Public Opinion survey on moral and social stance of Azerbaijani youth

(June 4 – July 4, 2009)

Given public opinion survey was conducted to have some clarity on social stance of Azerbaijani youth and about the opinion of Azerbaijani youth over social/political processes happening in the country.

Public service center, “ADAM” (Rufat Qaragozlu, the administrator) conducted the survey within the frameworks of “Public Youth Center” project. FAR CENTRE – “Center for Economic and Political Research” implemented the project with National Endowment for Democracy (NED)’s financial support. Hikmet Hajizada, the president of FAR CENTER was the coordinator of the project.

FAR Center conducted the survey during the period of June 4 – July 4, 2009. 1000 respondents participated in survey.

There were 22 questions in questionnaire. 46% of respondents were men, 54% were women. Survey was conducted in the cities – Baku, Shemakha, Sheki, Ganja, Lenkaran, Khachmaz via individual interviews among the randomly chosen citizens in the age of 18-30.

Survey was anonymously conducted with “Street Survey” method – through individual interviews with respondents based on the questions in the questionnaire.

Some comments made to the results of the Public Opinion survey

Given survey was conducted in the year of global economic crisis which despite of substantial oil revenues of the country negatively affected country’s economy. In addition to the economic crisis, 2009 is also characterized with tragic event happened at State Oil Academy (mass killing of students by killer-psychopath) which shook the society. This year is also known for the government actively combating religious radicalism, increasing youth activism, as well as the crisis in Azerbaijani-Turkish relations sparked by the plans to open Armenian-Turkish border. Besides the questions on social and spiritual stance of Azerbaijani youth, questionnaire also contains questions about the level of religiosity of youth and their views on Azerbaijan’s foreign policy.  In the text in brackets there are examples presented from previous year’s (July, 2008) analogical public opinion survey for comparison.

55% percent of surveyed youth (ages of 18-30) are either happy with their financial/material conditions or don’t have any financial/material problems at all, 43% of respondents are facing financial/material difficulties or serious financial/material difficulties.

– Number of young people willing to leave the country for better life has increased – 23% (July, 2008 – 16%) and 43% would like to leave the country temporarily (July, 2008 – 34%)

– Prestige of public service is quite high – 42% of respondents would like to work in governmental structures, 11% in business structures, 40% prefer having their own businesses which talks about how ambitious the youth are. Only 3% of respondents don’t want to work anywhere and live under the material guidance of their parents.

– Global economic crisis had strongly affected 20% of respondents, 42% were partly affected, 18% were not affected by global economic crisis at all, 20% had difficulties in giving answers to this question.

– 96% believe in God (July, 2008 – 88%). 13% of respondents perform religious rituals (pray) on regular bases (July, 2008 – 13%)

– Number of supporters for adoption of sharia legal system has increased, so, 53% of respondents in full scale or in family sphere welcome sharia legal system (July, 2008 – 42%)

– 69% of population condemns premarital sex, 18% accept premarital sex as it is normal and see this as private life of every individual, and 3% of respondents think it is necessary.

– 73% of respondents have negative view on sexual minorities, 11% indifferent, 9% normal.

– Man is the dominant power in family – 46%; women – 2%; everything in the family should take place based on mutual consent – 47%; a person who brings more money has more power – 4%.

– Only 26% of respondents consider the importance of hard work and talent for achieving success in society (July, 2008 – 32%), consider money to be important for achieving success – 70% (July, 2008 – 55%); necessity of power or protection (nepotism) for achieving success – 53% (July, 2008 – 43%). This is how our society of “equal opportunities” looks like today.

– Government’s success in different spheres of its activities was not highly appreciated: stability and  order – 38%; oil sector – 33%; military strengthening – 20%; increase in welfare of society – 12%; success in democracy development and protection of human rights – 3%; education – 1%; combating corruption – 1%; Karabakh conflict – 1%; just and fair law enforcement system – 1%; none of the problems – 22%. (Similar numbers came out also in July, 2008)

– Political environment/situation is stable; think – 47%, intense – 28%; successful – 7%; highly explosive – 2%; had difficulties in answering the question – 16%

– West and Russia are equally popular among our young people: Azerbaijan will get more dividends in development by cooperating with Russia or CIS – 44%; Europe and USA – 42%; Turkey – 37%; Iran and the Islamic world – 8%.

