Photo on the cover: Shahidlyar Khiyabany (Alley of Martyrs), Baku, 2015. Photo by Sevil Huseynova

A Tool Of Propaganda: Thirty Years Of Memory Politics In Independent Azerbaijan

Read in Azerbaijani

In the “Sculptor’s Notes” published in the year of Stalin’s death, Dmitry Merkurov, who, for many years firmly held the title of “Outstanding Master of Soviet Monumental Sculpture”, claimed that: “The monument is a powerful instrument of propaganda and ideological education of the people. Its importance in our state is particularly great” (Merkurov 1950: 50). Of course, Merkurov was referring to the Soviet Union, but this sentence is also relevant for modern Azerbaijan. Revenues from the oil and gas trade are not only spent on large-scale construction and reconstruction of infrastructure, the maintenance of a huge bureaucratic apparatus, the police, and the army. This same revenue source is used to finance the installation of numerous monuments throughout the country. After a short pause in the 1990s, when more monuments were dismantled than were opened, by the 2000s, the country experienced a new wave of memorial construction. This was undertaken in the context of a new stage in the nationalization of public spaces and the legitimization of the Aliyev political regime. As a result, numerous public political monuments again became “propaganda tools” and visual symbols of power (Michalski1998: 107).

Product details
Date of Publication
Heinrich Boell Foundation South Caucasus
Number of Pages
All rights reserved
Language of publication
Table of contents

Introduction 4
1990-2020: Key Events And Images 5
Commemoration Of The First Republic In The Muslim East 6
March Genocide Of 1918 And Black January Of 1990 8
Commemoration Of The Long‑lasting
Before And After The Second Karabakh War 10
The Birth Of A Great Leader 12
Future Perspectives On The Past 13
References 14