I was born and grew up in Ganja, a historical city that in the beginning of 19th century had shown the biggest resistance to the Russian conquest of Azerbaijan. Then, I received degrees from two distinguished universities in Moscow, from Mining Technology University (1981), and Moscow Literature University (1989), and an MPA from Indiana University (1997). The last 15 years of my career I've been a "researcher" and a "practitioner." As a journalist, columnist and then, Editor-in-Chief of Vatan newspaper - one of the flagships of Perestroika in Azerbaijan, - I had covered major events from internal challenges to the 1990-1991 Gulf War. Subsequently, in 1992 I was invited to work as Chief of Public Relations to the President of Azerbaijan. Then, the next several years I again spent in the academia. In 1996-1999 I worked for the World Bank and was one of the authors of the National Environmental Action Plan for Azerbaijan. By the late 1990s, I joined the National Democratic Institute and observed November 2000 parliamentary elections as a member of International Observers Team. After the failed parliamentary elections, I summarized my thoughts in a conceptual article ("Azerbaijan?… Azerbaijan!", "Yeni Musavat", Baku, March 16-18, 2001). In this article, I analyzed several existing models of the state, compared them and showed that liberal democracy would be the most appropriate model for Azerbaijan. The article provoked active debate and was widely discussed among intellectuals, politicians, the media and NGO community. In May 2001 I made a presentation at Harvard University for the "Leadership for the 21st Century" seminar. From 2001-2004, I worked on a number of development projects, chaired Azerbaijan Micro-finance Association, simultaneously continuing my academic research and teaching political sciences at the university. In 2004-2005, I conducted research at the National Endowment for Democracy on the prospects of democratic development in Azerbaijan. The presentation I made in February 2005 in Washington DC was welcomed by the leading experts and policy makers on the region. After the presentation at NED, I received invitations and made presentations at the USAID, Foreign Service Institute and other institutions. Upon return to Azerbaijan I made several presentations, wrote and published a series of articles and ran as a candidate to the parliament in the November 2005 elections. Thus, after conducting research I attempted to prove my findings in practice. After elections failed again I returned back to teaching at Khazar University and continued my development work. I am one of the authors for 5-year multi-million Azerbaijan Community Development project (2006), and currently work as Program Manager for Azerbaijan Civil Society Project, funded by USAID. Through my studies, travels, contacts with colleagues in other countries, I came to the conclusion that Azerbaijan is one of the most crucial places on the contemporary political map of the world. This is the place where currently the thin line between the past and the future goes. And exactly the course of events here will dictate in what direction the world will go in decades to come. This strong belief and feeling provides me with energy necessary to continue my academic studies and practical work in this wonderful place where many things still seem Orwellian.


Advanced B.A. (1981) from Moscow Mining Technology and (1989) Moscow Literature Universities; MPA (1997) Indiana University, Bloomington


Azerbaijan,Democratization,East Europe,International Relations,International Security,Iraq,Media,Middle East,Political Science,Postcommunism,Religion


  • Professor, Western University, Baku, 1993-95, 2000-02;
  • Professor, Khazar University, Baku, 2002-04, 2005-07
  • Research Fellow, Reagan-Fascell Program, NED, 2004-05
  • Deputy Team-leader, CHF-International, Azerbaijan, 2005
  • Chairman of Azerbaijan Micro-finance Association, 2002-04
  • Program Manager, World Bank, 1997-99
  • Chief of Media Relations to the President, 1992-93

  • Vatan newspaper, 1989-92, 1993-94


    Political Science, International relations, Regional politics, Management, Media

Project Summary

One of the key challenges the world is currently facing is the issue of building stable and long-lasting democracies in multi-ethnic and multi-faith countries, such as Iraq, Afghanistan, Sudan, among others. Azerbaijan - a country with its religious composition very similar to Iraq - approximately 70 percent Shiites, 20-25 percent Sunnis, 3-5 percent Christians as well as other religious groups, represents an interesting case study. Despite its diversity, during the last two hundred years Azerbaijan has not experienced any internal interfaith or interethnic conflicts. Thus, examining the Azerbaijan case represents a unique opportunity to study and apply to similar countries.

Major Publications

  • "Azerbaijan?… Azerbaijan!", "Yeni Musavat," Baku, March 2001, (about historical challenges Azerbaijan faces).
  • "Iran, Azerbaijan, the United States and Democracy," Azadlyq (in Azeri), Bakinskiye Vedomosti (in Russian) July 2005.
  • "Opposition in Parliament," Bakinskiye Vedomosti, January 2006.