Heydar Aliyev's memorial day: 16th anniversary
December 12 marks the 16th anniversary of the death of the founder of the independent Azerbaijan, national leader of Azerbaijani people Heydar Ailev.
Commemoration ceremonies are held on this occasion in Azerbaijan, Russia and all over the world today, people who personally knew Heydar Aliyev share their memories of him, politicians, entrepreneurs and cultural figures give estimates of his contribution to the history of the Soviet Union and the independent Azerbaijan Republic.
A series of such memories - by Leonid Kuchma, George W. Bush, Shimon Peres, Vladimir Dolgikh, Alexander Ivanov - collected in the book 'Going ahead. On the 90th anniversary of Heydar Aliyev,' published in 2013 by Vestik Kavkaza with support from the Heydar Aliyev Fund.
Former President of Ukraine Leonid Kuchma described Heydar Aliyev as one of the most prominent leaders in the post-Soviet space.
"He laid the foundations of the Azerbaijani statehood, built a stable political power system and ruled the country with confidence until the end of his days. Being seriously ill, Aliyev managed to delegate authority not just to his son, but, above all, to a faithful ally and like-minded person Thus, stability and continuity was ensured in Azerbaijan, which is now an authoritative country not only in the Caucasus region. All this speaks of Heydar Aliyev as an insightful statesman and shrewd politician," Leonid Kuchma drew attention.
Former U.S. President George W. Bush listed the achievements achieved by independent Azerbaijan thanks to Heydar Aliyev.
"His personal efforts in the establishment of current friendship relations between the United States of America and Azerbaijan, as well as defense of Azerbaijan's independence is of vital importance. Steadiness he demonstrated in the field of achievement of the just and long-term solution of Nagorno Karabakh tragedy via the peace negotiations had been of great importance in the maintenance of the peace and stability in the region. In the meantime, his position and efforts demonstrated in attraction of the large-volume foreign investments that strengthened economic development of Azerbaijan played key role. These achievements had improved lives of million Azerbaijanis and created opportunity for Azerbaijan to come into the twentieth century as the modern state," George W. Bush pointed out.
According to the former President and Prime Minister of Israel, Nobel peace prize laureate Shimon Peres, Heydar Aliyev was a courageous leader and a man of vision.
"I had the pleasure of meeting President Heydar Aliyev at the World Economic Forum in Davos, when the Contract of the Century was signed. We had the opportunity to hold a unique conversation and an informative exchange of opinions on a wide range of issues relevant to both parties, which caused my deep respect to him as a courageous and devoted leader of his country who cares about the future. I was amazed by his inexhaustible determination to achieve and secure a better future for his people and country by promoting economic growth and discovery of Azerbaijan by a new and changing world, coupled with the freedom of religion that existed in his presidency," Shimon Peres recalled.
Former Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union Vladimir Dolgikh regularly worked with Heydar Aliyev in the 70-80s and witnessed what kind of professional leader he was. "I saw in Heydar Aliyev a smart economic executive who was able to raise thoroughly and convincingly important issues of state development to the Central Committee. And at the same time, he was calm, restrained, confident, was in character with his actions, he listened to interlocutors, asked questions and reasoned with his colleagues. So the atmosphere is favourable for reaching a constructive and successful solution to any problems," he said.
"He played a colossal historical role in the modern history of Azerbaijan. After returning from Moscow, he seemed to repeat his path. In difficult conditions, overcoming confusion and division, the economic crisis and negative external factors, he created an effective development structure with his enormous willpower and incredible patience. Of all the former Soviet republics, only Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan quickly and effectively overcame the transitional stage and took their rightful place in recent world history," Vladimir Dolgikh noted.
The head of the personal guard of Heydar Aliyev, former general director of the news agency Interfax-Azerbaijan Alexander Ivanov was one of the most closest to the national leader of Azerbaijan people.
"Heydar Aliyevich liked to meet people, communicate with them. Some leaders do not like to go down to earth, but he never trampled over the people. He is God's man, a unique one. His and his wife's warm-heartedness and attention were felt by everyone around them, by all their colleagues... By the way, there is a professional term - 'master' in our structure, the Ninth Chief Directorate (now Federal Protective Service). And for some reason we called Aliyev a father back then. And not just we, the security service, but also others. And it stayed that way - the Father, the Father of the Azerbaijani people," Alexander Ivanov concluded.