. Mamedov, V. Samedov, Z. Geiushev, F. Kocharli, E. Akhmedov, and Sh. Mirzoeva. Fundamental research in the history of social, political, and philosophical thought in 19th-century Azerbaijan was carried out by G.N. Guseinov, member of the ANAzSSR, who left a valuable legacy on other areas of the history of Azerbaijani philosophy and on problems of dialectical and historical materialism.

Among those who have done research on the history of philosophy and sociology among the peoples of the Near and Middle East are A. Zakuev, A. Agakhi, E. Gasanova, and A. Aminzade. A series of works have been published in Azerbaijan on logic, problems of dialectical and historical materialism, and Lenin’s philosophical heritage (Dzh. Akhmedli, Z. Bagirov, T. Rasulov, Z. Orudzhev, G. Iusifzade, and others); on problems of scientific communism (A. Shakirzade and others); and on aesthetics, ethics, and scientific atheism (A. Aznaurov, M. Sattarov, M. Mamedov, and A. Aslanov).


The study of history has enjoyed a qualitatively new development in Soviet Azerbaijan. In the 1920’s the Society for the Research and Study of Azerbaijan was founded in Baku. In the society’s publications, Izvestiia and Trudy, research findings and other materials on Azerbaijani history, ethnography, and numismatics have been published. Systematic archaeological exploration has also begun. The first efforts to produce generalized works on the history of Azerbaijan were made by E. A. Pakhomov, who wrote A Short Course in the History of Azerbaijan (1923), and by V. M. Sysoev, who wrote A Short Essay on the History of (Northern) Azerbaijan (1925). In the 1930’s, for the first time in the historiography of Azerbaijan, works were published on the history of the peasant movement and on the agrarian question (A. A. Gubaidulin, A. A. Salamzade, and others).

In general, the period of the 1920’s and 1930’s is characterized by works on medieval history and 19th-century history which concentrate primarily on factual information and have a descriptive character. The Istpart (Bureau of Party History) of the Central Committee and the Baku committee of the ACP(B), which was reorganized in 1928 as the Institute of Party History, carried out important work in this field. Works appeared during this period on the history of the Baku and Azerbaijani Party organizations and on the history of the revolutionary movement (M. D. Guseinov, R. Guseinov, A. Dubner, A. G. Karaev, V. V. Pokshishev-skii, and S. S. Shaumian). A considerable amount of factual material is summarized in these works, although some of them contain important errors.

The establishment of the Institute of History, Ethnography, and Archaeology as part of the Azerbaijan Branch of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (AzFAN) in 1935 was of great importance for the development of historical science. In 1941, History of Azerbaijan: A Short Essay was published as a collective effort by this institute. A number of documents were issued on the history of Azerbaijan’s incorporation into Russia and on the general strikes in Baku in 1903 and 1904. During the Great Patriotic War, Azerbaijan’s historians produced works on the heroic past of the Azerbaijani people and on historical and patriotic themes.

Marxist historical science in Azerbaijan has undergone important development in the postwar period, especially after the Twentieth Congress of the CPSU. The historians of Azerbaijan have created a number of universal works in close creative collaboration with scholars of Moscow, Leningrad, the Transcaucasian republics, and Central Asia. The three-volume History of Azerbaijan came out during 1958–63, providing the first composite essay on the socioeconomic, political, and cultural history of Azerbaijan from the most ancient times to the present day.

Many works are highly concrete and deal with various periods and problems in Azerbaijan’s history. I. M. Dzhafarzade published a study of ancient Gandzha based on archaeological data and, jointly with I. G. Aliev, essays on the ancient history of Azerbaijan. The results of excavations at such places as Mingechaur, Oren-kale, and Ialoilutepe have been summarized in studies by R. M. Vaidov, A. A. lessen, O. Sh. Ismizade, G. I. lone, S. M. Kaziev, and others. E. A. Pakhomov’s work in numismatics has gained fame. Among those whose works deal with the history of Media, Caucasian Albania, and medieval Azerbaijan are I. M. D’iakonov, I. G. Aliev, A. A. Alizade, G. B. Abdullaev, V. N. Leviatov, M. Kh. Sharifli, and Z. I. Iampol’skii. I. P. Petrushevskii’s fundamental research made a major contribution to the development of the most important questions in Azerbaijan’s medieval history.

The thesis of the Azerbaijanis’ Median origin, long widely accepted, has been overthrown as a result of all this research. The roles of the main Azerbaijani ethnic elements, including Turkic ones, have been explained; and significant corrections have been made in interpretations of the origin and consolidation of slaveholding and feudal relations in Azerbaijan and of the nature of several medieval states on Azerbaijani territory, including the Safawid state. Azerbaijani historians attribute great importance to Azerbaijan’s incorporation into Russia and to the history of Azerbaijani-Russian relations. One of the pressing problems of Azerbaijani historiography is the study of socioeconomic relations in 19th- and 20th-century Azerbaijan. Ts. P. Agaian, I. M. Gasanov, M. A. Ismailov, A. S. Sumbatzade, and M. M. Efendiev are among those who have concerned themselves with the development of capitalist relations in agriculture and industry, agrarian legislation under tsarism in Transcaucasia, and industrial conditions in the factories and plants of Azerbaijan before 1917. The history of the Baku proletariat and of the revolutionary movement among Azerbaijan’s workers and peasants is dealt with in the works of such historians as P. N. Valuev, A. N. Guliev, Z. I. Ibragimov, M. A. Kaziev, and I. V. Strigunov. Studies in the history of Azerbaijani culture have also been published.

The study of Azerbaijan’s modern history (post-1917) was activated in the 1950’s. The history of the Communist Party of Azerbaijan and the workers’ struggle to establish Soviet power is investigated in works by I. A. Guseinov, Z. I. Ibragimov, Dzh. B. Guliev, and E. A. Tokarzhevskii. Kh. Aliev, T. Kocharli, Kh. Alimirzoev, and P. Aziz-bekova are among those whose works deal with the period of socialist construction in Azerbaijan—collectivization, the history of Soviet industry, the cultural revolution, and the formation of socialist nations. Research is proceeding on the history of Azerbaijan in the period of the Great Patriotic War and the period of postwar socialist and communist construction. Such historians as G. A. Madatov and D. P. Guliev are taking successful steps in this direction.

Testimony to the substantial success of the study of history in Azerbaijan is the fact that Azerbaijani historians have participated in composing works both of regional significance, such as part 1 of Essays in the History of the Communist Organizations of Transcaucasia, and of all-Union significance, such as the 12–volume History of the USSR From Ancient Times to the Present Day, the series Peoples of the World, and Essays in the History of Historical Science in the USSR. Research is under way in Azerbaijan in various problems of national and universal history, especially the history of Turkey, Iran, and the Arab East (Z. Abdullaev, G. Aliev, and others).

Work on such matters is carried out at the Institute of History and the Institute of the Peoples of the Near and Middle East of the ANAzSSR, at the Institute of Party History of the CC CPA, at the history department of Azerbaijan State University, at the history and philology department of the V. I. Lenin Pedagogical Institute, at the facilities of the Archives Administration of the Council of Ministers of the Azerbaijan SSR, and elsewhere.


An economics department was established at the M. Azizbekov Polytechnic Institute in 1922 in Baku. Another economics department was founded in 1928 at the Azerbaijan State University; this later became the Socioeconomic Institute and the Institute of Trade and Cooperation in 1929. Economic research dealing with various branches of the economy of the republic began. From 1937 to 1959 the K. Marx Azerbaijan State Institute of National Economy trained economics scholars and produced textbooks and manuals in Azerbaijani.

An economics sector was created in 1935 at AzFAN and in 1945 at the ANAzSSR. In 1958 they merged into the Institute of Economics at the ANAzSSR, where the following problems are now studied: the rates and proportions of development in the national economy; the economic efficiency of capital investments and basic funds; the sources of the main trends in the advance of economic development in Azerbaijan’s regions; economic problems in the intensification of production and the use of material incentives in connection with economic reform; the reproduction of the work force and the utilization of the labor reserves of the republic; socioeconomic changes in the Azerbaijani villages; and the history of the national economy and of economic thought. The directors of this work include A. S. Sumbatzade, A. A. Makhmudov, A. A. Nadirov, A. K. Aleskerov, and G. Ia. Abdulsalimzade.

In 1962 the Azerbaijan Scientific Research Institute of the Agricultural and Economic Organization was founded. The institute analyzes problems of geographical distribution and specialization in agriculture; questions of economic accounting, material incentives, and improvements in the forms of payment for labor; the norms of labor expenditures on particular agricultural products; ways of improving pricing for agricultural products; methods of raising the productivity of labor; and the economic efficiency of water system construction and the improved utilization of water reserves. The institute’s directors include S. A. Mirzoev and D. Magerramov.

In 1965 the Scientific Research Institute of Economics attached to the State Planning Commission of the Azerbaijan SSR was established. The institute investigates the problems of a scientific grounding for planning Azerbaijan’s economy; the geographical distribution of productive forces among the economic regions; working out the balance between production and distribution by means of mathematical methods; and forecasting the development of different branches of Azerbaijan’s economy and its labor resources (M. M. Alakhverdiev and others).

In 1966 the A. D. Buniatzade Azerbaijan Economics Institute was created. The institute deals with problems of economics, organization, and planning in the branches of Azerbaijan’s economy and with various theoretical questions of socialist political economy and economic thought (B. Iu. Akhundov, A. S. Faradzhev, G. A. Dadashev, Iu. M. Mamedov, A. A. Trivus, I. M. Datiev, T. S. Veliev, and others). That same year an Azerbaijani branch of the All-Union Scientific Research Institute for the Study of Public Demand for ConsumerGoods and of Trade Conditions was founded in Baku. Laboratories or sections relating to particular branches of industry have been formed at several scientific research institutes. Their research is primarily directed toward studying the economic development of the respective branches of the republic’s economy and the economies of Near and Middle Eastern countries.

Under Soviet rule a large group of economics scholars has grown up in Azerbaijan; they are researching various urgent problems in economic science and working on the main problems of economic development of the Azerbaijan SSR.


