Every year on 10th of May Azerbaijani people commemorates Heydar Aliyev, national leader of Azerbaijan, prominent public figure, who left an indelible legacy in the history of modern Azerbaijani statehood, of which he laid the foundation.
Heydar Alirza oghlu Aliyev was born on 10 May 1923 in the town of Nakhchivan, Azerbaijan, to the family of a railroad worker. After graduating from Nakhchivan Pedagogical School in 1939, he attended the Azerbaijan Industrial Institute, where he studied architecture.
From 1941 to 1944, he held various posts at the People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs and the Council of People's Commissars in the Autonomous Republic of Nakhchivan, and in 1944 he started his career in the state security services. With special higher education and training courses in Moscow and Leningrad (nowadays St. Petersburg), Heydar Aliyev also graduated from the History Department of Azerbaijan State University in 1957.
With 25 years of experience in the state security agencies, he was appointed as the Deputy Chairman of the Committee for the State Security at the Cabinet of Ministers of the Soviet Socialist Republic of Azerbaijan in 1965, and he was promoted to the position of the CSS Chairman in 1967.
Following his election to the Chairman of the Central Committee of the Azerbaijani Communist Party in July 1969, he led Azerbaijan until 1982. His able and efficient leadership of the country in this period could be characterized with strengthening the administration and effective management of human resources which resulted in a significant economic and social progress.
Heydar Aliyev was elected the Political Bureau (Politburo) of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in December 1982 and appointed to the position of the First Deputy Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers of the USSR. Heydar Aliyev resigned from his official positions in October 1987.
Upon his return to Azerbaijan in July 1990, Heydar Aliyev first stayed in Baku and then moved to Nakhchivan, from where he was elected to the Supreme Soviet (Parliament) of Azerbaijan the same year. In 1991-1993, he was holding the position of the Chairman of the Supreme Majlis (the legislative body) of the Autonomous Republic of Nakhchivan and the Deputy Chairman of the Azerbaijan Supreme Majlis.
In May-June 1993, amidst acute government crisis fraught with civil war, which compromised Azerbaijan's very existence as an independent state, the mass movement demanding Heydar Aliyev's return to power became the dominant force in Azerbaijan. On October 3, 1993, Heydar Aliyev was elected the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan in the course of the national elections. Following his assumption of office, the political, economic, social and cultural life in the country revived, its international relations was revitalized, and the process of building of genuinely independent statehood started. During his first years in power, in 1993-1995, Heydar Aliyev ensured domestic stability and solidarity, which became the prerequisites of country's economic development.
On September 20, 1994, the Contract of the Century was signed in Baku with 11 world major oil companies. By ensuring access of Azerbaijan's energy resources to the world market in a period of geopolitical hardships, Heydar Aliyev secured a prosperous future for future generations at the same time forging a balanced and multi-vectored foreign policy concept.
The period when Heydar Aliyev was in power was marked with many significant developments in Azerbaijan like adoption of the Constitution of the independent Azerbaijan in 1995, first independent and democratic parliamentary elections in the same year, introduction of the Constitutional Court, abolishment of the death penalty, municipal elections etc.
Heydar Aliyev spared no efforts to liberate Nagorno-Karabakh and seven adjacent districts of Azerbaijan occupied by Armenia, delivering fair message of Azerbaijan to the world from various international rostra.
On October 11, 1998, he was re-elected the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan with 76.1 percent of the votes. First ever Congress of Azerbaijanis of the World held in Baku on November 9-10, 2001 at the initiative of Heydar Aliyev contributed largely to the improvement of the coordination between Azerbaijanis and raising efficiency of their actions.
Heydar Aliyev, the national leader of Azerbaijan, passed away on December 12, 2003, and was buried at the Honorary Cemetery in Baku on December 15, 2003.