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Azerbaijan: Smaller Ethnic Minorities
Country Study > Chapter 3 > Population and Ethnic Composition > Smaller Ethnic Minorities


After the Azerbaijanis, Russians, and Armenians, the next largest group is the Lezgins (Daghestanis), the majority of whom live across the Russian border in Dagestan, but 171,000 of whom resided in northern Azerbaijan in 1989 Muslims and speak a separate Caucasian language, have called for greater rights, including the right to maintain contacts with Lezgins in Russia. In October 1992, President Elchibey promised informally that border regulations would be interpreted loosely to assuage these Lezgin concerns.

In 1989 another 262,000 people belonging to ninety other nationalities lived in Azerbaijan. These groups include Avars, Kurds, Talysh, and Tats. The Talysh in Azerbaijan, estimates of whose numbers varied from the official 1989 census figure of 21,000 to their own estimates of 200,000 to 300,000, are an Iranian people living in southeastern Azerbaijan and contiguous areas of Iran. Like the Lezgins, the Talysh have called for greater rights since Azerbaijan became independent.

In 1992 Elchibey attempted to reassure ethnic minorities by issuing an order that the government defend the political, economic, social, and cultural rights and freedoms of nonAzerbaijanis, and by setting up the Consultative Council on Interethnic Relations as part of the presidential apparatus. At no point were Armenians mentioned, however, among the protected ethnic minorities.

Data as of March 1994

Last Updated: March 1994

Editor's Note: Country Studies included here were published between 1988 and 1998. The Country study for Azerbaijan was first published in 1995. Where available, the data has been updated through 2008. The date at the bottom of each section will indicate the time period of the data. Information on some countries may no longer be up to date. See the "Research Completed" date at the beginning of each study on the Title Page or the "Data as of" date at the end of each section of text. This information is included due to its comprehensiveness and for historical purposes.

Note that current information from the CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State Background Notes, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Country Briefs, the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Country Profiles, and the World Bank can be found on

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Section 31 of 82


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