The founding and development of juridical science in Azerbaijan also dates from the establishment of Soviet power. Before 1920 there were no schools of jurisprudence and very few people with a legal education. During the first years of Soviet power short-term courses in the legal system for workers were organized in Azerbaijan, and in 1927, by a decree of the CC CPA, a law department was established at the oriental studies faculty of the Azerbaijan State University. This was reorganized as a juridical faculty in 1928. In 1968 the Institute of Philosophy and Law was established by the ANAzSSR. There is also an Azerbaijan Scientific Research Institute for Forensic Examinations attached to the Juridical Commission of the Council of Ministers of the Azerbaijan SSR (founded in 1960).

Legal scholars take part in formulating the most important legislative acts—for example, the codes of criminal, criminal procedural, civil, and civil procedural law adopted in 1960–64. Among the legal specialists with advanced qualifications working on problems of juridical science and on the training of scholarly and practical workers for the court system in Azerbaijan are Dzh. A. Kerimov, V. P. Kagramanov, A. Sh. Mil’man, D. G. Movsumov, M. N. Aleskerov, F. N. Akhmedov, M. S. Khalafov, and I. P. Mamedov. Legal scholars have produced a comprehensive work on the history of the government and laws of Soviet Azerbaijan, monographs on the development of different branches of Soviet socialist law in Azerbaijan during the period of socialist construction, monographs on the governmental and legal views of outstanding thinkers in Azerbaijan’s past, and a number of textbooks and manuals. Comprehensive work in progress deals with strengthening socialist law and protecting the rights of citizens in the current stage of communist construction.


Scientific institutions During the prewar five-year plans and in the postwar period a network of scientific institutions has been built in Azerbaijan. In 1940 there were 70 scientific institutions, including institutions of higher education; by 1968, 131 scientific institutions, including higher educational institutions, were functioning, with more than 15,700 scientific personnel employed at scientific institutions or at other institutions or organizations. The corresponding figures for 1950 were 104 and 3,364; for 1960, 107 and 7,226.

The republic’s scientific personnel in 1968 included 88 academicians and corresponding members of the ANAzSSR, 500 doctors, and 4,500 candidates in the sciences.

The scientific center for the republic is the Academy of Sciences of the Azerbaijan SSR, which includes 21 scientific research institutes and a number of other scientific institutions. The ANAzSSR has published Izvestiia since 1936, in both Azerbaijani and Russian, Doklady since 1945, in both Azerbaijani and Russian, and the Azerbaijani Chemistry Journal since 1959.


Kasumov, Z. M., I. V. Strigunov, and B. L. Trenetin. Akademiia nauk Azerbaidzhanskoi SSR: 20 let. Baku, 1966.
Razvitie nauki v Sovetskom Azerbaidzhane (a collection of articles). Baku, 1967.

Periodical literature first appeared in Azerbaijani in the 1830’s. In Tbilisi a semiofficial newspaper in Azerbaijani, Tiflis ekhbary (News of Tiflis), began publication in 1832. The newspaper Gafgazyn bu terefinin kheberleri (Transcaucasian Herald, 1845) also published materials that simply duplicated official sources. The newspaper Ekinchi (Plowman), published in 1875–77 by the Azerbaijani educator G. Zardabi, laid the foundations for the democratic press in Azerbaijan. After Ekinchi the most progressive of the Azerbaijani-language newspapers at the end of the 19th century was Keshkiul’ (1883–91; the first 11 issues were published in magazine form). An important contribution to the development of social thought in Azerbaijan was made by Shargi-Rus (The Russian East, 1903–05), a newspaper of democratic tendency published in Tbilisi in Azerbaijani by the prominent publicist and scholar M. S. Shakh-takhtinskii. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, publications of bourgeois or bourgeois-liberal trend appeared in Baku—for example, the newspapers Kaspii (1881–1919), Baku (1902–18), Khaiat (Life, 1905–06) and Irshad (Guidebook, 1905–08) and the magazine Fuiuzat (Goodness, 1906–07). In 1906 the writer and democrat Dzh. Mamedku-lizade established the first Azerbaijani satirical magazine of democratic tendency, Molla Nasreddin (1906–31), which was circulated widely in the East.

The development of the revolutionary movement in Transcaucasia, particularly in Baku, brought a revolutionary press into being. Baku served as the cradle for the Bolshevik press of Transcaucasia, and the first Bolshevik newspapers in national languages appeared there. The Georgian-language newspaper Brdzola (Struggle) was issued in 1901–02, and in 1901–06 the illegal party press Nina was in operation, reprinting Lenin’s newspaper Iskra and other Marxist literature. The Bolshevik-oriented Social Democratic Gummet group, organized in 1904, published leaflets and the illegal newspaper Gummet (Energy, 1904–05) in Azerbaijani. In 1905–06 appeared the Bolshevik newspapers Bulletin of the Soviet of Workers’ Deputies, Koch-Devet (The Call), and Baku Worker, the one on which the legal Azerbaijani Bolshevik press was based, and the Armenian-language Banvori dzain (Voice of the Worker); in 1906–07, the Azerbaijani-language newspaper Tekmaiul’ (Evolution); in 1907 the Azerbaijani-language newspaper loldash (Comrade) and the Russian-language newspaper Gudok; and in 1907–09, the illegal newspaper Baku Proletarian. From 1905 to 1920 over 400 newspapers and magazines were published in Azerbaijan, the majority in Azerbaijani.

The origin of book printing in Azerbaijani within Russia dates from the second half of the 18th century. But historical sources show that literature in this language was printed as early as the late 16th century in Western Europe. In Azerbaijan itself the first books were printed in Tabriz in the 1820’s. Book publishing was also undertaken in Shusha in the 1830’s. Some books were printed by Azerbaijani educators in Western Europe and Russia. In the second half of the 19th century the first printing presses appeared in Baku, Shemakha, and Gandzha. Book printing was concentrated in Baku at the beginning of the 20th century, with more than 30 printing presses and lithographs by 1908. At the beginning of 1920 the total yearly production of books and magazines in Azerbaijan was 137,000 copies and the total combined newspaper circulation was 48,000.

After the establishment of Soviet power, Azerbaijan’s publishing business acquired wide scope. The Azerbaijan State Publishing House (Azgosizdat) was established in 1924. In 1968 the publishing houses of the republic, including Azerneshr (Azgosizdat), Maarif (Enlightenment), and Giandzhlika (Youth), produced 1,265 books and pamphlets, including 857 in Azerbaijani for a total production of 10,724,000 copies. Appearing that same year were 123 magazines and other periodicals, including 80 in Azerbaijani, for a total of 16,390,000 copies, and 121 newspapers, including 95 in Azerbaijani, for a total of 309,857,000 copies. The republic’s Azerbaijani-language newspapers include Kommunist, Sovet kendi (Soviet Village), Azerbaidzhan giandzhliari (Youth of Azerbaijan, 1919), Azerbaidzhan muallimi (Azerbaijan Teacher, 1934), Azerbaidzhan pioneri (Pioneer of Azerbaijan, 1938), and Adabiiat ve indzhesenet (Literature and Art). Its Russian-language newspapers are Bakinskii rabochii, Vyshka, and Molodezh’ Azerbaidzhana (1919). The Armenian newspaper Komunist (1920) is also printed. Political, literary, satirical, and other magazines published in Azerbaijani include Azerbaidzhan Kommunisti (Communist of Azerbaijan, 1939), Azerbaidzhan gadyny (Women of Azerbaijan, 1923), Kirpi (Hedgehog, 1952), Ulduz (Star, 1967), and Azerbaidzhan. There is a Russian magazine, Literarnyi Azerbaidzhan (1931), and an Armenian one, Grakan Adr-bedzhan (Literary Azerbaijan, 1957). Scientific magazines are published in both Azerbaijani and Russian—for example, Bulletin of the Academy of Sciences of the Azerbaijan SSR (1945) and Azerbaijani Oil Industry (1920). The press agency Azerbaijani Telegraphic Agency (AzTAG) has been in operation since 1920.

The first radio broadcasts were made in Baku in 1926. A television center has functioned in Baku since 1956. In 1968 the republic’s radio and television systems were broadcasting in Azerbaijani, Russian, and Armenian over two radio wavelengths and two television channels. Television broadcasts can be heard in two languages by means of special adapters.


Azerbaijani folklore. Traces of the ancient folklore have been preserved in many sources, such as the Median legends from the seventh and sixth centuries B.C., recorded by Herodotus and related to the Iranian wars of conquest, and the ancient religious and philosophical texts in the Avesta. Work, ceremonial, and household songs, legends, love narratives, epics (dastanas), fairy tales, short humorous pieces (liatifa), proverbs, sayings, and riddles, all permeated with a belief in the strength of the people, came into being over the course of thousands of years. A central place in Azerbaijani folklore belongs to such dastanas as Ker-ogly, Asli and Kerem, Ashug-Garib, and Shahk Ismail. Many dastanas contain echoes of historical events and reflect the patriotic and humanistic feelings of the people. Lyrical folk poetry has a many-sided content (the baiati and goshma). Beginning in the 16th and 17th centuries the verses of the folk singers, the so-called ashugs, were written down. Among the ashugs whose works have survived are Gurbani, Sari-ashug, Abbas Tufarganly, and Valekh. Apparently the main creators of folk poetry were none other than these ashugs. As a specific national art form, their poetry has a vital influence on cultural life. The songs of the late 19th- and 20th-century Azerbaijani ashugs—such as Alesker, Gusein Bozalganly, Asad Rzaev, Mirza Bairamov, Shamshir Godzhaev, Islam Iusifov, and Gusein Dzhavid—are very popular.

Ancient literature Not much evidence of the written Azerbaijani literature of the ancient period has survived, but it is known that a highly developed culture existed in Caucasian Albania (in the northern part of contemporary Azerbaijan) as early as the fifth century. Religious and literary works, both original and translated, were written down at that time. With the strengthening of Arabic and Islamic influences in the seventh through ninth centuries and of Iranian influences in the 11th and 12th centuries, such major Azerbaijani scholars and poets as Khatib Tebrizi, Bakhmaniar, and Katran Tebrizi wrote their works in Arabic and Persian. Literary works were being created in Azerbaijani as well; an outstanding example is the epic Kitabi Dede Korkud. The events in the epic correspond roughly to the tenth and 11th centuries, the period of penetration into the Caucasus by the Oguzz tribes. The 12 heroic legends in the epic reflect the struggle of the Oguzz (who subsequently merged into the Azerbaijani, Turkmen, and Turkish peoples) against their neighbors in order to consolidate their position in the Caucasus.

