Protest Baku: Is Azerbaijan next in line for a democratic revolution? (Research Symposium)

Project leader

Sofie Bedford 


March-May 2013

Project description

Following the so-called colour revolutions in other former Soviet republics many expected Azerbaijan to be the scene of the next popular uprising and ahead of parliamentary elections in 2005 there were great hopes. This hope vanished however. Nevertheless, a new wave of mobilization appears to be led by a generation of democracy activists in Azerbaijan strengthened by the growth of social media. Analysts and activists have described them as the beginning of an “Azerbaijani Spring”, indicating that what is happening in Azerbaijan can be linked to the Arab Spring. This raises a number of interesting questions: what do these protests have in common and can they, despite their diversity, be seen as part of an on-going popular mobilization in Azerbaijan? Why is this happening now and what are really the chances of democratic reforms in Azerbaijan? Is it feasible to analyse contention in Azerbaijan from a more general theoretical perspective, or are there specific political, historical or cultural factors that are important in the making and breaking of protest in this particular context?

Related publications

Special Section Political: Mobilization in Azerbaijan – The January 2013 Protests and Beyond, Democratizatsiya: The Journal of Post-Soviet Democratization 22 (1) 2014

Events in connection to the project

Research Symposium
on on May 21, 2013

Funding source

Riksbankens Jubileumsfond