At the end of the 19th century, a distinguishing characteristic of the Russian Empire was its cultural, religious and ethnic heterogeneity, in relation to which, a number of significant questions could be raised: to what extent are modern theories of nationalism relevant in explaining the centrifugal tendencies of borderland peoples in Russia at the turn of the 19th century? How could the nation become the main concern of the masses, transcending both religious and economic values? How specific was this process to Southern Caucasus? This book is an attempt to answer these questions with reference to a historical/geographical evaluation of Azerbaijan, the uniqueness and particularities of its political processes. In this context, class conflict, Western and Russian influences, inter-ethnic tensions, the Jadid reformism and the relative autonomy of political elites will be discussed, and it will be argued that if Azerbaijan could form the first secular state of the Muslim world, it was due to its well-educated nationalist intelligentsia, backed by an enlightened bourgeoisie.
1. Azerbaijan 2. Jadid Movement. 3. Nation-building.