In the 11th and 12th centuries prominent poets, including Abu al-Ala Ganjevi and the poet-astronomer Feleki Shir-vani, gathered at the palaces of Azerbaijani rulers in the cities of Gandzha, Shemakha (Shirvan), Tabriz, and Nakhichevan’. Other successful lyric writers included the poets Iz-zeddin Shirvani and Miudzhireddin Beilakani and the poetess Mekhseti Ganjevi, whose free-thinking verses expressed the bitterness and sorrow of the Azerbaijani woman. Among Shirvan poets, Khagani enjoyed widest recognition. The high point of Azerbaijani poetry in the 12th century was reached in the works of Nizami Ganjevi, one of the leading figures in world poetry. This humanist poet, who expressed the progressive ideas of his age, spoke out in defense of the rights of oppressed people against violence and injustice.

In the 13th century the difficult situation of the oppressed masses inspired themes of pessimism in poetry and led to the expansion of Sufi literature. Poets included Ziul’figar Shirvani, Shams Tebrizi, and Avkhedi Maragai. A characteristic feature of literary life in the 13th century was the decline of courtly poetry. Turkic lyrical verse was composed by Gas-sanogly. Prominent 14th-century poets were Assar Tebrizi, author of the narrative poem Mekhr and Mushtari, and Arif Ardebili, author of the narrative poem Farkhad-name. In the 14th and 15th centuries the religious and philosophical doctrine of Hurufi, directed primarily against the dogmas of Islam and partially against the bloody campaigns of Tamerlane, became widespread. A prominent representative of Hurufi was the poet and thinker Imadeddin Nesimi, who composed the first long diwan in Azerbaijani.

The Safawid state formed in the 16th century. The Safawid ruler Shah Ismail Khatai, who wrote in Azerbaijani, made masterful use of folk poetry motifs, which lent simplicity and sincerity to his lyric poems and his epic works Dekh-name and Nesikhat-name. Talented poets who followed Khatai’s tradition included Khabibi, Khamidi, and Kishveri. That central figure in Azerbaijani poetry Mukhammad Fizuli also dates from this period. His lyric poems in Azerbaijani, Arabic, and Persian, full of thoughtful meditation, served as a stylistic model in the Near East for a long time. Fizuli’s name is usually linked with the final stage in the formation of literary Azerbaijani.

In the 16th and 17th centuries folklore influenced a certain democratization of classical poetry. Folk motifs in the written literature were reinforced, and the forms and language of poetry acquired simplicity and clarity. Poets such as Saib Tebrizi, Mesikhi, and Govsi Tebrizi continued the best traditions of Fizuli. The Shirvan poets of the early 18th century, such as Aga Masikh, Nishat, and Makhdzhur, responded in lively fashion to the political events of their day. The two major poets, Vidadi and Vagif, embodied the best features of the lyric poetry of the 18th century. In Vidadi’s lyrics the bitterness and sorrow of the citizen poet living under harsh feudal reality prevail. Vagif’s poetry is optimistic. His work represents a significant stage in the development of Azerbaijani poetry toward realism.

Nineteenth and early 20th centuries In the 19th century the poets Abul’gasem Nabati, Shiukukhi, Ashig Peri, and Bakhar Shirvani and the poetess Kheiran khanum continued the tradition of Vagif. The entry of northern Azerbaijan into the Russian state in the 19th century marked a new stage in the political and cultural life of the people. Enlightened Azerbaijani literature, directed against despotism, backwardness, and fanaticism, grew stronger. Such figures as the scholar and poet Abbas-kuli Bakikhanov and the writer Ismail-bek Kut-kashenskii introduced new literary genres, such as the short story and the realistic narrative poem dealing with everyday matters, and a new literary figure, the “little person.” The Songs of Mirza Shaft, by the poet Vazekh, first published in Germany in 1881 by the German poet F. Bodenstedt, were translated into many European languages, including Russian in 1880.

An exceptional place among the writers of the 19th century belongs to Mirza Fatali Akhundov, realist writer, materialist philosopher, founder of Azerbaijani dramaturgy, and outstanding public figure. His works played a major role in the development of social thought in a number of countries of the East, especially Iran. In the first half of the 19th century the satirical works of Kasumbek Zakir exposed the corruption of tsarist officials, the cruelty of the landlords, and the greediness of the merchants and clergy. In the second half of the 19th century the poet Seid Azim Shirvani came to prominence. His activity as an educator and his enlightening influence led to the appearance in Baku, Shemakha, Shusha, and other cities of literary circles (medzhlises) which bred young poets. The literary circle in Shusha was connected with the poetess Khurshidbanu Natavan.

N. Vezirov wrote a number of domestic dramas and comedies aimed at patriarchal backwardness. Azerbaijani dramaturgy enjoyed further development in the works of N. N. Narimanov and S. S. Akhundov. The plays of A. Akhver-dov and Dzh. Mamedkulizade portrayed the bankruptcy of the obsolescent status quo and the appearance of people of a new type. The realistic stories of these writers played an important role in the development of Azerbaijani prose. In 1906 the satirical journal Molla Nasreddin began publication, printing the works of the innovative poet A. Sabir.

The influence of romanticism is noticeable in the works of the poet and dramatist G. Dzhavid, the poet A. Sikhkhat, and the poet M. Khadi. Sikhkhat’s translations of the works of Krylov, Pushkin, Lermontov, and Gorky helped to popularize the Russian classics in Azerbaijan. One of the promoters of Russian literature was the critic and man of letters F. Kocharli.

Soviet literature Progressive writers who had ties with the people took an active part in the beginnings of Soviet literature in the 1920’s. The works of Dzh. Mamedkulizade, A. Akhverdov, S. S. Akhundov, and A. Shaik were among the first to reflect the struggle for a new life and the profound changes in peoples’ consciousness. Soviet writers published their works in the magazines Maarif ve medeniet (Enlightenment and Culture) and Gyzyl galemler (Red Pens). The satir-agitteatr staged satirical plays in 1921–25. Historical plays about the revolution also appeared, including Falcons’ Nest by S. S. Akhundov (1921), The Old House by A. Akhverdov (1927), Bride of the Fire by Dzh. Dzhabarly (staged in 1928), and Prince by G. Dzhavid (1929). Soviet Azerbaijani literature developed and grew strong in the struggle against reactionary bourgeois ideology and the theory of “pure art.” Literary criticism was represented by such figures as M. Kuliev and A. Nazim. Together with such representatives of the older generation as T. Shakhbazi, Ali Nazmi, S. Gusein, B. Talybly, and Dzh. Dzhabarly, young writers entered literature; in 1926 they formed Gyzyl Galemler, the union of Azerbaijani proletarian writers, merging two years later with the Azerbaijan Association of Proletarian Writers (AzAPP). They came out with artistic works reflecting the struggle for a new socialist life.

The Union of Soviet Writers of Azerbaijan was founded in 1932, bringing together writers who wished to participate actively in socialist construction. The 1930’s was a period of growth for all genres of Azerbaijani literature, including poetry, drama, and prose.

The characteristic features of Soviet Azerbaijani poetry—that is, its links with the people, its humanism, and its internationalism—were reflected in the verse of Samed Vurgun (Komsomol Poem, part 1, 1933; Basti, 1937; and others). During and after the Great Patriotic War such new poetic talents as N. Babaev (Khazri), B. Vakhabzade, G. Guseinzade, B. Azerogly, K. Kasumzade, A. Kiurchaili, A. Babaev, I. Safarli, and I. Gabil emerged.

Suleiman Rustam, the pioneer of Soviet Azerbaijani poetry—including From Sorrow to Joy, 1927; Two Shores, 1949; and To My Russian Brother, 1964—wrote topical verse. The poet Mikail Miushfik sang the praises of the Soviet system in the collections Winds (1930) and Verse (1934). The verse of Rasul Rza—including Iraq Notebook and Ballad of the Negro Lad Willy—is permeated with proletarian internationalism. He was awarded the State Prize of the USSR in 1951 for his narrative poem Lenin (1950). Rasul Rza’s poetry is characterized by philosophical reflection (Days of Trial and Colors, 1962).

Mamed Ragim sings the praises of the Soviet peoples’ high moral qualities in his lyric and epic works. The verses of the poets O. Saryvelli, A. Dzhamil’, Z. Khalil, M. Dil’bazi, and R. Nigiar are filled with feelings of patriotism. The spirit of creative labor, friendship among the peoples, and the struggle for peace and democracy are the basic themes of Soviet Azerbaijani poetry.

Soviet Azerbaijani dramatic writing has developed the rich traditions of both national and Russian dramaturgy. The dramas of Dzh. Dzhabarly (Bride of the Fire and Seville, published in 1929; Almas, staged in 1931; and In 1905, staged in 1931) reflect the major milestones in the history and contemporary life of the Azerbaijanis. Dzhabarly, by showing how the positive hero is born and develops, was one of the first representatives of socialist realism.

M. Ibragimov, continuing Dzhabarly’s tradition of realism, portrayed the first harbingers of communism in the consciousness of the people in such plays as Khaiat (staged in 1935), Makhabbet (staged in 1942), and Country Girl (1962).

The talented comedic author S. Rakhman has written a number of plays on domestic themes for the Azerbaijani theater, including The Wedding (staged in 1939), The Happy Ones (staged in 1941), and Lies (1966). Rakhman’s comedies are sharply satirical and aimed against relapses into philistinism, bureaucratism, and parasitism.

S. Vurgun has enriched the theatrical repertoire with such historical, heroic, and romantic plays as Vagif (1937), Khanlar (1939), and Farkhad and Shirin (1941). Mekhti Gusein was the author of such historical plays as Nizami (1940) and Dzhavanshir. S. Rustam wrote the historical play Gachakh Nabi (staged in 1940). Timely themes and lyrical qualities are found in the plays of I. Efendiev, including The Ataev Family (1955), Vernal Waters (staged in 1948), and You Are Always With Me (1965), and in E. Mamedkhanly’s comedy The Beauty From Shirvan (1957) and Morning of the East (1947). Such plays by I. Kasumov as Dawn Over the Caspian (1951) and Man Drops Anchor (1965) have also gained fame. Other produced playwrights include Dzh. Medzhnunbekov, I. Safarli, and Iu. Azimzade.

