August 1991 Azerbaijan declares independence from the Soviet Union. Ayaz Mutalibov, the former first secretary of the Azerbaijan Communist Party, becomes president.
March 1992 President Mutalibov resigns following the escalation of hostilities in the Nagorno-Karabakh region, which formally declares independence from Azerbaijan in December. The subsequent two-year war results in more than 30,000 deaths and hundreds of thousands of refugees.
June 1992 Abulfaz Elchibey, leader of the opposition Popular Front Party (AXCP- Azarbaycan Xalq Cabhasi Partiyasi), is elected president. The worsening Nagorno-Karabakh situation, poor economic management and widespread corruption leads to an armed insurrection in Ganja, Azerbaijan's second-largest city, in June 1993. President Elchibey is deposed by a national referendum two months later, and the National Council confers presidential powers upon its new speaker, Heydar Aliyev.
October 1993 Aliyev is elected president with over 98 percent of the votes. He names Surat Husseinov prime minister.
May 1994 Armenia, Azerbaijan and Nagorno-Karabakh sign a cease-fire agreement brokered by Russia. Despite the agreement, sporadic violence will continue for years.
October 1994 Prime Minister Husseinov is accused of plotting a coup supported by Russia, where he flees. Russia extradites Husseinov in March 1997 to Azerbaijan, where he is later sentenced to life imprisonment.
November 1995 Azerbaijan's first members of Parliament are elected.
February 1998 President Aliyev fires his Foreign Minister Hasan Hasanov, who is linked to a building project scandal.
August 1998 The government lifts pre-publication censorship. However, politically-motivated defamation suits and the beating and detention of journalists continue.
November 1998 President Aliyev fires Gyulabbas Gakhramanov, head of the committee for refugees, for involvement in a scandal over embezzlement of foreign aid. He also reprimands other senior officials for their inability to control corruption.
September 2001 Czech-born financier Viktor Kozeny tells the Wall Street Journal he spent 381 billion manat (US$83 million) bribing high-ranking Azeri officials to give a U.S. client the contract for privatizing the State Oil Company of the Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR).
January 2003 The Ministry of Tax begins investigating corruption in SOCAR, resulting in the arrest of two officials. The investigation reveals involvement of hundreds of private companies in the corruption scheme, but effects no real changes in SOCAR's accountability or transparency.
August 2003 Ailing President Aliyev appoints his son Ilham prime minister, putting him in line to succeed his father. The senior Aliyev dies in December.
October 2003 Ilham Aliyev is elected president in a landslide victory.
January 2004 Parliament adopts a new anti-corruption law that defines corruption and outlines public officials' responsibility to fight it but does not require them to disclose their assets or income. President Aliyev issues a decree in March delaying implementation of the law until January 2005 and establishing an anti-corruption agency under the prosecutor-general.
February 2004 Azerbaijan signs the U.N. Convention against Corruption.
April 2004 The Commission for the Fight against Corruption is constituted at the first meeting of the civil service executive board. The commission comprises members from all three branches of government but lacks civil society and media representatives.
December 2004 Several high-ranking military officers are arrested on corruption charges and dozens more are demoted. The officers are accused of participating in a scam involving the construction of canteens and other military facilities.
March 2005 Elmar Huseinov, editor of the opposition magazine Monitor and outspoken critic of the government, is killed in front of his Baku apartment building.
October 2005 Former Economic Development Minister Farhad Aliyev is dismissed from his post and charged with embezzlement and plotting a coup against the government.
October 2005 A U.S. federal grand jury in New York indicts AIG Global Investment executive David Pinkerton, Czech Promoter Victor Kozeny, and handbag maker Frederick Bourke on money laundering charges. The three men are accused of trying to bribe the Azerbaijani government in a scheme that would have given them control of the State Oil Company of the Azerbaijan Republic.
November 2005 The ruling New Azerbaijan Party (YAP-Yeni Azarbaycan Partiyasi) wins the parliamentary election by a wide margin, after a campaign in which several opposition leaders are arrested or otherwise harassed by the government. International observers claim the election failed to meet democratic standards, and thousands of people turn out in the streets of Baku to protest the results. The constitutional court annuls the results in 10 districts, ordering new polls to take place in May 2006.
July 2006 An extensive survey conducted by the World Bank says corruption in Azerbaijan did not improve between 2002 and 2005.
July 2006 Haci Mammadov, former head of the Interior Ministry's criminal investigation department, confesses to murdering Elmar Huseinov at the behest of dismissed Minister Farhad Aliyev. Aliyev maintains his innocence. Mammadov also admits to killing fellow Interior Ministry official Azer Ismaylov.
July 2006 A World Bank survey shows corruption in Azerbaijan had not improved between the years of 2002 and 2005.
