Last Updated: Friday, 08 December 2017, 11:58 GMT

World Directory of Minorities and Indigenous Peoples - Azerbaijan : Russians

Publisher Minority Rights Group International
Publication Date 2008
Cite as Minority Rights Group International, World Directory of Minorities and Indigenous Peoples - Azerbaijan : Russians, 2008, available at: [accessed 11 December 2017]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.


Russians represented 6 per cent of the population in 1989. By 1999, however, mass emigration had seen the proportion of Russians reduced to 1.8 per cent (141,700). Russians are primarily concentrated in urban centres. Russian Orthodox believers enjoy freedom of worship in Azerbaijan.

Historical context

After the collapse of the Soviet Union Russians were not widely discriminated against in Azerbaijan, although some concern was expressed following the introduction of an Azeri language programme promoting wider use of the Azeri language in 1989-90. Russians and Russian-speakers feared that they would become increasingly disadvantaged in terms of education and employment opportunities. The status of Russians and Russian-speakers were improved after moves to ban the tuition of Russian in schools were overturned.

Current issues

Russian continues to be widely used in Azerbaijan in multiple spheres, despite efforts to promote Azeri as the state language. Television, print and internet media in Russian are widely available. It is estimated that some 7 per cent of students in secondary and higher education study in Russian, while there has been a rise in the number of Russian-medium schools. This reflects continued adherence to Russian among Azerbaijan's national minorities despite the dramatic decline in the Russian demographic presence in the republic.

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