Azerbaijani prose has made significant strides. The turning points in the history of the Azerbaijanis, undertaking a revolutionary struggle for a new way of life, are reflected in such novels as Upsurges (1930) and The World Is Falling Apart (1933) by A. Abul’gasan; Misty Tabriz (1933–48) and Underground Baku (1940) by M. S. Ordubady; Manifesto of a Young Man (1940) by Mir Dzhalal; Morning (parts 1–2, 1950–53) by M. Gusein; Shamo (vols. 1–3, 1931–64) by S. Ragimov; and Sattarkhan (1953, and a separate edition, 1957) by P. Makulu. M. Gusein tells of the self-sacrificing labor of the Baku oil workers in his novels Apsheron (1947–50) and Black Cliffs (1957). The Soviet village and its hardships and successes in socialist construction are dealt with in such novels as S. Ragimov’s Sachly (1940–48), A. Veliev’s Giul’shen (1949) and In Our Village of Chi-chekli (1951), M. Ibragimov’s A Glorious Support (1957, and in Russian translation, Confluence of Waters, 1958), and I. Guseinov’s Samed Amirli (1960), I. Efendiev’s short stories; and in the novellas of B. Bairamov, I. Shykhly, and Iu. Shirvan. M. Ibragimov portrayed the revolutionary liberation struggle of Iran’s toilers in his novel The Day Will Come (1948).

The theme of the heroism of the people during the Great Patriotic War is reflected in such novels as I. Kasumov and G. Seidbeili’s On Distant Shores (1954), A. Abul’gasan’s War (books 1–2, 1947–50, and book 3, Bastions of Friendship, 1955–56), S. Veliev’s Contested City (1957–58, and as a separate book, 1962), and G. Abaszade’s General (1962). The Azerbaijanis’ recent past is dealt with in such novels as Zangezur by E. Abasov (1956) and Uprising in the Fortress (1959) and North Wind (parts 1–2, 1958–63) by G. Musaev. M. Seidzade, M. Rzakulizade, G. Musaev, T. Aliev (El’chin), Kh. Khasilov, and Kh. Alibeili write frequently for children and young people. Prose writers who have become known in recent years include Anar, Samedogly, Melikzade, Maksud and Rustam Ibragimov, and Ailisli.

Literary criticism and scholarship have developed successfully. Notable work in this field has been done by G. Arasly, M. Arif, M. Dzhafar, Dzh. Dzhafarov, F. Kasim-zade, S. Mumtaz, M. Rafili, A. Sultanly, Dzh. Khandan, M. Kulizade, A. Sharif, A. Mirakhmedov, and K. Talyb-zade. A three-volume History of Azerbaijani Literature has been published (1957–60). Monographs have been written on the classic writers of Azerbaijan, including Nizami and Fizuli. Works on the history of Azerbaijani literature have been issued, and scholarly texts of the literary monuments of the nation have been published with critical commentaries. Among those who have done a great deal to familiarize Russian and Armenian readers with the best examples of Azerbaijani literature have been I. Oratovskii, A. Plavnik, M. Davitian, and S. Grigorian.


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The development of Azerbaijan’s architecture and art has reflected its history of political and military disturbances and its location on the trade routes which from ancient times have linked East and West. Local conditions created the uniqueness of Azerbaijani art over the course of centuries and gave it its place in the artistic heritage of Southwest Asia; its shared fate with neighboring countries strengthened the mutual ties with their arts and cultures.

Azerbaijan’s artistic monuments have an ancient history. The earliest elements in the enormous “gallery” of cliff paintings (some as recent as the high Middle Ages) in Kobustan (Beiukdash, Kichikdash, etc.), with their skillfully engraved scenes of labor, daily life, and ritual ceremonies, date to the seventh and eighth millennia B.C. The structure and art of the Aeneolithic and Early Bronze ages are characterized by the megalithic and cyclopic constructions found in the foothills of the Lesser Caucasus and on the territory of the Nakhichevan ASSR; by the remnants of prehistoric dwellings (prototypes of the traditional home, the karadam); by the materials unearthed in excavations; and by implements found in graves—including animal-shaped ceramic vessels, clay and stone figurines of animals, and ornaments. The art of the last centuries B.C. and the earliest centuries A.D., primarily that of the northern regions of Azerbaijan (Caucasian Albania), is represented by metal artifacts, small statuary, and black-glazed ceramic and glass vessels decorated with designs. Surviving structures include those at the city of Kabala, the fortress of Chirakh-Kala (sixth century), and some religious structures, including a temple of the basilica type at the village of Kum and a circular temple at the village of Lekit. The Lekit temple (fifth or sixth century) is made of cobblestone, limestone, and burnt brick and, with similar monuments in Armenia and Georgia, is typical of the Transcaucasian styles of that period. The ruins of the temple complex at Ming-echaur (seventh century, adobe) are also of interest.

The Arabian conquest of the seventh century and the spread of Islam brought new kinds of structures into existence—that is, mosques, minarets, madrasahs, and mausoleums. The Islamic prohibition against depicting living things determined the development of ornamental forms of decorative art.

The weakening of the Arabian caliphate in the ninth and tenth centuries set the stage for the rise of a number of small states in whose cities (Barda, Shemakha, Bailakan, Gandzha, Nakhichevan’, and so on) local schools of art and architecture came into being. The most important schools were in Nakhichevan’ and Shirvan-Apsheron and, later, in Tabriz. The surviving structures from the Nakhichevan’ school are remarkable for the excellence of their monochromatic and subsequent polychromatic ceramic “attire.” Traditional for the Shirvan-Apsheron school was the contrast between the smoothness of the brick walls and the flowing quality of the sparsely used architectural elements. The festive quality of the architectural structure and the multiplicity of ornamental devices and techniques were typical of the best specimens of the Tabriz school.

The high level of artistry among the medieval builders and masters of the finer crafts may be seen in the perfection of composition and the subtlety of ornamentation in the spire mausoleums ordered by Iusuf, son of Kuseiir and Momine-khatum, and built in the second half of the 12th century in Nakhichevan’ by Adzhemi, son of Abubekr. Other examples of this artistry are the mausoleums at Maragha and Dzhuga; the striking and monumental Maiden’s Tower in Baku (Kyz-kalasy, 12th century); the 13th-century castles in Mardakian (built by Abd al’-Medzhid, son of Masud) and Nardaran (built by Makh-mud, son of Saad); Khanega on the Pirsagat River; the expressive reliefs at the Bailov Rocks (a sunken 13th-century fortification in the Bay of Baku); the exquisite metal artifacts from Nakhichevan’; and the vivid colorfully painted ceramic ware from Bailakan and Gandza.

In the 14th through 16th centuries the artistic traditions of Azerbaijan received a new impetus with the rise of major states and the growth of cities. The best models of brick and stone architecture of that time are characterized by the careful thought of the compositions, the tectonic quality of the architectural forms, the filigree-like scrollwork of the carvings, and the magnificent decor of the ceramic tile cover. In the Baku Palace of the Shirvanshahs (15th century) an artistically complete structural complex has been created. In Tabriz the Blue Temple, built in 1465, is famous for its remarkable tile cover. The vitality of the traditions of the local architectural schools is perceptible in the forms and decorations of the spired mausoleums at Barda, Karabagliar, and Khachin-Dorbatly; in the castle at Ra-mana; and in the rock tomb at Maraza.

A prominent place in the miniature painting, calligraphy, and artistic illumination of Islamic manuscripts belongs to the Tabriz school, whose development can be traced back to the 13th century. The works of the Tabriz miniaturists at the height of their development, in the 15th and especially 16th centuries, are characterized by the finished quality of the composition, preciosity of design, and wealth of colorful nuances. The range of themes of these miniatures consistently widened from the usual depictions of epic tales and courtly life to scenes of everyday existence. Among the greatest masters of Tabriz were Seid Akhmed, Sultan Mukhammed, Mukhammedi, and Sadigi-bek Afshar. The traditions of this school were developed by such famous masters as Bekhzad of Herat, who was put in charge of the shah’s workshop in 1522, Aga Mirek of Isfahan, and the Georgian Siiavush.

The craftsmanship of Azerbaijani decorative metalwork is illustrated by the armor made by Mukhammed Momin (16th century, Moscow Armory); achievements in rug-making are shown in the celebrated carpet of the Ardebil’ mosque and in the reproductions of Azerbaijani carpets in the paintings of H. Memling, H. Holbein, and other artists of the European Renaissance. The high artistic level of Azerbaijan’s builders and craftsmen is noted in the medieval chronicles and confirmed by the architectural merits of the many remarkable buildings that left their “signatures” in Bursa, Cairo, Baghdad, Derbent, Samarkand, Shakhrisiabz, Herat, and other cities of the East.

The struggle between Turkey and Iran for control over Azerbaijan and internecine feudal strife had a harmful effect on the development of art in the 17th and especially in the 18th century. In the 17th century, major religious centers were still constructed in Ardebil’ (16th—17th century) and in Gandzha, continuing the traditions of the local schools. The 18th-century palace of the Sheki khans has been preserved and is interesting for its architecture and decorations, but monumental construction in general underwent a decline at that time. Certain traditions are preserved in the distinctive regional architecture of the people—for example, in the cupola-houses of contemporary Kirovabad and in the homes with vestibules of Ordubad. In wealthy city dwellers’ homes in the 18th century, wall decorations consisted primarily of leaf and vine motifs, sometimes including representations of birds, animals, and people. Folk art is represented by brassware of noble form and exquisite pattern and weaponry of highly artistic finish from the village of Lagich; by varied and colorful carpets from the Kuba-Shirvan, Gandzha-Kazakh, Karabakh, and Tabriz regions; by the artistic embroidery of Sheki; and so on.

Regular urban planning developed after the incorporation of the northern parts of Azerbaijan into Russia in the 19th century; the influence of Russian culture in architecture and construction is noticeable in the new urban districts and in the new settlements that grew up. A type of urban home, the shushebend, with apertures in the facade facing the street, double distribution of rooms, and glassed-in galleries, became widespread. The traditional devices of architectural composition and national architectural forms and decorative motifs are frequently combined with the forms of Russian classicism. At the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th, Baku, which was transformed into a major industrial center, became filled with buildings based on an eclectic architecture which imitated a variety of styles.

Figure 1. Native dwellings: (1) cupola-house in Kirovabad (section), (2) house in Kuba, (3) and (4) house in Ordubad (facade and plan)

Although traditional ornamentation and attention to surfaces are found in representational wall decorations and developing portraiture of the second half of the 19th century, some realistic features are also visible—attempts to model three-dimensional shapes and to impart faithful likenesses (Mirza Kadym Erivani, Mir Mokhsun Navvab, and Usta Gambar Karabagi). Artists of a realistic and democratic tendency who appeared in the first decade of the 20th century include the graphic artist A. A. Azimzade and the painter B. Sh. Kengerli. These two laid the foundations for the art of Soviet Azerbaijan.

