This paper examines the reaction of a secular state to the irruption of various religious actors, who impose their religious agenda in the public sphere.  The Republic of Azerbaijan is a 95% Muslim country, with a Shiite majority.  It also comprises different religious minorities (Christians, Jews, and others), remainders of a more multicultural society, and newly arrived Evangelists.  Breaking with seventy years of official atheism, the newly independent Republic has recognised religious freedom in 1992.  However, as a heritage from the Soviet era, it has been keeping a vigilant eye on religious issues through recycling the almost-two-century-old Spiritual Board of the Muslims of the Caucasus, and creating in 2001 a State Committee for Religious Affairs.  This two-headed structure is not free from frictions on the definition of its attribution.  After describing this context, the author casts a light on the current irruption of new religious actors into the Azerbaijani political arena.  He emphasises the role played by varied Muslim influences, mainly from Turkey and Iran, which have been described elsewhere.  Poorly studied in the literature about the Caucasus, the impact of the Evangelists is not asserted in this article.  In sum, the paper provides some very interesting insights about the religious policy of the Republic of Azerbaijan, though lacking a clear argument.

Gilles Riaux, French Institute of Research in Iran, Tehran
CER: I-5.2.B-424