Leila Alieva

Zeitraum des Fellowships:
31. Oktober 2018 bis 31. Januar 2019

Leila Alieva


Democracy/Autocracy and Religious Attitudes in Post-Soviet Nation-States: The Case of Islam in Azerbaijan


The study analyses the evolution of the religious discourse in post-Soviet Azerbaijan and the influence of the level of democracy on the religious discourse and activism. The research tests the ways religions – particularly, supra ethnic, “universal religions” such as Islam – have been transformed by their encounter with nationalism and “nation state”.

The study aims to analyze how ideas of nation state, liberal and religious values are accommodated at the level of attitudes of believers. The post-Soviet period is viewed in the limelight of influence of democracy on the emergence of the “local form of religious discourse”, testing the possibility of the religious reforms.


Leila Alieva is a CARA/IFK_Fellow, and a Senior Common Room member of St. Antony’s College, Oxford University, where she previously was an academic visitor and a fellow of Council for At-Risk Academics (CARA)/Scholars Rescue Fund (SRF). While she started her academic career in perception of arts, later her research focus has been on Azerbaijan, Caucasus, Former Soviet Union; Russia, energy security, conflicts, democratization and civil society in the oil rich states, regional and EU and NATO integration. She was also a non-resident research associate at Russia and Eurasia Center at Uppsala University. Until 2014 back in Azerbaijan she was a founder and a head of the independent policy research Center for National and International Studies. Leila Alieva held research fellowships at Harvard University (1993–1994), UC Berkeley (2000), Woodrow Wilson Center -Kennan Institute- (1995) SAIS -Johns Hopkins University- (2001), NATO Defense College (NDC) in Rome, Italy (2005) and in 2007 at the National Endowment for Democracy in Washington DC. She advised the President of EBRD, major oil corporations (BP, STATOIL, UNOCAL, AIOC) served on the board of the Open Society Institute in Baku, was a National Coordinator of the Human Development Report for UNDP (1997) and from 2009 to 2012 was a member of editorial board of “Connections”, quarterly journal of the NATO PFP consortium. She was a scientific board member and her institute was a partner in two winning consortia of the EU FP7 Collaborative Research projects EU4SEAS (2009–2011) and CASCADE (2014–2106). Her research on the issues of security, conflicts and politics in the region were published by the Oxford University Press, Sharpe, Journal of Democracy, Jane’s Intelligence Review and many other academic and policy journals and books. She extensively wrote on the issues of EU and NATO integration - was an author of the chapter in the book on New Euro-Atlantic Strategy in the Wider Black Sea Region (German Marshall Fund, 2005), NDC Occasional Paper N. 13 “Integrative Processes in the South Caucasus and their Security Implications” (Rome, 2006), “EU and the South Caucasus” CAP Discussion Paper, Bertelsmann Foundation, Berlin, 2006. She has edited 6 books the most recent one “ The Soviet Legacy 22 years On: Reversed or Reinforced?” (CNIS, 2013) and regularly contributes to the publications related to ENP and EaP. L. Alieva is a registered EU expert, and in 2013 was elected a coordinator of the EaP CSF WG1 on Human Rights, Democracy and Good Governance.