A radical change in artistic development resulted from the Great October Socialist Revolution, which subordinated art to the needs of the people, who had freed themselves from social and national oppression. In the 1920’s the first well-planned workers’ settlements were built—the Aznefti settlement, the Mamed’iarov settlement, and others. Clubs and palaces of culture were erected, and work began on the reconstruction of Baku. Such prominent Soviet architects as the Vesnin brothers, A. P. Ivanitskii, A. V. Shchusev, L. A. Il’in, G. M. Ter-Mikelov, and V. S. Sarkisov took part in construction and reconstruction work in Azerbaijan and in the training of national architectural cadres. Since the 1930’s most architects have been trained at the faculty of architecture and building established in 1920 at the Azerbaijan Polytechnical Institute; its graduates include the older generation’s S. A. Dadashev, M. A. Useinov, and V. M. Ivanov and the middle generation’s E. A. Kasim-zade and G. A. Medzhidov.

The various stages of Soviet architectural development and the idiosyncracies of individual architects have all made their mark on Baku and other Azerbaijani cities. Characteristic of the early 1920’s was a superficial stylization in imitation of the feudal architecture of the Muslim East—the structures in the electric railway system, for example. In the late 1920’s and early 1930’s this tendency was driven out for a while by so-called constructivism, with its rational design solutions and laconic geometrically exact spaces—in Baku, for example, the palaces of culture in the oil regions by the Vesnin brothers; the Palace of the Press, architect S. S. Pen; the Intourist Hotel, architect A. V. Shchusev; and the Institute of Physiotherapy, architect G. M. Ter-Mikelov.

The architecture of the late 1930’s and of the 1940’s was and shaped by the desire to master and creatively rework the classical and national traditions—for example, the S. M. Kirov Park, architect L. A. Il’in; the conservatory, the building of the CC CPA and the Council of Ministers of the Azerbaijan SSR, and the Nizami Museum, all built by S. A. Dadashev and M. A. Useinov in Baku; and the pavilion at the All-Union Agricultural Exposition of 1939 in Moscow architects S. A. Dadashev and M. A. Useinov.

The construction of a great many different kinds of buildings and the reconstruction of districts sharply altered the appearance of Azerbaijan’s cities. In the postwar years construction was completed on a number of planned major buildings, including the Government House, architects L. V. Rudnev and V. O. Munts; the Lenin Stadium of the Republic, architects L. I. Gonsiorovskii, O. M. Isaev, G. A. Sergeev; the Library of the Republic, architect M. A. Useinov; the M. Azizbekov Theater in Baku, architects G. M. Alizade and M. M. Madatov; and a department store in Baku, architect N. Ia. Kengerli. However, the accepted aesthetic concept of architecture led to a mechanistic copying of archaic forms and thereby caused the spread of eclecticism.

In the fine arts the years from the 1920’s through the 1950’s were the formative period for the national Soviet school of Azerbaijani art. The 1920’s and 1930’s constituted a period of development primarily for graphic artists, including A. A. Azimzade, I. G. Akhundov, and G. A. Khalykov. In the 1930’s and 1940’s the role of sculptors increased—for example, P. V. Sabsai, creator of a monument to S. M. Kirov in Baku; F. G. Abdurakhmanov, designer of monuments to Nizami in Kirovabad and Baku; and D. M. Kariagdy. The development of such painters as S. A. Salamzade, S. B. Bakhlulzade, B. A. Mirzazade, and T. A. Tagiev was especially notable. R. M. Mustafaev, S. G. Sharifzade, N. M. Fatullaev, I. A. Seidova, and K. M. Kiazimzade were successful in the theatrical and decorative arts, as was L. G. Kerimov in applied ornamental art. However, the tendency toward mere outward show hindered the development of art in Azerbaijan in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s.

Toward the end of the 1950’s a new stage was marked in the development of Soviet architecture in Azerbaijan. Increased attention to architecture’s social role, an urban-planning approach to architectural problems, and audacious creative experimentation (suggested by the wider possibilities of construction technology) were characteristic of this change. Housing construction took on unprecedented scope, based on the massive use of prefabricated designs and the introduction of industrial methods. The urban-planning approach was represented both in the integrated development of new cities (Sumgait, Mingechaur, Dashke-san, and Ali-Bairamly) and in the new methods in reconstructing cities that had taken shape historically (Baku, Kirovabad, and Stepanakert). The use of open planning, the creation of microdistricts (for example, Salakhany), and the formation of civic centers in Baku (Lenin Square, the reconstructed Seaside Boulevard, Akademgorodok Square, Plaza of the Twenty-six Baku Commissars, and Northern Soviet Square), Kirovabad, Nakhichevan’, and Stepanakert all show this influence. General reconstruction and development plans were worked out for most of Azerbaijan’s cities by such architects as G. A. Aleskerov and S. M. Vai-dov.

The aesthetic qualities of contemporary Soviet architecture appear in the architecture of the capital buildings in Baku—for example, the seat of the Presidium of the Academy of Sciences of the Azerbaijan SSR, architect M. A. Useinov; the airport building, architect G. A. Me-dzhidov; the circus, architects E. A. Ismailov and F. R. Leont’ev; the Baku subway stations, architects M. A. Useinov, K. I. Senchikhin, and others; the New Intourist Hotel, architect M. A. Useinov; and a high-rise hotel, architect G. A. Medzhidov and others. These qualities are also expressed in housing construction and in park and garden structures.

The late 1950’s were also an important watershed for the further development of the graphic arts, showing a broader and deeper assimilation of national artistic traditions, which are alien to exotic, artificial genre painting. In addition to the previously mentioned artists, O. G. El’darov and T. G. Mamedov, who built the monuments to V. I. Lenin in Sumgait and to Fizuli in Baku, work in monumental sculpture, and M. Iu. Rakhmanzade, A. A. Rzakuliev, and O. S. Sadykhzade are making contributions in graphic arts. The Azerbaijani school of painting is notable for its vivid originality. It is formed not only by the named artists of the older generation but above all by painters who have entered the field in the 1950’s and 1960’s, including M. G. Abdullaev, N. G. Abdurakhmanov, A. A. Dzhafarov, N. S. Kasumov, T. F. Narimanbekov, T. T. Salakhov, and V. A. Samedova. Their works, which are mainly devoted to contemporary life, are characterized by optimistic artistic arrangements, a full, rich palette, ennobling and romantic treatment of figures, and a multiplicity of techniques and devices for artistic expression. Many Azerbaijani artists have participated in exhibits abroad, in European countries, Africa (Egypt), and Latin America. Some have had one-man shows abroad (M. G. Abdullaev, T. F. Narimanbekov, and S. B. Bakhlulzade).

Art instruction is carried out by the faculty of architecture and construction at the Azerbaijan Polytechnic Institute, the A. Azimzade Art School of Azerbaijan, and the faculty of decorative and applied arts at the M. A. Aliev Institute of the Arts. The Union of Architects of the Azerbaijan SSR was organized in 1936, the Union of Artists of the Azerbaijan SSR in 1940.


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Some information about the early stages of musical development in what is now Azerbaijan is provided by engravings on rock surfaces dating back to the fifth, fourth, and third millennia B.C. A unique Stone Age percussion instrument, the gaval-dash (“stone tambourine”), has been preserved in Kobustan. The musical instruments found at excavations in the region of Mingechaur, as well as legends such as the epic Kitabi Dede Korkud, contain evidence about the musical culture of the past. For many centuries Azerbaijani music remained within the bounds of folk art. Classic melodic patterns were created, and the music was notable for its subtle elaboration of modal intonational structure and rhythms. The combined vocal and instrumental forms contain essential elements of polyphony. The body of folk songs is especially voluminous, reflcting the various aspects of national life in a multitude of ways. Work songs are widely represented (“The Lights of Labor” and “The Song of the Mower”) as well as historical songs (“Ker-ogly the Footsoldier”), lyrical songs (“You Are Like My Beloved,” “At the Threshold of the Fortress,” and “Oh, Falcon”), ceremonial songs, wedding songs, and humorous songs (“Go, Go”). Songs are performed solo—or, rarely, in chorus, and then mainly in unison.

Dance music is a separate area of Azerbaijani folk music. Its characteristic tempi of ¾ and 6/8 are marked by a variety and abruptness in rhythmic pattern (frequent punctuation and syncopation). Azerbaijani musical instruments include the tar, saz, kanon, and ud, plucked string instruments; the kemancha, a bowed string instrument; the tutek, balaman (or balaban), and zuma, wind instruments; and the nagara, goshanagara, and def (tambourine), percussion instruments.

The art of the ashugs, a professional folk culture, is improvisational and governed by definite stylistic criteria—including frequent exact or varied repetitions of certain passages (sometimes of one note) and a small melodic range. There are several dozen classic ashug melody lines, each of which can be sung to various texts: the gakhramanas with heroic songs, the gezelleme with lyrical panegyrics, and so forth. The ashugs perform dastanas (songs based on legends), including heroic ones like Ker-ogly and lyric ones like and Kerem or Ashug Garib; and dialogues in song, called deishme—musical and poetic competitions between two ashugs, each accompanying himself on the saz. The outstanding ashugs of the past include Gurbani, Abbas Tufar-ganly, and Alesker. Contemporary ashugs include Asad Rzaev, Mirza Bairamov, Shamshir Godzhaev, and Islam Iusifov.

Traditional Azerbaijani music is based on a well-developed modal system. The especially prevalent modes are rast, shur, and segiakh. The shur is the tonal base for the music of the ashugs. Analysis of these modes was undertaken as early as the Middle Ages by the theoreticians Safi-ad-din Abd-al’-Mumin al’-Urmavi and Abdul Kadir Maragi, who wrote treatises on modes, musical forms, and the ties between music and the poetic text. The names of the seven basic modes became the names of the mugams.

