Aliyev, Heydar (Azerbaijan)
Heydar Aliyev was head of the Soviet Republic of Azerbaijan from 1969–82 and deputy prime minister of the USSR from 1982–87. After a high-profile Soviet career he emerged as an Azeri nationalist and in 1993 became president of independent Azerbaijan. Confronted by the restructuring problems of a former Soviet state, his tenure was overshadowed by conflict with the separatist Nagorno-Karabakh region. Aliyev encouraged a cult of personality, and was reluctant to give free reign to opposition parties. His son, Ilham, succeeded him in dynastic fashion in 2003 shortly before his death.
Heydar Alirza oglu Aliyev was born in the autonomous state of Nakhichevan on 10 May 1923. Leaving school at 16, he studied architecture at the Azerbaijan State University. After a period in the local government of Nakhichevan and study at the Soviet Ministry of State Security Academy in Leningrad, he joined the KGB, becoming a general in 1960 and serving as chairman from 1967–69....