– Solidarity with youth protesting the celebration of Flowers day during mourning period of students killed at State Oil Academy, expressed – 51% of respondents; condemned the protest of the students – 17%; indifferent to these events – 13%; haven’t heard anything about it – 8%.

– Cult of personality stayed behind: Young people don’t want to look like any of the historical figures – 50%; there are very few followers/imitators left of historical figures like M.E. Resulzade – 6%; Haydar Aliyev – 6%; Elchibey – 5%; Ataturk – 4%, Mehriban Aliyeva – 4%; Ilham Aliyev – 4%; Shakh Ismayil – 3%. (also were mentioned (each less than one percent) Mirjafar Baghirov, Margaret Thatcher, Zarifa Aliyeva, Madeleine Albright; Isa Gambar; Mahatma Gandhi, Nadir Shakh, Otto Bismarck, Aristotle, Socrates, Ilhama Gulieva, Aygun Kazimova, Regeb T. Erdoghan, Sattarxan, Babek, M. Akhmednijat, V. Putin, Xurshudbanu Natavan, Khomeyini, Peter 1, Adolf Hitler)

– Religious holidays (Gurban bayram and Ramadan bayram) – the most important among the youth (seasonal holidays – New Year, Novruz and etc were not included to the list):

Gurban bayram – 35%; Ramadan bayram – 33%; Women’s Day (March 8) – 26%; Independence Day (October 18) – 21%; Republic Day (28 May) – 18%; National Revival Day (November 17) – 9%; National Salvation Day (June 15) – 5%; Solidarity day of all Azerbaijanis living in the world (December 31) – 15%; Victory day over Fascism (May 9) – 1%; Constitution day (November 12) – 0%.

– Knowledge we get at schools and universities has little help in our real lives – 52%; has nothing to do with real life – 17%; fundamentally helpful in real live – 22%

– Youth, generally, are not interested in politics: only 7% of participants expressed that they were members of political parties (July, 2008 – 10%); 5% are in civic or youth organizations (July, 2008 – 6%); 20% follow the mass media to know the situation in country (July, 2008 – 22%); are not interested in politics at all – 35% (July, 2008 – 33%)

– Hypothetically governmental candidate is more popular than the hypothetically oppositional. If today parliamentary elections were held then 35% of respondents would have voted for the governmental candidate; oppositional candidate – 21%; for no one – 27%; don’t know – 17%.

– 51% of youth support any form of cooperation with NATO, meanwhile only 13% of respondents would like the country join NATO; to develop cooperation for future membership – 15%; cooperation with NATO as neutral state – 23%; against the cooperation with NATO – 9%; I don’t know anything about NATO – 26%; had difficulties in answering the question – 14%.

– Azerbaijan has to break ties with Turkey if latter opens the border with Armenia without considering Azerbaijan’s interests – 34%; Turkey should be deprived of its privileges had from cooperation with Azerbaijan – 10%; Turkey is in any case our the closest ally and we have to keep up the prior good relations with them – 34%; don’t know – 22%.

– Youth have poor access to Internet: only 20% of respondents are able to go to internet on daily bases; once in several days – 26%; once in a month – 18%; don’t have access to Internet – 36%.


1. Assess material/financial stance of your family at present time

A. very good (are not depriving ourselves from anything) – 9%

B. satisfactory (don’t have any material problems) – 46%

C. bad (have material difficulties) – 23%

D. very bad (have serious material/financial problems) – 20%

E. Don’t know – 2%

2. Would you want to live Azerbaijan in search of better life?

A. Would like to leave for good – 23%

B. Would like to leave temporarily, and then come back – 43%

C. Won’t leave the country under any circumstances – 27%

D. Don’t know – 7%

3. Where would you want to work at?

A. In governmental structures – 42%

B. In business structures – 11%

C. Want to own my own business – 40%

D. Don’t want to work anywhere, live by the financial support of parents – 3%

E. Don’t know – 4%

4. Did global economic crisis affect you or your family?

A. Yes, strongly – 20%

B. Yes, affected, but not very strong – 42%

C. No, did not affect – 18%

D. don’t know – 20%

5. How religious are you?

A. Believe in God and perform the religious rituals on regular bases – 13%

B. Believe in God, but do not regularly perform religious rituals – 15%

C. Believe in God, but don’t perform the religious rituals – 68%

D. Don’t believe in God – 3%

E. Don’t know – 1%

6. (For those who believe in Allah) would you want our country to be governed by Sharia Law?

