Almost three decades after independence, Russian language still plays a large role in Azerbaijan. Many of the country’s schools and universities are divided: into the Azerbaijani-medium Azsector, and a Russian-language sector. But the divide goes far beyond the language: graduates of the Russian sector often see themselves as the elites of society, more progressive, more open-minded, and more cultured. In turn, they are portrayed as aloof, unpatriotic, and not ‘real’ Azerbaijanis. [Read more…]
Learning Azerbaijani is becoming more and more popular in Armenia. While the two countries remain in a near-war-like state, some emphasise the strategic importance of ‘know thy enemy’, while others seek a better understanding of their disconnected neighbours.
Karajala Kickboxing Club is a training facility in Karajala, a small village near Tbilisi. The club is located in the house of trainer and owner Isvahan Aliyev, a professional kickboxer. Aliyev, and all of the members but one, are ethnic Azerbaijanis born in Georgia. Saying that the facility lacks equipment would be an understatement — it has only one bench press and one punchbag — but despite this, Aliyev says that some of the children from the club are Georgian kickboxing champions. [Read more…]
Lezgins are one of five major ethnic groups living within Azerbaijan. The population of Lezgins makes up approximately 2% of the whole population of Azerbaijan. Their religion is Islam, and their language is Lezgi. Historically, Lezgins have inhabited the beautiful Caucasus Mountains between the Black and Caspian Seas. Part of the ethnic group is living in Dagestan, Russian Federation and another is beyond the border with Russia in the north-eastern part of Azerbaijan; Qusar, Quba and Khachmaz. However, the western part of Azerbaijan in Zaqatala and Balakan regions are also populated with many ethnic minorities including Lezgins. The UNHCR states that Lezgins make up 40% of the population of the Qusar and Khachmaz regions and that Greater Baku is 1.8% Lezgin. [Read more…]