Iosif Kobzon: "Azerbaijan is a noble country"
Yesterday the Azerbaijani Embassy of Russia held a traditional evening dedicated to Azerbaijani national leader Heydar Aliyev. On the sidelines of the event, first deputy chairman of the Russian State Duma Committee on Culture, People's Artist of the USSR, Hero of Labor of Russia Iosif Kobzon disscussed the life of Russian-speaking population in Azerbaijan in an interview with Vestnik Kavkaza.
- What is the current state of interethnic relations in Azerbaijan?
- Baku has always been multiethnic city, because Azerbaijan is a very noble country. It does not try to put people against each other either in schools, or in institutions, at public meetings. This is why Azerbaijan is a noble country: they kept their own national culture, national music, traditions, preserved the East in the best sense of word, while making everything for development of their children. Azerbaijan continues to actively develop - every time I visit Baku I'm always amazed by how the city has changed, by the number of new buildings. Authorities really care about the future, they invest in all money earned by the republic into its development. And people believe them, they are grateful.
- What can you tell about today's live of Russian-speaking population of Azerbaijan?
- It's no worse than in Russia. They feel free, especially in their expression of will. No one stops them from celebrating Orthodox and Russian holidays. The fact that a lot of Russian people live in Azerbaijan today is just a fate, just like the fact that many Azerbaijanis live in Russia. No one oppresses Azerbaijanis in Russia, and Azerbaijanis have great relations with Russian people. Of course, it's unlikely that all Russians are living there without any problems, but those who work hard, set goals and achieve them, are living great and have a bright future, because the government headed by Ilham Aliyev cares about them. So I don't worry about not only Russian, but about any other diaspora that lives in Azerbaijan today.
- What is the secret of such interethnic harmony?
- What does the preservation of nation mean? It means preservation of language, culture, national traditions - and Azerbaijan pays a lot of attention to this, it constantly works in this direction. I participated in spiritual forum in Baku, which was attended by people of different nationalities and from different countries, including, of course, representatives of Russia, who talked about their spiritual fate - this is very important. When we fight against international terrorism, we forget to say that civilized man will never do anything like this, his ideology just won't allow him to blow up and kill people. But in order to create this ideology a lot of things must be done. At the same time, culture should remain national, and Russians, no matter where they live, must be proud of their culture.