Gennady Matishov: Baku's multilateral contribution to Great Victory
The contribution of the Azerbaijani SSR to victory in the Great Patriotic War is underestimated, academician, chairman of the Southern Scientific Center of the Russian Academy of Sciences Gennady Matishov said, speaking to Vestnik Kavkaza on the sidelines of the International Forum of the Caucasus Studies at the Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences.
"There's not much written about the role of Azerbaijan and Azerbaijanis in the Great Patriotic War, but they need to know that Baku was one of the key links in the shipping route for Lend-Lease supplies, as they went through Iran to Baku and then to other regions of the USSR," Gennady Matishov drew attention in the first place.
Azerbaijan was also important as a base for military training. "Here pilots were taught on airplanes which were supplied by the allies. They also taught the tankmen to fight in tanks obtained through the lend-lease system," the academician said.
No less important was the Azerbaijani base of the Caspian flotilla. "Without Baku it would be impossible to supply tanks, oil, or kerosene," he recalled.
There were also hospitals in Baku where military personnel were treated. In 1941 and 1942, the servicemen of the army created before the war were also brought here for treatment," the chairman of the Southern Scientific Center of the Russian Academy of Sciences stressed.
The heroism of Azerbaijani soldiers manifested during the war should not be forgotten. "They fought very well both in Rostov and Chechnya. There were heaviest battles on the Sambek heights. Azerbaijani soldiers of the 416th 416th Taganrog Red Army Rifle Division held on like grim death there. 37 years later Heydar Aliyev erected a colossal monument on the Sambek heights in their memory," Gennady Matishov said.
Speaking about the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, the academician stressed that this is a tragedy of the two sides. "The most important thing is to imagine what we get from it. We need to make up somehow, find a common language, establish trade and humanitarian contacts, but not try to play along to someone," he said, adding that he believes that proper education of youth is the most important step in reconciliation.
"It is important to teach both in schools and in universities that there were periods in the history of the two peoples when there were no conflicts. There is a big geopolitical game in the Caucasus, as well as in the Black Sea region, and we need to understand what to do next. There is no sense in inciting the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, and we should tell young people about good relations between nations. Politicians also need it to understand what the conflict can cause to in the future and not repeat the mistakes of the past," Gennady Matishov concluded.