"Azerbaijan Democratic Republic gives alternative to Islamic world"
The Azerbaijan Democratic Republic, which was established 100 years ago on May 28, 1918, was a true innovator in state building among the eastern countries, the Russian experts said, speaking with the correspondents of Vestnik Kavkaza about ADR's contribution to the region's history.
A political analyst, Candidate of Historical Sciences Oleg Kuznetsov, emphasized the importance of the secular status of the ADR authorities for that time. "The Azerbaijani Democratic Republic was the first secular state in the Muslim world, it was originally built on democratic principles. It was also related to religious freedom, which was a fundamentally new step not only for the Near East and the Islamic world, but European countries as well, in many of which confessional affiliation determined the social status of a person for a long time (in Europe it mainly happened in the late 1920s-early 1930s)," he noted in the first place.
"A very important innovation of ADR was universal suffrage and equality of people before the law and court, regardless of their social status. It was also important for the republic to switch to Latin alphabet. All this created an alternative to the clerical ideology that at that time existed in all countries of the Near East and the Islamic world," Oleg Kuznetsov drew attention.
The experience of ADR was then used by key eastern countries. "The further development of the main countries of the Greater Middle East or of the Near East and Central Asia went along the Azerbaijani route designated by its first republic. The same principles proclaimed by Azerbaijan in 1918, then were repeated by Turkey in 1923 and Persia in 1924," the historian explained.
Modern Azerbaijan, in his estimation, is a full-fledged successor to the ADR democratic principles. "The principles that were proclaimed in the ADR has been the basis of Azerbaijan's political regime. Many Azeri scholars cover the legacy of the ADR, which is an important layer of the Azerbaijani historical and political science. Special attention is given to the history of ADR in the school education, not only for Russian or English, but also for the Azerbaijani sector of education. The ADR political heritage is decisive for modern Azerbaijan," Oleg Kuznetsov concluded.
The leading expert of the North-South Political Science Center, Alexander Karavaev, stressed the importance of work to consolidate social democratic values in a single national state in hangover of the state building experience in the ADR. "Social-Democratic values will subsequently correspond with the postulates of the Soviet Constitution. I mean the abolition of class property, an 8-hour working day, free education. Social-democratic values and rights were proclaimed before the formation of the republic at the Congress of Musavat Party and they became regulating norms and legal postulates for the ADR," he said.
"One of examples of preserving the ADR values in the minds of the Soviet elite in Azerbaijan was the re-establishment of the Azerbaijani language as state language in the 1978 Constitution. In the 1925 Constitution, the Azerbaijani language was listed as state language, but in 1978 the Central Committee of the CPSU wanted to change it, since the party leaders considered that the maximum implementation of national programs had been achieved. Heydar Aliyev then managed to keep the point about the state Azerbaijani language in the new Constitution by means of political maneuvering," Alexander Karavaev added.
"The combination of several values of the ADR, which relate to the freedom, equality of citizens and democratic principles of state building, also manifested themselves in those days, the possibility of including them in the Constitution was discussed. The aspects related to freedom of property appeared already in the 90s, and all this was revived within the framework of the Constitution of the Republic of Azerbaijan in 1995," the leading expert of the North-South Political Science Center concluded.