Azerbaijan International

Autumn 2002 (10.3)


"The day that Azerbaijan declared its independence from the Soviet Union was the happiest day of my life," reflects poet and Member of Parliament Bakhtiyar Vahabzade. Like other Azerbaijanis, he knows full well that the realization of his long-cherished dream brings with it new freedoms as well as new responsibilities and challenges. Vahabzade has been particularly outspoken about the decline in usage of the Azeri language, which lost prestige to the Russian language throughout 70 years of Soviet rule. Page 52

Abbas Islamov spends many of his weekends exploring Azerbaijan's coastal regions, walking the terrain in search of remnants of ancient civilization. Along with Ronnie Gallagher, he has stumbled upon some remarkable megalithic archeological finds including "cart ruts", stone circles and large burial mounds. Both are concerned that these invaluable ancient monuments will be destroyed unless Azerbaijan acts immediately to protect them - not only for the sake of piecing together Azerbaijan's history but for the valuable insight they provide to world knowledge about early man. Page 28

Jala Garibova, who has been a strong, steady force on the magazine's staff for the past nine years, has just been named the new Vice Rector of Baku's Western University. As AI's Baku Research Associate, Jala has worked tirelessly behind the scenes, conducting interviews and carrying out research to fully develop our articles. A linguist, Jala writes the feature "Sociolinguistically Speaking", now in its 14th installment, which explores the nuances of the Azeri language in its social context Page 74. Previous features may be accessed at

When Igor Effimoff first met the dynamic octogenarian Zuleykha Asadullayeva, he identified two concerns that they had in common: improving living conditions for Azerbaijani children and tracing personal family roots. During Igor's tenure as President with Pennzoil Caspian (now Devon) in Baku (1996-2001), the two focused on helping the children at the Bone Tuberculosis Sanatorium in Zagulba. Over the years, Zuleykha told stories about her fascinating, yet tragic life as the granddaughter of a wealthy Baku Oil Baron. Igor shares fond remembrances of "Zulie", who passed away in July. Page 19

Aydin Rezaguliyev opened his studio to show us the linoleum prints of his father, artist Alakbar Rezaguliyev, who spent nearly 25 years imprisoned during Stalin's Soviet regime (1926-1953). These prints, prepared 30-40 years ago, provide insight into life at the beginning of the 20th century, especially in Baku's Inner City. The scenes were carved entirely from memory. Additional samples of artwork by Aydin, his father and more than 135 other Azerbaijani artists can be viewed at, a Web site created by Azerbaijan International to showcase Azerbaijani art. Page 32-34

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