Dmitry Savelyev: "Russians return from Azerbaijan, having fallen in love with republic"
An official opening ceremony of the Azerbaijan's autumn gifts festival took place on Tverskaya Square in Moscow. On the sidelines of this event, the head of the Russian-Azerbaijani parliamentary group, State Duma Deputy Dmitry Savelyev told Vestnik Kavkaza about the current state and prospects for cultural cooperation between the two countries.
- Dmitry Ivanovich, first of all, how do you assess the organization and the very idea of the festival?
- It's a great exhibition. I'm glad that such major events take place in the center of Moscow - and we would like such beautiful and meaningful events to be held in the regions of Russia as well. Russia is a big country, Moscow is its center, but working with the regions is also important. Of course, such exhibitions should also be held in Moscow more often. Those Russians who visited Baku, bring home a piece of Azerbaijani culture with them, due to which their attitude towards Azerbaijan changes drastically. Those who once heard about Azerbaijan and visit it, return from there, having fallen in love with republic completely - but also there are those who have never been there, and they should be motivated to visit Baku. Such exhibitions, among other things, are designed to achieve this goal: when a person come here, he comes into contact with Azerbaijan culture, art and cuisine. There is a magnificent restaurant with Azerbaijani dishes at this exhibition, ranging from tandyr bread to delicious delicacies. It motivates people, so they leave this place in a great mood, interested in Azerbaijan and the Azerbaijanis.
- As a rule, such exhibitions have a bilateral format. Is a similar Russian exhibition in Baku being organised?
- When Sergey Sobyanin was in Azerbaijan, he discussed the issue of holding the Days of Moscow in Baku. I think such event will be organized in the medium term. Many Azerbaijanis have been in Russia, first of all, of course, in Moscow and St. Petersburg, many have received their education here. I served in Soviet Baku and remember those times with warmth. People served in the Soviet army regardless of nationality, Azerbaijanis served throughout the RSFSR, Ukraine, and there was a rotation, so conscripts served in several regions. I would like more Russians to visit Baku and the regions of Azerbaijan. It has great ski resorts, which I highly recommend Russians to visit.
- On October 18, Azerbaijan celebrates the restoration of the state independence. How do you assess the distance covered by the republic in 27 years?
- We see a breakthrough made by Azerbaijan since that time - both in the economic and political sense. Now Azerbaijan occupies a very serious position in the international arena, its authority is constantly being strengthened by efforts of President Ilham Aliyev. Therefore, I would like to wish Mr. President, his family, Mehriban Aliyeva, his daughters, grandchildren and the entire Azerbaijani people good health. May Azerbaijanis have a smile on their faces more often, and every family live in plenty!