Country Listing

Azerbaijan Table of Contents


Crime Prevention Agencies

Azerbaijan established a separate contingent of border troops in 1992, but the demands of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict have limited staffing. In 1993 liaison was established with the border troop commands of Russia, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine for cooperative drug control and exchange of methodology. A small officer training program for border troops has been established at the Baku All Forces Commanders' School, with the intention of increasing enrollment once the issue of Nagorno-Karabakh is resolved. Long-term plans called for European-style checkpoints after war damage is repaired and official borders are recognized.

In 1993 the Ministry of Internal Affairs underwent a major reform, a significant aspect of which was abolition of its Administration for the Struggle Against Terrorism and Banditry. That agency, nominally the spearhead of national crime prevention, had proven ineffective because of unclear jurisdictions and poor professional performance. Law enforcement cooperation with other CIS countries has been irregular. In restructuring its law enforcement operations, however, the government has consulted the ministries of internal affairs of Georgia, Iran, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Russia, and Turkey. In 1993 the Ministry of Internal Affairs sent ninety employees to study law enforcement at education institutions in Russia and Ukraine. Also, contacts were strengthened with the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) and the national law enforcement agencies of neighboring countries.

Despite Aliyev's reforms, the delicate state of Azerbaijani national security continued to affect all other aspects of the new nation's activities. Normal foreign relations and trade were blocked by the ramifications for other nations dealing with one side or the other of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. But despite the clear need for action, extreme nationalists sharply limited the president's range of options by holding the threat of ouster over his head for any step that might appear to be conciliatory toward the traditional enemy, Armenia.

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For historical background on Azerbaijan, the best source is Audrey L. Alstadt's The Azerbaijani Turks: Power and Identity under Russian Rule. Earlier sources covering specific historical topics include J.D. Henry's Baku: An Eventful History (covering the exploitation of oil in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries); Russian Azerbaijan, 1905-1920: The Shaping of National Identity in a Muslim Community by Tadeusz Swietochowski (including an introductory chapter covering nineteenth-century Russian rule); Ronald G. Suny's The Baku Commune, 1917-1918; Class and Nationality in the Russian Revolution; and The Struggle for Transcaucasia, 1917-1921 by Firuz Kazemzadeh. Overviews of nationality issues include Tamara Dragadze's "Azerbaijanis" in The Nationalities Question in the Soviet Union, edited by Graham Smith, and Frank Huddle, Jr.'s "Azerbaidzhan and the Azerbaidzhanis" in Handbook of Major Soviet Nationalities, edited by Zev Katz. (For further information and complete citations, see Bibliography.)

Data as of March 1994