A. Yes, would want – 29%

B. No, wouldn’t want – 36%

C. Yes, partly (for instance in family law) – 24%

D. Don’t know – 8%

7. How do you view premarital sexual intercourse of girls?

A. Condemn – 69%

B. Normal, this is private life of every individual – 18%

C. This is necessary – 3%

D. Don’t know – 10%

8. What do you think, what does the individual need in our society to achieve success?

A. Money – 70%

B. Protection (influential relatives and friends, ties with the authorities) – 53%

C. Hard work and talent – 26%

D. Don’t know – 3%

9. What do you think? Who is the dominant force in the family?

A. Men – 46%

B. Women – 2%

C. The one who brings more money – 4%

D. Everything in the family should be by mutual consent – 47%

E. Don’t know – 1%

10. How do you view the sexual minorities? (homosexuals and lesbians)

A. Indifferent – 11%

B. Negative – 73%

C. Normal – 9%

D. Don’t know – 7%

11. What do you think? In solving which problems Azerbaijan has achieved more success?

A. Stability and Order – 38%

B. Foreign policy – 25%

C. Military strengthening – 20%

D. Welfare growth of population – 12%

E. Industry and Agriculture – 10%

F. Oil Industry – 33%

G. Democracy and Human Rights – 1%

H. Education – 3%

I. Karabakh conflict – 1%

J. Combating corruption and bribery – 1%

K. Healthcare – 5%

L. Fair courts and law enforcement units – 1%

M. None of the problems – 22%

N. Other, name – 1%

O. Don’t know – 5%

Sport and Culture was mainly named among Other

12. Asses the political environment in country

A. Successful – 7%

B. Stable – 47%

C. Stressed – 28%

D. Highly explosive – 2%

E. Don’t know – 16%

13. In which community/format of collaboration you think Azerbaijan could develop better?

A. In collaboration with Western countries (EU and USA) – 42%

B. In collaboration with Russia and CIS – 44%

C. In collaboration with Turkey – 37%

D. In collaboration with Iran and Islamic World – 8%

E. Don’t know – 7%

F. Other – 1%

“With no one” and “With everyone” were mainly the answers given to Other

14. How do you view the students lead protest action against the celebration of flowers day on May 10, 2009 following the mass killing of students at State Oil Academy?

A. In solidarity with the students – 51%

B. Condemn the students – 17%

C. I am indifferent to these events – 13%

D. I don’t know anything about it – 8%

E. Don’t know – 11%

15. Which of the historical or contemporary personalities would you want to look like? (bring no more than 2 answers)

A. M.E.Resulzade (Leader of ADR, 1918-1920) – 6%

B. Heydar Aliyev – 6%

C. Elchibey – 5%

D. Ataturk – 4%

E. Mehriban Aliyeva – 4%

F. Ilham Aliyev – 4%

G. Shakh Ismayil (First Sefevi Shax of Iran & Azerbaijan) – 3%

H. Such person doesn’t exist – 36%

I. No body – 14%

J. Don’t know – 17%

(also were mentioned (each less than one percent) Mirjafar Baghirov, Margaret Thatcher, Zarifa Aliyeva, Madeleine Albright; Isa Gambar; Mahatma Gandhi, Nadir Shakh, Otto Bismarck, Aristotle, Socrates, Ilhama Gulieva, Aygun Kazimova, Regeb T. Erdoghan, Sattarxan, Babek, M. Akhmednijat, V. Putin, Xurshudbanu Natavan, Khomeyini, Peter the Great)

16. Which holidays are the most favorite of yours besides the seasonal – New Year and Novruz holidays (name not more than 2)