The origin of the mugams, vocal and instrumental cyclical songs, is connected with the development of urban culture. Mugams are characterized by the juxtaposition of improvisational and recitative sections with definite, complete song and dance melodies; the song is the tesnif, and the instrumental episode is called the reng. Every song is based on one of the mugam modes—rast, shur, segiakh, shushter, chargiakh, baiaty-shiraz, and khumaiun—and bears the corresponding name. Performers of mugams are professional musicians constituting a vocal and instrumental ensemble made up of the singer (khanende), the tar player (the sazandari), the kemancha player, and the tambourine player. Verse of the classical poets usually serves as text for the mugams.

Polyphonic elements can be traced in the mugams. The contrasting elements of the melodic lines come from the zerbi-mugams, in which the improvisational vocal part is heard against a background of rhythmic ostinato motifs by the instrumental accompaniment. Famous mugam performers of the older generation (19th-20th century) include the singers G. Gusi, Kechachi Mamed, I. Abdullaev, D. Kariagdy, M. Beibutov, M. D. Amirov, S. Shushinskii, and Z. Adige-zalov and the tar players Sadykh Asad ogly, or Sadykhdzhan (the reconstructor of the tar and founder of the modern school of tar playing), K. Primov, M. Mansurov, and A. Bakikhanov. Famous among the newer generations are the singers Kh. Shushinskii, S. Kadymova, Sh. Alekperova, and A. Aliev and the tar players B. Mansurov, E. Dadashev, and G. Mamedov. Most of the mugam performers are from Karabakh. Research into the mugams has been done by Navvab Mir Mokhsin Shushinskii. U. Gadzhibekov devised a theory of Azerbaijani modes in his Foundations of Azerbaijani Folk Music, published in 1945.

At the beginning of the 20th century U. Gadzhibekov laid the foundation of contemporary musical culture in Azerbaijan. His first opera, Leili and Mejnum, based on the narrative poem of the same name by Fizuli (staged in 1908) and with music drawn from folk tunes, marked the beginning of the genre of mugam opera. Other operas written in this genre include Asli and Kerem by U. Gadzhibekov (1912), Shah Ismail by M. Magomaev (staged in 1909), and The Ashug Garib by Z. Gadzhibekov (staged in 1916). U. Gadzhibekov also composed three musical comedies, the most popular of which is Arshin mal alan (staged in 1913). Among the first representatives of the national musical theater were the director M. Magomaev and the operatic and dramatic artists G. Sarabskii, M. Teregulov, M. Bagirov, G. Ga-dzhibababekov, M. Aliev, and A. Agdamskii.

After the establishment of Soviet power in Azerbaijan in 1920, unparalleled perspectives opened for the development of music culture. A conservatory was established in the republic in 1921, and two years later music schools, a music technicum, and a music publishing house were founded. In 1926, U. Gadzhibekov organized the first polyphonic choir in Azerbaijan and, in 1931, the first Azerbaijani folk orchestra using notation. A ten-year music school was established, as were philharmonic orchestras in Baku and Kirovabad, the Azerbaijani State Chorus, and other ensembles. In 1938 a symphony orchestra was established. In the 1920’s the genre of popular songs was developed—for example, by U. Gadzhibekov and M. Magomaev—and the first models of national romances came into being, including those by A. Zei-nally. A major event in the musical life of the republic was the production in Baku of the opera Shakhsenem by R. M. Glière (1927, and a second version in 1934).

Azerbaijani music enjoyed vigorous growth in the period 1934–40. Notable were M. Magomaev’s opera Sergis (staged in 1935); Ker-ogly, U. Gadzhibekov’s outstanding model of classical national music (staged in 1937); the first Azerbaijani ballet, The Maiden’s Tower by A. Badalbeili (staged in 1940); and the musical comedy The Five-Ruble Bride by S. Rus-tamov (staged in 1938). The groundwork for the modern national school of vocal art was laid by the singers Sh. Mamedov and Biul’-Biul’.

The musical works produced during the Great Patriotic War included the heroic patriotic opera Veten (Homeland) by K. Karaev and Dzh. Gadzhiev (staged in 1945). In the musical theater, Niiazi’s opera Khosrov and Shirin, based on the plot of the narrative poem by Nizami, was staged in 1942. The development of symphonic music was especially noteworthy. The composers of the first Azerbaijani symphonies were K. Karaev, Dzh. Gadzhiev, and S. Gadzhibekov. They were first performed in 1944 at concerts during the Ten-Day Festival in Tbilisi of the music of the Transcaucasian republics. A central place in the music of those years was held by the patriotic popular song. A new genre, the romancegazel—for instance, “Without You” and “Beloved” by U. Gadzhibekov, with words taken from Nizami—also arose.

Azerbaijani music has undergone intensive development in the postwar years. Symphonic music is represented in a vivid and varied way in works by K. Karaev (the tone poem Leili and Medzhnun, 1947), F. Amirov (the symphony for strings Nizami, 1947, and the symphonic mugams entitled Shur and Kiurd Ovshary, 1948), Dzh. Gadzhiev (the symphonic poem For Peace, 1951, and the Fourth Symphony: In Memory of Lenin, 1956), S. Gadzhibekov (the symphonic sketch Caravan, 1945, and an overture, 1956), Niiazi (the symphonic mugam Rast, 1949), Dzh. Dzhangirov (the vocal symphonic poem On the Other Side of the Araks, 1949, and a concerto for violin and orchestra, 1951), and by R. Gadzhiev (a concerto for violin and orchestra, 1952).

The development of Azerbaijani musical theater advanced with the production of the opera Seville by F. Amirov (1953) and the ballet Giul’shen by S. Gadzhibekov (1950). An important event was the staging of the ballet The Seven Beauties by K. Karaev (1952), whichin brought out the humanistic trend of Nizami’s images. The opera Nizami was written by A. Badalbeili and staged in 1948. Contemporary themes entered firmly into the world of the operetta—for example, Gyzyl giul’ by S. Gadzhibekov (staged in 1940), Durna by S. Rustamov (staged in 1947), Geziun aidyn (Good News) by F. Amirov (staged in 1946), and Ulduz by S. Aleskerov (staged in 1948). Composers took an increasing interest in chamber music (K. Karaev, F. Amirov, and Dzh. Gadzhiev). The songs of S. Rustamov, T. Kuliev, A. Rzaeva, Dzh. Dzhangirov, R. Gadzhiev, and others became popular during this period.

Since the late 1950’s, Azerbaijani music has been moving into the world musical arena. The school of composers that has formed in Azerbaijan is headed by K. Karaev; a complex blend of national features with the stylistic devices of contemporary musical art, arising first in his work, now shapes Azerbaijani music as a whole. A strong feeling of contemporaneity pervades K. Karaev’s ballet By the Path of Thunder, produced in 1958 by the Kirov Leningrad Theater of Opera and Ballet. This work is notable for its continuity of development, combining the concreteness of the dance with the expansiveness of the symphony. A. Melikov’s ballet Legend of Love (staged in 1961 at the same theater) has also won popularity.

Other writers for the musical theater include Dzh. Dzhangirov (the opera Azad, staged in 1957), A. Abbasov (the ballet Chernushka, staged in 1965, and the operetta You Are Not to Be Mine, staged in 1963), R. Gadzhiev (the operettas Romeo Is My Neighbor, staged in 1961, and Kuba, My Love, staged in 1963), S. Aleskerov (the musical comedy The Beggar Son of a Millionaire, staged in 1966, and the opera Bagadur and Sona, staged in 1961), T. Kuliev (the musical comedies Gold Seekers, staged in 1961, and One Word from You, staged in 1967), G. Khan-mamedov (the musical comedy One Minute, staged in 1961), and Z. Bagirov (the musical comedy Her Mother-in-law, staged in 1964).

Azerbaijani symphonic music in the late 1950’s and 1960’s is notable for its innovative tendencies in musical form and language. Among the finest achievements of Soviet music are the symphonic sketches Don Quixote (1960), the Third Symphony (1965), and the Concerto for Violin and Orchestra (1967) by K. Karaev; the Concerto on Arabic Themes by F. Amirov and E. Nazirova (1957); Azerbaijani Capriccio by F. Amirov (1962); and the Concerto for Symphony Orchestra by S. Gadzhibekov (1964). Choral works by Dzh. Dzhangirov (the cantata Fizuli, 1959, and the oratorio Sabir, 1962) and chamber music by K. Karaev, F. Amirov, Dzh. Gadzhiev, and others also appeared during this period. Works for children were composed by M. Akhmedov, Z. Bagirov, and E. Nazirova.

In the 1950’s and 1960’s talented compositions were produced by representatives of the new generation trained by the Azerbaijan Conservatory. Musical works were written for the stage by R. Mustafaev (the opera Vagif, staged in 1960) and by I. Mamedov (the opera The Fox and the Wolfhound, staged in 1963). Among those active in symphonic and chamber music genres are A. Rzaev, G. Rzaev, N. Aliverdibekov, V. Adigezalov, Kh. Mirzazade, M. Mirzoev, N. Mamedov, T. Bakikhanov, O. Zul’fugarov, T. Gadzhiev, E. Makhmudov, A.Alizade, and F. Karaev.

The performing arts of Azerbaijan have won recognition. Outstanding service has been rendered by Niiazi, the conductor of the Azerbaijan Symphony Orchestra. Among the conductors of the older generation are People’s Artist of the Azerbaijan SSR A. Badalbeili, A. Gasanov, Ch. Gadzhibekov, and K. Abdullaev. Prominent operatic singers of the Azerbaijani stage include A. Rzaeva, F. Mukhtarova, V. Nikol’skii, A. Sadykhov, A. Buniiatzade, F. Akh-medova, R. Atakishiev, L. Imanov, M. Magomaev, and People’s Artist of the USSR R. Beibutov. Musicologists include E. Abasova, I. Abezgauz, D. Danilov, M. S. Is-mailov, L. Karagicheva, K. Kasimov, and A. El’darova.

The U. Gadzhibekov Conservatory, the M. F. Akhundov Opera and Ballet Theater of Azerbaijan, the Sh. Kurbanov Theater of Musical Comedy, and the Theater of Song (artistic director, People’s Artist of the USSR R. M. Beibutov) are all in Baku. The M. Magomaev Philharmonic Society includes the U. Gadzhibekov Symphonic Orchestra, the Azerbaijan Song and Dance Ensemble, a choir, a string quartet, and the State Estrada Orchestra (variety stage orchestra). The republic’s radio has a folk orchestra, a chamber orchestra, a chorus, and the Gaia Vocal Quartet. Azerbaijan has six institutes of music and 73 music schools.

