"I have always been proud and today I am proud that I am Azerbaijani!" Heydar Aliyev
There are leaders who go down in history and remain there. And there are leaders who create national history. Heydar Aliyev became the leader who created the modern history of Azerbaijan. History remembers him as a true legend of his time, a strong head of state and a devoted and unique figure able to take on difficult historical task of state building.
This year Azerbaijan celebrates 97th anniversary of birth of National Leader of Azerbaijan – Heydar Aliyev. Great Heydar Aliyev was an outstanding statesman and a world scale politician.
35-year-old history of Azerbaijan covering the period from the late 1960s to the beginning of the XXI century, is directly connected with the name of Heydar Aliyev. His political flair and priceless human qualities enabled the young state to stand on its feet and successfully enter the twenty-first century as an independent country. Under his leadership, he took responsibility for his country, brought together like-minded people and together with them, overcame severe and serious obstacles, created a strong and independent state – modern Azerbaijan.
Since the appointment to the post of the leader of Soviet Azerbaijan in July, 1969, Heydar Aliyev started the process of significant transformation in Azerbaijan. "Modernisation" is the most accurate word to describe his then activities. During his leadership, oil industry and refineries have been completely updated and modernized, a number of plants, modern hydroelectric power stations and textile factories have been constructed, implementation process of high-tech production in many fields started, agricultural development has gained a new impetus and the people’s social and cultural wellbeing was further enriched.
Under his supervision, Azerbaijan achieved a great success in economy and became the forefront on an all-Union scale. Over these years, the industrial potential of Azerbaijan has more than doubled.
In 1982, Heydar Aliyev was appointed the first Deputy Chairman of the USSR Council of Ministers. For the first time, the representative of Azerbaijan became one of the leaders of the Soviet Union. It is difficult to enumerate all contributions made by Heydar Aliyev while working in this responsible position. But perhaps one of the dearest to his heart was the construction of the Baikal-Amur mainline (BAM). The Azerbaijani people participated in the whole construction process of BAM. Towns and railway stations were built by Azerbaijani constructors. Thanks to Heydar Aliyev, Angoya town was raised. By the way, he was one of the first Soviet leaders who traveled by train through BAM. And therefore, the station Angoya was named after Heydar Aliyev in 2008.
In October, 1987, Heydar Aliyev resigned from his post as a protest against the political course pursued by the Politburo of the CPSU Central Committee. In connection with the tragedy of 20 January, 1990, when the large contingent of troops forcefully entered Baku and massacred many people, Heydar Aliyev was first who demanded punishment for the organizers and executors of the crime committed against the Azerbaijani people.
After his return to Azerbaijan in July, 1990, Heydar Aliyev lived in Baku and then in Nakhchivan, where he was elected as Chairman of the Supreme Assembly of the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic. As a result of an extreme governmental crisis in May-June, 1993, Azerbaijan was on the edge of civil war and loss of independence. The people of Azerbaijan demanded to bring Heydar Aliyev to power in the country, due to which he was elected as Chairman of the Supreme Soviet of Azerbaijan, and on October 3, 1993, became the President of the independent Azerbaijan and was re-elected to that post in 1998.
"He came to power precisely at the moment when it was most needed", "if would not be Heydar Aliyev, there would not be a modern Azerbaijan". Not a single person neither in the country nor abroad would deny this truth. As one of the most respected and world scale politicians, the role and importance of the National Leader of the Azerbaijani people is so large that his life, philosophy of administration, level of competence and influence for a very long time will be explored by biographers and historians. Heydar Aliyev’s experience has played a unique role in the life of modern Azerbaijan and over the years, it has become even more relevant and meaningful.
With Heydar Aliyev’s return to the leadership of Azerbaijan in 1993, a deep-rooted transformation started in political, social, economic, scientific and cultural life of the country, as well as in foreign affairs of Azerbaijan and development of an independent state-building in accordance with international norms and principles.
Heydar Aliyev was a pragmatic politician. His political and managing principles were far from the romanticism and dreaminess. The decisions he took might seem unusual at first sight, but in the end, considering all the reality and correctness, are the most optimal and balanced.
Since 1993, as a result of the visionary policies and hard work of Heydar Aliyev, the country started to achieve accomplishments in its economic and social development and have obtained great results in terms of integration into the world economy. The biggest achievement at that end was the creation of a new model of economic reforms and development – the model of Azerbaijan.
As the architect of the new energy strategy of Azerbaijan, the National Leader Heydar Aliyev was the author of very important political decisions in the 1990’s that had great importance in shaping energy policy of the country and simultaneously demonstrated the readiness of the Republic to contribute to the energy security of Europe. Accordingly, the "contract of the century" was signed on September 20, 1994, which went down in history as one of the greatest and most significant events of the XX century. The most important prerequisites for this event were the importance of oil and gas resources of the Caspian basin, including Azerbaijan’s water area which was rich in hydrocarbon resources. Heydar Aliyev managed to diplomatically eliminate discrepancies around the signing of the contract.
Over the 10 years of his presidency, Heydar Aliyev has undertaken radical reforms in Azerbaijan and transformed the ruins of the almost devastated country into a viable state. Heydar Aliyev’s multi-vector policy became the state strategy that brought about prosperity and stability in the country. He came to power applying a pragmatic and balanced foreign policy, which helped to build constructive relationships with China, USA, EU and wise partnerships with the closest neighbors – Turkey, Russia and Iran.
The Republic of Azerbaijan attained a status of a credible, democratic, legal and secular state in the world in a short period of time. Under the leadership of Heydar Aliyev, the foreign policy of Azerbaijan, as well as its relations with leading states of the world and international organizations has started to develop the course based on national interests and far-sighted political perspective.
Taking into consideration of Heydar Aliyev’s exceptional views in terms of foreign affairs, implementation of internationally recognized successful and decisive steps and good use of the most authoritative stands in the name of national targets were of a primary importance for the present and future of the Azerbaijani statehood.
Thanks to the active diplomacy of Heydar Aliyev, Azerbaijan managed to achieve a dramatic change in the attitude of democratic states and leading public organizations of the world towards our country and armed conflict, in which Azerbaijan was unwillingly involved. Fundamental elements of Heydar Aliyev’s foreign policy were peace, respect for international law, territorial integrity of states and inviolability of their borders, the principles of mutually beneficial cooperation, and elimination of any restrictions that hinder inter-state relations.
For Heydar Aliyev, the prosperity of the country and the people has always been the most important, and he devoted his whole life to that. Political and economic success of Azerbaijan, a high level multiculturalism and tolerance, progress in all areas of life, the strong cohesion of the army and people are the perfect examples to the world and worthy heritage of National Leader Heydar Aliyev.
His rich political experience and his personality meant that he was perfectly prepared to lead his people through many crises that faced the country. He had the ability to inspire others, it seemed like he led the nation with his unique charisma. This man had phenomenal personal qualities necessary for strong policy: a photographic memory, a powerful arguments and the ability to lead people, including opponents. The force of his personality and charisma attracted many of the great intellectuals of the time.
The name of Heydar Aliyev will always live in the hearts of people and future generations. The chronicle of the life of this excellent man is to be read, studied and promoted, because the life of Heydar Aliyev is the history of Azerbaijan that we are living.