Azerbaijan - a nation with a majority-Turkic and majority-Shia Muslim population - was briefly independent (from 1918 to 1920) following the collapse of the Russian Empire; it was subsequently incorporated into the Soviet Union for seven decades. Azerbaijan has yet to resolve its conflict with Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh, a primarily ethnic Armenian-populated region that Moscow recognized in 1923 as an autonomous republic within Soviet Azerbaijan after Armenia and Azerbaijan disputed the territory's status. Armenia and Azerbaijan reignited their dispute over the area in 1988; the struggle escalated militarily after both countries attained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. By May 1994, when a cease-fire took hold, ethnic Armenian forces held not only Nagorno-Karabakh but also seven surrounding provinces in the territory of Azerbaijan. The OSCE Minsk Group, co-chaired by the US, France, and Russia, is the framework established to mediate a peaceful resolution of the conflict.
Azerbaijan is located in Southwestern Asia, bordering the Caspian Sea, between Iran and Russia, with a small European portion north of the Caucasus range.
In Azerbaijan the highest population density is found in the far eastern area of the county, in and around Baku; apart from smaller urbanized areas, the rest of the country has a fairly evenly distributed population. It has 9,872,765 people.
Ethnic groups in Azerbaijan:
Azerbaijani 95.5%, Lezghin 1.5 %, Russian 1.2%, Talysh 1.1%, other 0.7%.
Azerbaijani Turkic (official) 95.5%, Russian 1%, other 4.5% .