In 1945 the U. Gadzhibekov Scientific Research Institute of Azerbaijani Art, dealing with questions of music and the theater, was founded under the Academy of Sciences of the Azerbaijan SSR. In 1934 the Union of Composers of Azerbaijan was established.


Mamedova, Sh. Puti razvitiia azerbaidzhanskogo muzykal’nogo teatra. Moscow, 1931.
Vinogradov, V. Uzeir Gadzhibekov i azerbaidzhanskaia muzyka. Moscow, 1938.
Gadzhibekov, U. Osnovy azerbaidzhanskoi narodnoi muzyki. Baku, 1945.
Kasimov, K. “Ocherkiiz istorii muzykal’noi kul’tury Azerbaidzhana XII veka.” In Iskusstvo Azerbaidzhana, vol. 2. Baku, 1949.
Zhitomirskii, D., and Z. Bagirov. “Muzyka Sovetskogo Azerbaidzhana.” In the collection Sovetskaia muzyka. Moscow, 1954.
Karagicheva, L. Azerbaidzhanskaia SSR, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1957. (From the series Muzykal’naia kul’tura soiuznykh respublik.)
Azerbaidzhanskaia muzyka (a collection of articles). Moscow, 1961.
Kasimov, K. “Muzykal’naia kul’tura Azerbaidzhana 16–17 vv.” In Iskusstvo Azerbaidzhana, vol. 8. Baku, 1962.
El’darova, E. “Iskusstvo ashugov Azerbaidzhana.” In iskusstvo Azerbaidzhana, vol. 8. Baku, 1962.
Letopis’ muzykal’noi zhizni Sovetskogo Azerbaidzhana (1920–1925). Baku, 1965.
Abasova, E., and K. Kasimov. “Muzykal’noe iskusstvo Azerbaidzhana.” In Istoriia muzyki narodov SSSR, vol. 1, part 2. Moscow, 1966.


The rise and development of the art of folk dancing in Azerbaijan is rooted in the ancient past. The first dances were ritual and hunting dances. Rock paintings depicting a hunting scene and silhouettes of a group of dancing people, reminiscent of the ancient round dance ially (fifth-third millennia B.C., Kobustan), have been preserved. Mass ceremonial dances, such as the godu-godu, kosa-kosa, and khydyr il’ias, performed by the people up until recent times, also are very ancient. In the early Middle Ages various types of folk dances crystallized out of these ceremonial ones. Dance ensembles at the courts of princes and Azerbaijani rulers were famous for the dancers’ mastery.

The thematic content of Azerbaijani folk dances is varied. They include dances based on work motifs (the chobany, or herders’ dances); ceremonial dances (ritual, seasonal, and wedding dances); dances of everyday life (the mirzai and the turadzhi); heroic and military dances (the dzhengi, or combat dance); sport dances (the zorkhana); and round dances and dances based on games (the ially and khalai). The most popular dances are the nomad tarakiama; the gytgylyda, a women’s round dance; the innabi, performed at weddings and girls’ parties by young women and maidens; and the dzheiran-balla and ially.

As a rule, the Azerbaijani folk dance has three parts: the first part is driving, with circular motion; the second part is lyrical, and the dancers seem to freeze in one place (the siuzma), holding their bodies very severely and proudly; the third part is again circular in motion, driving, triumphal, and full of emotional expression. Women’s and men’s dances differ sharply. The development of the women’s dances was determined by the costume; the long skirt required fluid leg motion, and the dancer’s attention is concentrated on the developed technique of the arms and upper body—the shoulders, head, and face. The men’s dances concentrate on leg technique. The dancer easily rises on his toes (for example, in kazakhi) and plunges down onto his knees, and so forth. The tempo of Azerbaijani dances is ¾ or 6/8. In the women’s dances a three-beat measure is most typical; for men’s dances, a two-beat measure. The dances are usually performed to the accompaniment of folk instruments—for example, by a zurna trio consisting of two zumas and one nagara, or by a sazandari trio, with one tar, one kemancha, and one tambourine.

After the establishment of Soviet power in the republic in 1920, the folk dance was enriched by new material reflecting the spiritual world, ideology, and labor activity of the new man—for example, the dance of the cotton growers, the harvest dance, the dance of the fishermen, and the dance of the cosmos. Even as the ancient women’s dances, such as the mirzai and uzundara, are being preserved, new ones are being created. Thus, young women’s dances set to the music of G. Guseinli’s song “Basti” and S. Rustamov’s song “Suraiia” have been created, and young people’s dances, with young men and women dancing together, have gained popularity.

What would become the first professional dance group in Azerbaijan was formed in 1938, originally on a nonprofessional basis. This ensemble remains the republic’s leading professional dance group. With a varied repertoire consisting of both ancient and modern folk dances, it helps promote Azerbaijani dance in the republic, the USSR, and the world at large. Among its leading performers are the People’s Artists of the Azerbaijan SSR A. Dil’bazi, A. Abdullaev, and B. Mamedov and the Honored Artist of the Azerbaijan SSR R. Dzhalilova, among others.

In 1959 the Chinar (Plane Tree) Young Women’s Amateur Dance Ensemble was formed under the direction of A. Dil’bazi. This group soon became a professional folk ensemble.


The beginning of contemporary professional ballet is connected with the rise of the national opera and operetta. In 1908 dances were staged in Baku as parts of national operas and musical comedies. Excerpts from such classical ballets as Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake and Adam’s Giselle were also presented. In the 1924–25 season the Theater of Opera and Ballet (now the M. F. Akhundov Opera and Ballet Theater of Azerbaijan) was founded. In the 1920’s and 1930’s the theater’s repertoire included ballets by P. I. Tchaikovsky, A. K. Glazunov, L. Minkus, B. V. Asaf’ev, and R. M. Glière. In 1940 the first national ballet, The Maiden’s Tower, by A. Badalbeili was staged. Ballets staged subsequently included Guil’shen by S. Gadzhibekov (1950), Seven Beauties (1952) and By the Path of Thunder (1960) by K. Karaev, Legend of Love by A. Melikov (1962), SwanLake by Tchaikovsky (1963), and Spartacus by Khachaturian (1967). The theater’s ballet troupe is headed by People’s Artist of the USSR G. Almaszade. Among the ballet’s leading artists are People’s Artist of the USSR L. Vekilova, Honored Artists of the Azerbaijan SSR M. Mamedov, R. Akhundova, R. Izmailova, Ch. Babaeva, and T. Shiralieva.

The State Choreographic School has been functioning since 1933.


Azerbaidzhanskie narodnye tantsy. Baku, 1959.


The sources of the theatrical art of the Azerbaijani people lie in ancient folk festivals and dances. Many aspects of the folk culture associated with labor contained theatrical elements. They existed as well in the calendar festivals—such as Novruz, the coming of spring, and Kevsedzh, the preparation for winter—and in such ceremonies as Godu-godu, the invocation of the sun during inclement weather and of the rain during times of drought.

The initial forms of theatrical presentations were connected with the syncretic art of the bards (ashugs). The men’s group dance (ially), the acts of tightrope walkers and magicians (kiandirbazy), and the performances of the dervishes are also related to that art. Performances of Azerbaijani folk theatre—oiun and tamasha—were widespread from the earliest times. The best known of these include Kechal-pekhlevan (The Bald Hero), Kaftarkos (Hyena), Maral oiunu (The Deer Game), Khan-khan (The Sovereign Judge), Tapdyg-choban (Tapdyg the Shepherd), Tenbel’ gardash (Brother Lazybones), and Kosa-kosa, a play with masks. The most ancient manifestation Of theatrical art in Azerbaijan was the puppet show called Kilim-arasy (From Behind the Carpet), which made fun of the seamier sides of life and unmasked social inequity and injustice. The Azerbaijani religious mystery theater arose in the Middle Ages and subsequently spread quite widely. Its presentations, such as Shabikh, reflected the ideology of feudal society.

The influence of the progressive culture and art of the Russian people, which became stronger in the 19th century with the unification of northern Azerbaijan with Russia, helped to bring into being a professional Azerbaijani theatre. A basis for the development of the national theatre was provided by the dramatic writings of the founder of Azerbaijani realistic literature, the outstanding writer and dramatist M. F. Akhundov. Several of his comedies were staged in Russian even during his lifetime (at St. Petersburg in 1851 and at Tiflis in 1852). The first performances of Akhundov’s comedies Gadzhi Kara (Adventures of a Miser) and Vizier of the Lenkoran’ Khanate (in Azerbaijani) were presented in 1873 in Baku. Participating in these performances was the prominent public figure G. Zardabi and his pupils, including the future dramatists N. F. Vezirov and A. Adigezalov. Thus, 1873 is considered the date of the first appearance of professional theater in Azerbaijan.

Toward the end of the 19th century, productions were being staged in Azerbaijani in many cities, including Gandzha, Shusha, Shemakha, and Nakichevan’. Akhundov’s successors—such outstanding Azerbaijani educators and dramatists as N. F. Vezirov, G. Vezirov, N.N. Narimanov, A. B. Akhverdov, S. S. Akhundov, Dzh. Mamedkulizade, and U. Gadzhibekov—were also active organizers of theatrical productions. The repertoire of the prerevolutionary Azerbaijani theater included their plays as well as works by such Russian and Western European dramatists as N. V. Gogol, L. N. Tolstoy, Shakespeare, Molière, and F. Schiller. Azerbaijani dramatic writing in the 19th century was permeated with the ideas of enlightenment and democracy and exposed religious fanaticism and the customs of a patriarchal and feudal society. Examples of such works are Sorrows of Fakhreddin by N. F. Vezirov and Ravaged Nest, You Unfortunate Youngster, and The Enchanted Peri, all by Akhverdov.

The Russian revolution of 1905–07 had an enormous effect on the development of Azerbaijan’s theater. New theatrical groups arose, among them the Fraternal Association of Muslim Dramatic Artists, the Gamiiet (Cooperation) troupe, and the Nidzhat (Salvation) and Safa (Purity) educational societies, both with theatrical sections. The circle of dramatists and actors grew larger, and the importance of theater in the cultural life of Azerbaijan increased. A significant contribution to the development of the theater was made by such outstanding actors as G. Arablinskii and Dzh. Zeinalov.

