Elchibey, Albufaz (Azerbaijan)
Albufaz Elchibey became Azerbaijan’s president in 1992. His tenure lasted only a year and was dominated by the war with Armenian forces over Nagorno-Karabakh. He went into exile in 1993.
Albufaz Elchibey was born on 14 June 1938 in the village of Kalaki in Nakhichevan. He studied Arabic at the Baku State University and was later a professor there. He also worked as a translator in Egypt. A nationalist dissident, he was imprisoned in 1975 for anti-Soviet activities and banned from teaching. In 1989 he co-founded the Azerbaijan Popular Front Party (APF), serving as chairman until 2000.
Elchibey was elected president of Azerbaijan in June 1992, but served only 1 year of his 5 year term. He abolished the rouble in favour of the manat and replaced the Cyrillic alphabet with the Latin one. He supported calls for a unification of Turkic countries of which Azerbaijan is an ethnic member. His tenure was blighted by a painful phase of economic transition and by the war with Armenia over the break-away region of Nagorno-Karabakh. Heavy losses of troops and land and the creation of over 1 m. refugees ensured a steep decline in Elchibey’s popularity. In June 1993, fearing a military coup, he fled Baku and went into exile. He died of prostate cancer in Ankara on 22 Aug. 2000.