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Keywords:

  • Azerbaijan;
  • resource curse;
  • petro-state;
  • sovereignty;
  • legitimacy;
  • public opinion

After considering how well Azerbaijan's economy follows the trajectory of a ‘resource curse’ state, this paper investigates the political dimensions of the resource curse evident in Azerbaijan. Of particular interest is how Azerbaijan appears to establish external and internal political legitimacy. These dimensions of sovereignty are not necessarily balanced or present in equal measure. The paper assesses the recent transition in leadership in Azerbaijan as well as Azerbaijan's interactions with, and assessment by, the international community. Additionally, national survey data provide insights into public concerns, satisfaction with government policy, and views on democracy and freedom of expression. The paper concludes that at present there appears to be sufficient public expectation for future benefits, combined with institutional stability, to stave off widespread political instability for the time being.