Azerbaijan marks the 20th anniversary of National Salvation Day

Azerbaijan marks the 20th anniversary of National Salvation Day


Daniil Galitsky, exclusively to Vestnik Kavkaza

An all-people festivals devoted to National Salvation Day took place in Azerbaijan on June 15th. This day is a public holiday. A concert program and festive fireworks are annually organized in the National Seafront Park in Baku. This year Baku residents decided to mark the 20th anniversary in an original style: many of them took part in a festive bike ride. Professionals participated along with amateurs: Elchin Asadov, one of members of the Azerbaijani team in Iran International Cycling Tour, took part in the bike ride as well, but the initiators divided participants into several groups. The winners were awarded with professional outfits, all participants got memo prizes.

The National Salvation Day of Azerbaijan is marked annually on June 15th, 1997; since 1998, it has been a public holiday in Azerbaijan. This day twenty years ago Heydar Aliyev was elected the chairman of the Azerbaijani parliament.

Heydar Aliyev came into office at a difficult time for Azerbaijan. After the collapse of the USSR, the smoldering conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan about Nagorno-Konflict stepped into the stage of military activities. The unsuccessful steps taken by the Military Forces of Azerbaijan in early 1992 led to resignation of President Ayaz Mutalibov; in May the reaction of the opposition on restoration of Mutalibov at the presidential position caused deepening of confrontation with supporters of the power. The forces of the opposition People’s Front occupied the city and demanded from President to resign in few hours. The internal political crisis grew; a civil war was ready to burst in the country. Along with internal problems, the foreign position became worse: the difficultly held balance in the front was destroyed; and at the turn of 1992-1993 the Armenian side achieved a breakthrough.

The situation was disastrous. In May 1993 the protest against the new president Abulfaz Elchibey turned into an organized armed confrontation headed by Suret Huseinov, the participant of the Karabakh war. The governmental operation on disarmament of Huseinov’s forces failed, and the president urgently called for Heydar Aliyev. However, the negotiations with Huseinov became deadlocked. On June 10th the chairman of the People’s Council (the parliament) Isa Gambar resigned, and Heydar Aliyev was elected the chairman of the parliament on June 15th. When Elchibey suddenly flew to Nahichevan, Heydar Aliyev got presidential functions. On October 3rd, 1993, he was elected the president of Azerbaijan. Aliyev managed to stabilize the situation and in May 1994 the seize-fire treaty was signed.

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