The Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic is a landlocked exclave of the Republic of Azerbaijan. The region covers 5,500 km2 with a population of 410,000, bordering Armenia to the east and north, Iran to the south and west, and Turkey to the northwest.
The area that is now Nakhchivan became part of the Safavid dynasty of Persia in the 16th century. In 1828, after the last Russo-Persian War and the Treaty of Turkmenchay, the Nakhchivan Khanate passed into Imperial Russian possession. After the 1917 February Revolution, Nakhchivan and its surrounding region were under the authority of the Special Transcaucasian Committee of the Russian Provisional Government and subsequently of the short-lived Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic. When the TDFR was dissolved in May 1918, Nakhchivan, Nagorno-Karabakh, Zangezur (today the Armenian province of Syunik), and Qazakh were heavily contested between the newly formed and short-lived states of the Democratic Republic of Armenia (DRA) and the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic (ADR). In June 1918, the region came under Ottoman occupation. Under the terms of the Armistice of Mudros, the Ottomans agreed to pull their troops out of the Transcaucasus to make way for British occupation at the close of the First World War. In July 1920, the Soviet Union occupied the region and on July 28, declared the Nakhchivan Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic with "close ties" to the Azerbaijan SSR, beginning seventy years of Soviet rule. In January 1990 Nakhchivan declared independence from the USSR to protest the suppression of the national movement in Azerbaijan, and became the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic within the newly independent Republic of Azerbaijan a year later.
The Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic is an autonomous area of Azerbaijan, governed by its own elected legislature. The region continues to suffer from the effects of the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan, and its Karki exclave has been under Armenian occupation ever since. The administrative capital is the city of Nakhchivan. Vasif Talibov has been the leader of the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic since 1995.