Nargiz Pashayeva: "People who live in the post-Soviet space are close to each other from the point of view of both geography and mentality"
International scientific conference "From Ancient Russia to the Russian Federation," hosted at MSU many eminent specialists in humanities, who gave their assessment to the consequences of the formation of Russian statehood.
Thus, according to the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill, there is no future without the past, as "the true value is not transmitted except by tradition." In this regard, the patriarch warned against "mad Westernization" of the state and the cultural system of Russia: "We should not copy anything, because the copy is always worse than the original ...If you build a civilization on imitation, it will always lag behind the original ...it is quite important to understand that the preservation of power institutions is the key to the prosperity of society ...There is no other field except the academic one which influences the formation of the person, including a person's ability to think several times before saying anything. "
State Duma Speaker Sergei Naryshkin said that this year is declared the Year of Russian history: "The attention to history should not fade away after this milestone year. One of the main aims of the Year of Russian history is not to forget its lessons."
Moscow State University Rector Viktor Sadovnichy told that before the conference, together with the rector of the Baku branch of Moscow State University Nargiz Pashayeva and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev in Baku he had opened a new branch campus of the University of MSU. "We constructed an outstanding university building and new campus. And now there are students there who study the program of the Moscow University, and MSU professors teach them. For Azerbaijan, this event was considered to be an event at a state level ... Frontiers recently appeared cannot cross ties binding us, and our “crowns” are already heavily intertwined. Russian statehood is not only the conquest of space, but this is tempered spirit forming a new nation. "
Nargiz Pashayeva also came to MSU for the conference, and her performance was perhaps the most interesting, as it reflects, on the one hand, "the view of the bystander", and on the other hand - the position of the scientist, which has much in common with the Russian colleagues. “We would be right to present Russia – a great country of great people and great ideas – as a country which traditionally was aimed at consolidating Western and Eastern civilizations”, Pashayeva said. “Many historians have puzzled and will puzzle their heads over a tendency to underestimate some and exaggerate other facts. Of course it is difficult to define everything at once; but the point is not to make silly mistakes. “States die when they cannot separate the good people from the bad,” the ancient philosopher Antisfen wrote. In our interpretation, this phrase refers to the collapse of the Soviet Union too. The current role and importance of Russia in the world are obvious; and there are no serious political processes which wouldn’t involve it. Today the Russian state gains new qualities, a new understanding of time. It enables Russia to gain a new potential of a strong state. If accents are placed in the right way and the past is analyzed, we can come to a correct conclusion as to what good is and what bad is. Thus, we can establish a stable security system for future political, national, and social prospects. It is no secret that every historical stage can raise or destroy itself. When the Russian authorities of the 19th century sent the great Dostoyevsky to prison for his thoughts only, when in the 20th century KGB servicemen beat Lev Gumilyov, trying to make him confess that Anna Akhmatova was a spy, both of these states doomed themselves to be destroyed. We, Azerbaijanis, will always remember the tragic fate of our prominent poets Mikael Mushfig and Husein Djavid, who were also victims of their works and romantic ideas.
All these numerous deeds which were committed as if in favor of the good – the preservation of the state – were directed in reality at self-destruction. Now that these facts have received late but precise appraisal, we understand that one cannot build through destruction and one cannot preserve through murder. It means that the tragedies and joys, reality and myths of our common history are phenomena of one category. People who live in the post-Soviet space are close to each other from the point of view of mentality. Despite all difficulties, disputes, conflicts, and wars, we will always be consolidated by the common past. Any society and any state have postulates which cannot be defined and presented at once. Their basis is faith and the good. It includes humanitarian acts, cultural approaches, instances of cooperation, and so on.
But there are some tendencies in the modern world which have to be prevented. Today many valuable calls are interpreted as simple slogans. We should avoid turning a prayer into farce. All historical events should contribute to knowledge, but not dry information, contribute to gaining views, analysis, and firm philosophical studies. A lot of information is available to everybody today. But having information doesn’t mean having knowledge. Rich information capacity can’t prevent scarce knowledge. Strong states and strong national institutions rely on precise and true knowledge.
One of the main tasks for the post-Soviet space is the presence of knowledge. Skeptics might doubt the advantages of knowledge in comparison with power. But let us remember the classic formula: knowledge is power. This is universal for all times. If we consider the post-Soviet space as something integral, we should admit that it consists of separate constituents. Russia is the biggest part; Azerbaijan is the biggest republic in the Caucasus. Russia began to pay attention to the region under Peter I. Baku and Derbent were interesting. Peter I ordered a map of the Caspian Sea to be printed. In fact, since that time the process of the pro-Russian orientation of the northern-Azerbaijani khanates began – the Derbent, Kubin, Shekin, Karabakh, Talysh khanates. However, they were still ruled by the Persian Shah; the Russian-Persian war for the South Caucasus was taking place. In this situation the governor of the Karabakh khanate, Ibrahim-khan, was one of the first Azerbaijani khans to decide to join the Russian Empire willingly. It was 1813 – a time of a very difficult geopolitical situation. Two years later a preference for Russia becomes even clearer to the Azerbaijani khanates. The golden age begins from that time: the 19th century was an era of bright Russian-Azerbaijani relations. It is quite a big and interesting topic. I will give you a couple of examples. In 1906-1907 the Azerbaijani magazine Fiyuzat and in 1909 the magazine Mollah Nasredin wrote about Leo Tolstoy as a new prophet who consolidated Christians and Muslims. Tolstoy’s influence on social views and the literary sphere was enormous. Outstanding Azerbaijani writers and scientists M. Akhundov, C. Ganizade, Suleiman Sani Akhundov, Abdullah Shaig, Muhammed-aga Shakhtaktinsly, and others translated Tolstoy’s works into Azerbaijani. By the middle of the 19th century the first secular schools appeared in Azerbaijan. The first text-books were printed: the Alphabet, New Alphabet, Reading-Book, Arithmetic by Tolstoy were basis of these text-books. Tolstoy’s stories for children were learnt in schools. In 1906 the magazine Debistan published the first translation of Tolstoy’s story “God sees the truth, but won’t tell it soon.” The translation was made by a student of the Baku Russian-Muslim School, Gaji-aga Abbasov, who later became a Peoples Artist of Azerbaijan. In 1907 Gaji –aga came to Yasnaya Polyana together with the principal and presented his translation to Tolstoy. In return the great writer presented him War and Peace with his signature. Many children of Azerbaijani culture had visited Yasnaya Polyana then; they communicated with Leo Tolstoy through letters and asked his opinion on many cultural issues.
The 19th century’s history, the golden age of Azerbaijani Enlightenment, is full of such facts. They represent not only scientific and literary, but also inter-cultural, historic, moral-aesthetic and humanitarian aspects. They illustrate Russian-Azerbaijani cultural and spiritual ties. One cannot live in stagnation. People, states, the world are changing all the time. Awful corruptions of history gain a natural image one day. The ideas of humanism, fairness, and freedom remain the bases of any state. Residential areas, including the post-Soviet space, should preserve themselves, first of all, shouldn’t make previous mistakes, should prevent new wars and try to establish such a balanced atmosphere where all parts of this integral phenomenon would be prosperous and safe. It is possible, we believe. The point is in will and desire. “It doesn’t matter what they make of me. It matters what I have make of what they make of me.” This phrase was said by Jean-Paul Sartre. Interpreting it, we can say: people of the post-Soviet space, it doesn’t matter now what was in the past; today it is important what we will make of ourselves; and let’s do something good.