Day of Remembrance for Heydar Aliyev in Russia
May 10 marked the 93rd birthday anniversary of the national leader of Azerbaijan, Heydar Aliyev. When Aliyev was a member of the Politburo of the Central Committee of CPSU, he was an unfavorable person for the USSR President. He was forced to resign in 1987 and leave the position of the Chairman of the USSR Council of Ministers. That was the start of difficult days for Azerbaijan. In a few months, Armenia made territorial claims to Azerbaijani lands. It resulted in the Karabakh war. Political scientists believe that the removal of Heydar Aliyev from power in the Soviet state could be explained by Mikhail Gorbachev’s fear. It was not a surprise, because Aliyev was highly respected and had a great potential; he was one of real candidates for the position of the head of the USSR, i.e. the strongest rival of Gorbachev.
Day of Remembrance for Heydar Aliyev in Russia provided politicians, economists, experts with an opportunity not only to say kind words of the national leader of Azerbaijan, but also to talk about the current stage of the country’s development
Alexander Dzasokhov, the Vice President of the Russian Council for International Affairs, the former president of North Ossetia, told Vestnik Kavkaza that “time has no power over the scale of Heydar Aliyev’s personality. He was one of the key leaders of our great country and contributed to the development of the USSR a lot. He was an outstanding representative of the Soviet era and, of course, a recognized leader of the Azerbaijani people. Heydar Aliyev dedicated himself to work which is being continued today by president Ilham Aliyev. Azerbaijan is becoming a center of many international events – European Olympic Games and other wide-scale cultural and sports events. We wish independent Azerbaijan success, good neighborly and brotherly relations with Russia.”
Polad Byulbyuloglu, the Ambassador of Azerbaijan to Moscow, reminded that the building of the Azerbaijani embassy was built in the Russian capital on Heydar Aliyev’s initiative and under his direct supervision: “He visited the building many times. On January 21st, 1990, the tragic days for the Azerbaijani people, he spoke at the building and gave a political assessment to the situation … When I was an artist, Heydar Aliyev was the leader of Soviet Azerbaijan, the First Secretary of the Central Committee. Of course, nothing could happen in the republic at that time without Heydar Aliyev knowing about it. Numerous Azerbaijani composers, artists, singers, musicians, writers are grateful to Heydar Aliyev for an opportunity to grow in their field that was provided to them.
In 1993, Heydar Aliyev returned to an almost destroyed country where a fratricidal war had started. Due to his experience, understanding the people, and political skills, he figured out the situation. He was an architect of modern Azerbaijan… He raised the son who is leading Azerbaijani politics with confidence today. Everything that we have today is connected with Heydar Aliyev. Wisdom of Heydar Aliyev, which predetermined development of Azerbaijan for many future decades, demonstrates his vision and an ability to see beyond the horizon.”
Sergey Lebedev, the Chairman of the Executive Committee of the CIS, told Vestnik Kavkaza that Heydar Aliyev was a strong internationalist: “He contributed to preservation of friendly, brotherly relations between peoples living in Azerbaijan and the Soviet Union in general, when he was working in Moscow. Today we should preserve traditions of internationalism, which were promoted by Heydar Aliyev. He also did a lot to establish Azerbaijan and let it prosper. I was lucky to meet with him a few times in Baku and Moscow. Our talks impressed me greatly. I remember his wisdom, vision, an ability to listen and respect an opinion of his interlocutors. He knew how to listen, how to argue his position. All these skills of Aliyev as a person and a state official earn him great respect today and that is how we remember Heydar Aliyev.”
Speaking about the conflict in Karabakh, Lebedev noted: “Any troubles, moreover, conflicts between countries of the Commonwealth hurt me so much, as I am the Chairman of the Executive Council of the CIS. We are doing our best to contribute to conflict resolution through peaceful means. I hope the peace talks will be renewed and lead to a resolution of the problems which are now burdening relations not only between Azerbaijan and Armenia, but also some other countries of the Commonwealth.”
“For everybody who has a connection to Azerbaijan –roots, friendship, memory – the 10th of May is a special day,” Mikhail Guzman, the Deputy Director General of TASS, told Vestnik Kavkaza. “Heydar Aliyev is a special person for me and for hundreds of thousands people of my generation. At that time, when Heydar Aliyev headed the republic as the Chairman of the Communist Party Central Committee of Azerbaijan, the civil society was being established and the people of my generation were maturing. We went to the ‘school of life’, when Heydar Aliyev headed the republic. It was very important for us that Azerbaijan was the most advanced republic of our common home, the USSR, at the period. Brezhnev’s phrase ‘Azerbaijan walks tall!’ was not just words; it was appreciation of labor of millions of citizens of Azerbaijan, who were led by Heydar Aliyev. We will always remember him in our hearts. The foundation that he laid at that time serves as a basis for implementation of projects in modern Azerbaijan, for the path chosen by the current president Ilham Alieyev.”
… History knows no ifs, but when we speak about the last years of the USSR, we can’t but wonder: what would it be like, if not Gorbachev, but Aliyev became the Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Council of the USSR in 1988? Probably, he would have managed to preserve economic contacts within the Soviet Union – the experienced leader had will and intelligence to do that. And the achievements of modern Azerbaijan prove the above statement.