History. – The commissioning of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (TBC) pipeline in 2006 and the full operation of the Shah Deniz field in 2007 led to exponential economic growth driven by the increase in oil and gas prices and the expansion of exports of hydrocarbons: only in the first half of 2007, the real GDP growth of the AzerbaijanY. it reached the extraordinary threshold of + 35%, generally improving the economic and social indexes of the country.
According to Localcollegeexplorer, the global economic crisis of 2008 and the consequent contraction in global aggregate demand for hydrocarbons abruptly slowed down this economic success, making it necessary to reform a system that was too dependent on hydrocarbon exports. Back then, President Ilham Aliev promoted a series of structural reforms – aimed at attracting investment, simplifying the tax system and creating greater accessibility to the market and credit mechanisms – but the goal of diversifying the economy remained unfulfilled.
In October 2008, Aliev was reconfirmed for a second presidential term with 87.34% of the vote in an election that was basically boycotted by the opposition. In March 2009 a constitutional amendment, confirmed by a referendum with over 90% of the votes, gave the government the power to limit freedom of information and removed constitutional limits on the number of presidential terms, allowing Aliev to renew his political commitment. Lifetime.
The parliamentary elections of November 2010 saw the confirmation of the dominant New Azerbaijan Party (YAP) – the president’s political force – which according to OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) estimates won 73 deputies. The remaining seats were assigned to independent candidates affiliated with the government, while the two main opposition parties Müsavat and Azerbaijan Popular Front became extra-parliamentary formations. Once again, the regularity of the elections was challenged by international observers.
In spring 2011, a series of anti-government protests calling for an improvement in civil, social and democratic conditions were severely repressed by the authorities who arrested numerous activists, journalists and members of the opposition. Despite the improvements in the economic and social indices, due to the re-investment of the proceeds of hydrocarbons, there was an accentuation of the protests and related repressions, also continued during the Eurovision song contest, held in Baku in May 2012, and in the months subsequent. The presidential elections of October 2013 reconfirmed Aliev for a third term with 84.54% of the vote and were again criticized by the international community.
Baku pursued a balanced and multivectoral foreign policy towards Russia, the West and Eastern partners, while relations with Yerevan remained hostile, clashes persisted with the Armenian forces of Nagorno-Karabakh (see unrecognized states) which since 1994 occupied 7 districts of the ‘Azerbaijan.
Architecture. – Architecture in Azerbaijan has had a significant boost in the last ten years because the country – thanks to offshore discoveries and new extraction techniques that have relaunched oil and natural gas production – has returned to being, as it was in the first boom oil (1872), a worldwide destination for investment and trade. At the same time, the profound disproportion between the new buildings – almost absent in Ganja and Sumgait (second and third cities of the Azerbaijan) – and the capital, in which it is precisely the architecture that gives the measure of the economic development of a city which contains a quarter of the country’s population and alone drives the entire economy.
In Baku, the skyline was transformed by the Anglo-American Barry Hughes’ project, three skyscrapers of glass and steel, illuminated by 10,000 LEDs that project the image of flames that envelop the towers in fire (Flame Towers, 2013), a tribute at the. whose meaning is “Land of Fire”; as well as from the white and hyperbolic cultural center of the Zaha Hadid Architects studio named after the former president of the Azerbaijan (Heydar Aliyev center, 2013); and the transparent polyhedra of the concert arena on the city coast (Baku Crystal hall, 2011). Traces of past times under the Soviet Union remain only in some government buildings. The capital has renewed itself very quickly: from the Park Boulevard green system – which marks the shore of the Caspian Sea – to the vast Port Baku resident project (2012).
However, the unstoppable development did not affect the walled city, testimony of the wealth that Baku had already achieved in the Middle Ages and in 2009 the World heritage committee praised the Azerbaijan for efforts to preserve the old walls and fabric of the historic city. THERE. also took on a multi-year plan (2003-10) for the environmental protection of Sumgait on the northern coast of the Apšeron peninsula: founded in 1946, the city was a world headquarters of Soviet steel and oil industries and until 2007 was considered one of the most polluted places on the planet.