Heydar Aliyev

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Former president of Azerbaijan.

The period immediately after the declaration of independence proved a troubled one for Azerbaijan, which became locked in a bloody conflict with Armenia over the Armenian-populated enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh. The Azerbaijani president, Abülfaz Elçibay, turned in 1992 to Aliyev to bolster a weak and ineffective government, appointing him to the post of Deputy Chairman of the Supreme Council of Azerbaijan. Subsequently, many members of the Azeri mafia promptly became Azeri nationalists.

He tried but failed to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh crisis, attempting a military solution in December 1993 that eventually resulted in 14% to 16% of Azerbaijani territories under occupation of Armenia and an estimated 30,000 deaths and the displacement of a further 750,000 Azeris. The issue remains unresolved, with Armenian rule continuing in Nagorno-Karabakh and Azerbaijan still hosting several hundred thousand refugees.


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