nearly 100% of Azerbaijani men and women can read.

Today, nearly 100% of Azerbaijani men and women can read.
Courtesy Azerbaijan International,

The Soviet Period

Despite massive natural resources and considerable intellectual and human potential, Azerbaijan developed only marginally as an industrialized nation under Soviet rule. The Azerbaijan SSR’s economy placed heavy emphasis on extractive industries and resource-intensive cotton production at the expense of other agricultural sectors as well as of high-tech and ICT, tourism, and manufacturing. The Azerbaijan SSR was one of only four republics of USSR that did not receive any subsidies and actually subsidized other Soviet republics, most often Armenia through the Druzhba (Friendship) pipeline pumping free natural gas. While sometimes allowing ethnic Azerbaijanis into high-level state and party positions, Soviet authorities also pushed for the creation of a distinct Soviet identity. The Soviet government fought illiteracy in Azerbaijan but at the same time there was widespread persecution of Azerbaijani nationalists and intellectuals that resulted in the deaths and exile of tens of thousands of Azerbaijanis. By the 1930s, the Soviet government began programs of forced collectivization of agriculture. Any protests against the programs were suppressed quickly, and Azerbaijanis who spoke out against the government often were deported to gulags—Soviet forced-labor camps. From 1947 to 1953, nearly 200,000 ethnic Azerbaijani farmers were deported from Soviet Armenia to non-fertile lands in central part of Soviet Azerbaijan. Up to half of these Azerbaijani deportees from Soviet Armenia died from deportation-related causes such as illnesses, malnutrition, cold weather, and crackdowns against perceived acts of rebellion.