Haci Mammadov, former head of the Interior Ministry's criminal investigation department, confesses to murdering magazine editor Elmar Huseinov at the request of former Azerbaijani Economy Minister Farhad Aliyev. Aliyev maintains his innocence. Mammadov also admits to killing Azer Ismaylov, a fellow Interior Ministry official.
The Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline, which runs through Azerbaijan and connects the Caspian Sea to the Mediterranean Sea, opens.
August 2006 Alihuseyn Shaliyev, a former Ministry of Economic Development official in pretrial detention, is found dead at a hospital. Shaliyev was arrested in October 2005 in connection with an alleged coup plan.
January 2007 Amnesty International's yearly report states that journalists working on news stories about Azerbaijani officials' corruption and abuses of power face an increasing threat of politically-motivated arrests and, sometimes, deadly attacks.
April 2007 A court with the Department of Serious Crimes sentences former Health Minister Ali Insanow to 11 years in prison and confiscates his property worth US$17 million after finding him guilty of embezzling large amounts of state property and abusing authority.
May 2007 The joint office of the two opposition newspapers, Realniy Azerbaijan (Real Azerbaijan) and Gyundelik Azerbaijan (Azerbaijan Daily), are closed down by the authorities, says the editor. Authorities claim that the office was closed because of maintenance problems and fire safety. Only a month earlier, the founder of Realniy Azerbaijan, Einulla Fatullayev, was sentenced to 30 months in prison for defaming the armed forces.
An Azerbaijani court puts two independent journalists in jail because of an article claiming that Islam is hindering economic and political progress.
July 2007 Mushfig Guseinov, a journalist for the Bizim Yol newspaper, is arrested for taking a US$3,500 bribe from Rizvan Aliev, the head of the office of the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection of Population, in exchange for not publishing scandalous information about him.
November 2007 Ganimat Zakhidov, editor-in-chief of the opposition newspaper Azadlyg (Freedom) is arrested for hooliganism after being attacked at the from door of his newspaper. European and American diplomats protest his detention. Zakhidov faces five years imprisonment if convicted.
February 2008 The Azerbaijan Anti-Corruption Fund creates the Anti-Corruption Education and Virtual Centre for Consultations with backing from the Azerbaijani Commission to Fight Corruption. The project, which will inform citizens about the country's anti-corruption efforts, will last for one year in 12 of the country's regions.
March 2008 The BBC reports, Musavat Party leader Isa Qambar calls for the resignation of President Ilham Heydar oglu Aliyev's "regime". At an Azerbaijani roundtable discussion of the National Budget Group and the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) coalition, Qambar blames the president for the country's corruption problems.
May 2008 After moving forward with the non-profit Election Monitoring Center's application, the Ministry of Justice revokes the organization's approval process. The ministry cites paperwork errors as its reason. The Election Monitoring Center's appeals are denied and as of early 2009, it remained unclear if the case would be heard by the Supreme Court.
June 2008 The BBC reports, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev promises to turn the country's oil wealth into human capital and increase development. Meanwhile, opposition newspaper Azadliq, criticizes the government, calling oil revenue "the object of corruption." The newspaper claims the government invests money into corruption-prone projects like massive construction ventures.
In light of increased military spending, Azerbaijani expert Qubad Ibadoglu calls on the government to adopt more financial transparency in military expenditures.
June 26 2008 A new Freedom of Assembly law expands upon the freedoms of the past. In reality, preferences are given to pro-government rallies. Following Aliyev's reelection in October, supporters are allowed to gather in the city center, an area off limits to opposition rallies.
July 2008 The BBC reports, The Azerbaijani newspaper Zerkalo blames increasing economic inflation on government corruption and calls Azerbaijanis apathetic for letting bribery happen.
August 2008 In an effort to increase civil society capacity, the government provides approximately $1.4 million worth of grants to registered NGOs. Most of the recipients are pro-government, but some have track-records of dissent.
October 2008 Ilham Aliyev is reelected president. International election observers are not convinced it is a truly fair election, although they cite improvements in the voting process. Opposition parties boycott the vote.
October 18, 2008 Journalist Sakit Zahidov is beaten after being taken into custody. Prison officials claim he brought it upon himself after refusing a standard prison haircut.
October 2008 Moscow-based journalist Rustam Ibragimbekov speaks out against top-level Azerbaijani politicians saying they receive their positions through patronage and personal connections. In an impromptu session of Parliament this month, MPs criticize Ibragimbekov, although no legal action is taken.
December 2008 The National Television and Radio Council banishes Voice of America, Radio Liberty, Europa Plus and the BBC from broadcasting on TV or FM radio. This leaves the public with no international and unbiased media options other than the already restricted satellite channels.
March 2009 An overwhelming majority of Azerbaijani parliament members vote to abolish the two-term limit for the executive. This makes President Aliyev eligible for a third term.