A. Women’s Day (March 8) – 26%

B. Gurban Bayram – 35%

C. Ramadan – 33%

D. Victory day over fascism (May 9) – 1%

E. Republic Day (May 28) – 18%

F. National Salvation Day (June 15) – 5%

G. Independence Day (October 18) – 21%

H. Constitution Day (November 12) – 0%

I. National Revival Day (November 17) – 9%

J. Solidarity day of all the Azerbaijanis living in the world (December 31) – 15%

K. Don’t know – 5%

17. Knowledge we receive at schools and in universities

A. Significantly helpful in our real lives – 22%

B. Little helpful in our real lives – 52%

C. Has nothing in common with real life – 17%

D. Don’t know – 9%

18. Do you participate in socio-political life of your country in any of the following ways?

    A. Member of political party – 7%
    B. participate in civic and youth organizations – 5%
    C. attending various public events – 4%
    D. discussing political and social happenings/events with relatives, neighbors, people I know and friends – 12%
    E. following the situation in mass media – 20%
    F. I am not interested in politics – 35%
    G. Don’t know – 17%

19. Who would you vote if parliamentary elections were held today?

A. For governmental candidate – 35%

B. For oppositional candidate – 21%

C. For nobody – 27%

D. Don’t know – 17%

20. Should Azerbaijan build its relations with NATO? What do you think?

A. I don’t know anything about NATO – 26%

B. Develop partnership with NATO for future membership – 15%

C. Cooperation with NATO by remaining neutral state – 23%

D. Not cooperate with NATO – 9%

E. Join NATO – 13%

F. Don’t know – 14%

21. What should Azerbaijan do if Turkey opens the borders with Armenia going against Azerbaijan’s interest?

A. Azerbaijan has to break ties with Turkey – 34%

B. Azerbaijan, in response, should deprive Turkey from privileges it has in Azerbaijan – 10%

C. In any case Turkey is our the closes ally, thus we should respect Turkey’s this foreign policy decision and keep up the prior good relations with Turkey – 34%

D. Don’t know – 22%

22. How often do you use Internet?

A. Every day – 20%

B. once in several days – 26%

C. Once in a month

D. Have no access to Internet – 36%

    End of the Text

4 Cavab to “Public Opinion survey on moral and social stance of Azerbaijani youth”

  1. South Caucasus 2020 « Russia 2020: Scenarios for the Future | Project of the Carnegie Moscow Center Says:

    […] When it comes to security, the benign role here could be played jointly by Russia and the United States, as well as the EU, should relations continue to improve, in agreeing on a shared security arrangement they could jointly support for Armenia, Azerbaijan and Karabakh. In other words the latter-day Great Powers could agree on a robust peace-keeping force or security regime that would be sufficient to persuade the Armenians to give up the Azerbaijani occupied territories in favor of a status solution for Nagorny Karabakh that falls short of independence. In this way, the “reset” combined with a Russian acceptance of the end of its dominant role in the region could pave the way for a more stable security framework for the region. [1] See for instance… […]

  2. Caucasus Edition – Youth in South Caucasus: Agents of Peace or Future Soldiers? Says:

    […] [9] Public Opinion Survey on Moral and Social Stance of Azerbaijan Youth. 2009. Survey conducted by “ ADAM ”Public service center and FAR Centre in the framework of Public Youth Center. Support by NED.… […]

  3. Samir Slolev Says:

    I enjoy seeing the poll and its results. It gives me hope to see positive, educated stances of the Azeri youth. However, I also hope that more truth is given to them. I pray that they can be exposed to corruption like Mehriban Aliyeva and Samir Sharifov, not to create cynics, but to create an educated future leadership.

  4. Anar Baghirov Says:

    In Azerbaijan, Minister of Finance Samir Sharifov and Azerbaijan First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva are bad news. Sharifov is sleeping with Aliyeva and together they are embezzling money. According to Mehriban Aliyeva’s Wikipedia page, WikiLeaks documents show that Mehriban does not attend Parliament’s sessions. “Embassy monitors, who have attended nearly every session over the past year, have never seen her present in Parliament.”

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