After the establishment of Soviet power in Azerbaijan (1920), conditions were created for a genuine theatrical flowering. The government of the Azerbaijan SSR nationalized the theaters and brought the disparate theatrical troupes together into a single group. In 1920 the United State Theater, now the M. Azizbekov Theater of Azerbaijan, was established, and its activities reflected the development of the national theater in Soviet Azerbaijan. The work of Gusein Dzhavid and Dzh. Dzhabarly had an important effect on the development of Soviet Azerbaijani dramatic writing and theater. Drawing upon the best national traditions, the theaters systematically turned to productions of world classics and developed the significant themes of contemporary life in collaboration with Azerbaijani dramatists. The staging of Dzh. Dzhabarly’s plays Bride of the Fire, Seville, Almas, In the Year 1905, and lashar, which reflected the enthusiasm of revolutionary struggle and the triumph of the socialist revolution, marked an important stage in the theater’s creative work. In 1930 the theater took part in the Ail-Union Olympiad of National Theaters in Moscow, where the dramatic writing of Dzh. Dzhabarly and the masterful skill of such actors as A. M. Sharifzade, U. Radzhab, M. A. Aliev, and S. Rukhulla received great recognition.

In the 1930’s and 1940’s the theater staged productions of varied genres and styles, such as The Prince and Siiavush by Gusein Dzhavid; Khaiat by M. Ibragimov; Vagif Khanlar, and Farkhad and Shirin by S. Vurgun; and Gachakh Nabi by S. Rustam; also, Ostrovsky’s Storm, Korneichuk’s Death of a Squadron and Platon Krechet, and Shakespeare’s Othello and Macbeth. During the Great Patriotic War the heroic struggle of the Soviet people and their patriotism were reflected in such productions as Vefa by Rasul Rza, Revenge by Z. Khalil, and Lion’s Lair by M. G. Takhmasib. The productions of subsequent years were permeated with optimism—for example, Dawn of the East by E. Mame-dkhanly, Luminous Way by I. Efendiev, and Aidynlyg by S. Rakhman.

In the 1950’s and 1960’s the theater tried to stage productions that would reflect the exploits in labor and the everyday lives of Soviet people as well as the problems of morality and ethics in the communist education of the younger generation. These were reflected in such works as Bay of Il’ich by D. Medzhnunbekov, Eye Doctor by I. Safarli, On Distant Shores by G. Seidbeili and I. Kasumov, Flame by M. Gusein, The Bumpkin by M. Ibragimov, You Are Always With Me by I. Efendiev, and Without You by Sh. Kurbanov. The theater has regularly turned to Russian and Western European classics such as L. N. Tolstoy’s Living Corpse and Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Antony and Cleopatra.

Other theaters in the republic include the S. Vurgun Russian Dramatic Theater, founded in 1923 in Baku; the M. Gorky Young Audiences’ Theater, with both Azerbaijani and Russian-language troupes in Baku; the Puppet Theater (Baku); the Dzh. Dzhabarly Theater of Azerbaijani Drama (Kirovabad); the Dzh. Mamedkulizade Theater of Music and Drama (Nakhichevan’); the M. Gorky Armenian Theater (Stepanakert); and theaters in the cities of Agdam, Mingechaur, and Sumgait.

Significant contributions to the development of the national theatrical arts have been made by the People’s Artists of the USSR M. Aliev, M. Davudova, S. Rukhulla, A. Iskenderov, A. Alekperov, and O. Kurbanova; by the People’s Artists of the Azerbaijan SSR I. G. Idaiatzade, D. Kiazim Ziia, R. Takhmasib, S. Gadzhieva, F. K. Kadri, M. Mardanov, M. S. Sanani, and B. G. Shekinskaia; and by A. M. Sharif-zade, U. Radzhab, and many others.

The training of professionals for the theater has been centered in the Baku Theatrical Technicum (1923) and in the M. Aliev State Institute of Arts of Azerbaijan (1945). In 1944 the Azerbaijan Theatrical Society was founded in Baku.


Jäfärov, J. Azärbayjan dram, teatri (1873–1941). Baku, 1959.


The roots of Azerbaijani circus art are the tightrope walkers at festivals and the comic heroes of the traditional kosa-kosa, who appear on stilts. An Azerbaijani circus troupe was formed in 1945 and joined by artists from the Azerbaijani estrada (the variety stage) with circus-type acts, and by participants in the amateur performing arts. General programs have been created, as well as individual scenes with plots and separate acts based on national subjects. Prominent Azerbaijani composers, poets, choreographers, and artists participate in the group’s work with the regulars. Since 1946 the Azerbaijani circus has toured the Soviet Union regularly. It presented a show called We Are From Baku in 1959 at the ten-day exhibition of Azerbaijani art and literature in Moscow. The pantomime act Dawn Over the Cliff and other numbers enjoyed great success. The group toured countries of Western Europe, Asia, Africa, and America with the same show. In 1967 a new circus building, one of the largest in Europe, was erected in Baku.

The first art film of the Azerbaijani cinema, In the Kingdom of Oil and Millions, based on a story by I. Musabekov, directed by B. N. Svetlov, and featuring the outstanding actor G. Arablinskii, was produced in 1916. After the establishment of Soviet power in Azerbaijan (1920), a network of movie houses was nationalized. In 1923 the Azerbaijani Photo and Motion Picture Administration (AFKU) was established; the first Soviet Azerbaijani film, The Legend of the Maiden’s Tower, directed by V. V. Balliuzek, appeared the following year. Azerbaijani studios produced films by masters of the Soviet cinema from other republics, such as A. I. Bek-Nazarov, N. M. Shengelaia, and B. V. Barnet. The films of the 1920’s developed the themes, so urgent for the young republics of the Soviet East, of international unity and friendship among the workers (The House on the Volcano, 1929, jointly produced with the Armenkino Motion Picture Studio, director A. I. Bek-Nazarov) and the emancipation of women and their inclusion in social life (Seville, 1929, director A. I. Bek-Nazarov).

In the 1920’s and 1930’s the first collective of Azerbaijani cinema directors was formed, including Dzh. Dzhabarly, A. M. Sharifzade, A. Kuliev, M. Iu. Mikailov, and S. Mardanov. They produced a number of important works, such as In the Name of God (1925) and Gadzhi Kara (1929), both directed by A. M. Sharifzade, and Liatif( 1930), directed by M. Iu. Mikailov. In 1933 the director N. M. Shengelaia produced one of his best works, The Twenty-six Commissars, dedicated to the memory of the heroic leaders of the Baku proletariat.

In the second half of the 1930’s and the early 1940’s the Azerbaijani cinema intensively developed contemporary themes—the building of socialist society and the new relations among people. Films that resurrected the glories of the revolutionary past were also produced, such as People of Baku (1938, director V. A. Turin) and Kendliliar (1940, director S. Mardanov).

During the Great Patriotic War the director A. Kuliev produced two short films about heroic Azerbaijanis, Son of the Homeland (1941) and Bakhtiar (1942). A. I. Bek-Nazarov directed Sabukhi (1942), about the outstanding 19th-century Azerbaijani educator M. F. Akhundov. In 1945, U. Gadzhibekov’s musical comedy Arshin mal alan (directors R. Takhmasib and N. M. Leshchenko) was filmed. In subsequent years Azerbaijani cinema produced only documentary films.

The Azerbaijani cinema has made important advances since the second half of the 1950’s. The generation of scenarists, directors, cameramen, and technicians who entered the field in the 1950’s and 1960’s are seeking new paths for the national cinematic art. The production of films treating themes of contemporary life has risen sharply. Various aspects of contemporary life are dealt with in The Meeting (1956, director T. M. Tagizade); Her Great Heart (1959, director A. M. Ibragimov); Can He Be Forgiven? (1960, director R. Takhmasib); Telephone Operator (1962) and Why Are You Silent? (1967, both directed by G. Seidbeili); Earth, Water, Fire, and Air (1968, director Sh. Makhmud-bekov); and Man Drops Anchor (1968, director A. Babaev). The film On Distant Shores (1959, director T. M. Tagizade), which tells about Hero of the Soviet Union Mekhti Gusein-zade, was a great success. In 1966, The Twenty-six Baku Commissars, directed by A. M. Ibragimov, was produced jointly with the Mosfilm Motion Picture Studio. An important place in the Azerbaijani cinema is held by such musical comedies as If Not This One, Then That One (1958, director G. A. Seidzade), Romeo Is My Neighbor (1964, director Sh. Makhmudbekov), and Arshin mal alan (1966, director T. M. Tagizade).

Documentary cinematography has developed intensively. Among Azerbaijan’s best documentary and travel films are Land of Eternal Fires (1945), On the Other Side of the Araks (1946), Soviet Azerbaijan (1950), The Story of the Caspian Oil Workers (1954), In Kirov Gulf (1955), Baku and Its People (1959), Conquerors of the Sea (1959), Samed Vurgun (1966), Kobustan (1967), Azerbaijan (1967), and And That Is Where Truth Comes In (1968). Films dealing with Lenin have been produced, such as The Baku Branch of the Central Museum of Lenin (1968), Meetings with Lenin, and The Living Heart of Il’ich (both in 1969). Regular motion picture periodical magazines are published.

Among the creative workers who have brought success to the Azerbaijani cinema in the 1960’s are the directors G. Seidbeili, T. M. Tagizade, A. M. Ibragimov, M. G. Dadashev, and A. S. Atakshiev and the cameramen and technicians A. A. Narimanbekov, Kh. Iu. Babaev, R. M. Odzhagov, E. Kuliev, O. Mirkasimov, and R. Shakhmaliev.

In 1965 the Union of Cinematographers of the Azerbaijan SSR was founded. In 1969 there were 1,813 motion picture facilities in Azerbaijan.


Lebedev, N. A. “Azerbaidzhanskaia kinematografiia.” In Ocherki istorii kino SSSR: Nemoe kino. Moscow, 1965.
Gulubäyov, E. Sovet Azärbayjanïn kinosu. Baku, 1958.


Amateur art activity began in Azerbaijan in the 1920’s and became quite widespread in the 1930’s. In 1968 the Azerbaijan republic had 4,918 amateur arts collectives, including 823 choral, 770 orchestral, 1,042 theatrical, and 563 choreographic groups, together with 97 groups involved in various types of graphic arts.

There are 39 folk theaters in the republic, including the Young People’s Variety Theater of the Il’ich Palace of Culture, the Theater of the Twenty-six Baku Commissars Palace of Culture (both in Baku), the theaters of the Agdam, Zaka-taly, and Kutkashen raions, and others. The total number of participants in amateur arts is about 95,000.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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