Viktor Sadovnichi on Baku branch of MSU: “I have never seen such miracles!”

Interview by Maria Sidelnikova, exclusively to Vestnik Kavkaza

This week MSU hosted a presentation of the book headlined “Foregoer” devoted to the 90thanniversary of Heydar Aliyev’s birth. The book contains memories of presidents, heads of governments, foreign ministers, Azerbaijan’s leaders, political scientists, and economists. It is well-known that Aliyev was not only a politician and state activists, but also history, philosophy, literature, and art lover, a promoter of science and culture. President of MSU Viktor Sadovnichi told Vestnik Kavkaza about this side of Heydar Aliyev’s activity.

-          When he came to work at the all-Union level, including the social sphere, he paid a lot of attention to education. A special session of educational workers took place in Moscow University. And I had the honor to meet Heydar Aliyev several times on this issue. He deeply understood educational tasks and that it must be fundamental for training extra-class professionals.

At that period Azerbaijan had already the world-class schools – the Mathematics school, the Chemistry school, the Physics school which were connected with oil producing. It was due to the state of Azerbaijan and the wise policy by Heydar Aliyev. He wanted to implement this in the whole Soviet Union. He had many such ideas. There was even a plan of realization of his ideas. I believe Azerbaijan is an educated republic today; it has schools which are examples for many – this is Heydar Aliyev’s heritage. He was a person who understood the priority of education and science, not only understood, but did a lot as a wise man, strong strategist thinking about future development of the state.

-          What can you say about modern humanitarian links between Russia and Azerbaijan?

-          They are fruitful. Our roots have mingled. Several years ago I met President of the republic Ilham Aliyev, and we discussed establishing a MSU branch in Baku. It was founded the same year; and now it is successfully working. It is a brilliant university. I think history will remember this example of establishing branches. Its students got diplomas of Moscow University, professors are from Moscow University. A new campus was built. It will be a beginning of the university campus of the republic. We were the first! In a short term. I have never seen such miracles. Of course it is due to the state support and that Nargiz khanum (Baku MSU branch president) is a smart and skillful leader. I would like to thank her, as well as the republic and President

-          On May 29th elections for a president will take place in the Russian Academy of Science. Recently the irreplaceable president of the RAS, Yuri Osipov, withdrew his name from the list of nominees. Was this a surprise for you?

-          He stated that would withdraw his name long ago for various reasons. He has been heading the RAS for 20 years. He says he wants to deal with science. It wasn’t a surprise. It just was presented as if he withdrew his name at the last moment. In fact he said about it a year ago.

The strongest will win. There are three nominees who are very strong – Vladimir Yevgeniyevich Fortov, Jores Ivanovich Alfyorov, Alexander Dmitriyevich Nekipelov. We should wait a bit and on May 30th we’ll find out a name of a president of the Russian Academy of Science.


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