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update: returned to Germany. Still mostly writing about Azerbaijan. need to keep going.

 

this is how the entry looked like previously:

This blog is an experiment as much as an experience. It will be accompanying me for the two months that I will spend in Baku – the capital of Azerbaijan – as a journalist. Once I am back I plan to turn it into a blog about politics, culture and history of eastern Europe. I will be blogging in German. If you are an english-speaking reader and there is something you are particularely interested in, just leave a comment and I will try to make a comprehensive translation for you.

What you need to know about Azerbaijan:

-it is a relatively young country it has only been independent for 20 years.

-Azerbaijan is geopolitically interesting:  situated at the coast of the Caspian Sea, it has borders with Iran, Russia, Georgia, Turkey and Armenia

-Azerbaijan has oil – a lot of it. In the early 20th century, when the fields in Saudi Arabia were not yet discovered, Baku provided nearly 90% of the worlds production.

– Azerbaijan is at war with Armenia. The conflict arose in 1988 and it is all about the Nagorno Karabagh region. I am not going to elaborate on this here, just note that around 14% of Azerbaijans territory are occupied, and there has been ethnic cleansing. Whereas before a lot of Armenians used to live in Azerbaijan and a lot of Azeris used to live in Armenia,  it is now virtually impossible to find Armenians in Azerbaijan and vice versa. For further reading the Wikipedia article might be a good start

– Azerbaijan is a mainly muslim country, but secular – you see very few women wearing the veil in the streets – much less than in cities like Berlin, Paris or London.

-Human rights activists consider Azerbaijan to be the second dictatorship in Europe after Belarus. The country is ruled by Ilham Aliyev, the son of his predecessor, Heydar Aliev, who also is referred to as the „allnational leader“. Corruption is very high, disparity between rich and poor is enormous and independent media are few. Human rights activists report about pressure on independent lawyers, bloggers and journalists.

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