Azerbaijan International

Summer 2002 (10.2)


Given its war with Armenia, the refugee crisis and civil unrest, Azerbaijan has made remarkable progress since it became independent in late 1991, says Valeh Alasgarov, General Manager of SOCAR's Foreign Investment Division. Here he traces just how far Azerbaijan has come in the intervening years. Alasgarov cautions foreigners not to measure economic progress in the Newly Independent States such as Azerbaijan outside of the reality of their specific social and political contexts. Page 72.

Other articles by Alasgarov:
SOCAR Trends and Developments (AI 4.1, Spring 1996)

National Geographic photojournalist Reza has an innate ability to make us empathize with the inner psychological world of the subjects he photographs. For example, we sense the fragility of life for the young Afghani lad cradling the delicate seedling in his hands (see back cover). Reza, an Azerbaijani from Iran, is one of the few foreign photographers who have documented the devastation of war in Afghanistan both under the Soviets (1980s) as well as the Americans (beginning in 2001). Page 12.

Other articles featuring Reza:
Black January - Baku (1990) (AI 6.1, Spring 1998)
In Pursuit of Freedom and Justice: Eyes of a Photojournalist (AI 6.1, Spring 1998)
Quotes: Baku-an Old Forgotten Book (1997)
Quotes: Massacre at Khojali (AI 7.1, Spring 1999)
Poetry by Lamiya, "Uncle Reza" (AI 7.1, Spring 1999)

Swedish writer Brita Asbrink spent the past three years poring through letters, diaries, business records and photographs from Swedish families who had worked with the Nobel Brothers in Baku at the turn of the 19th century. Asbrink's book coincides with the 100th Anniversary of the Nobel Prize (December 2001) and focuses on the human side of oil development in Baku. Alfred Nobel withdrew shares from his brothers' petroleum company in Baku and combined it with dynamite revenues to set up the international prize. Page 56.

Other articles by Asbrink:
Nobel Prize Centennial
(AI 9.3, Autumn 2001)

Azerbaijan's oil development has a long history, one that goes back for hundreds of years. Dr. Mir-Yusif Mir-Babayev, the General Chemistry Chair at Azerbaijan Technical University, loves spending his free time poring over old journals and newspapers to piece together early oil history. Up until the collapse of the Soviet Union, the achievements of capitalist Oil Barons was difficult to access. Fortunately many of these early records still do exist in libraries and the National Archives. See his detailed chronology of Azerbaijan's oil history on page 34.


Meeting Norwegian anthropologist Thor Heyerdahl was an unforgettable occasion for Zaza Alexidze, Director of the Institute of Manuscripts in Tbilisi, Georgia. Alexidze's discovery of an ancient Caucasus Albanian text at Mt. Sinai, Egypt, had piqued Heyerdahl's interest, so he visited Alexidze in Georgia to find out more. This rare manuscript-one of the few existing texts in the Caucasus Albanian language-has important ramifications for the ancient history of Azerbaijan and the Caucasus. Page 26.

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