Today Azerbaijan is fully integrating to the world by following a successful foreign and domestic political course. However, the industrious people of Azerbaijan are going through the most difficult, but honorable period of their history. This period is generally defined as a transitional phase. All the civilized nations and developed states of the world have passed through this phase in order to reach to their present advanced level. Naturally, the transition process in Azerbaijan has its own inherent peculiarities and ensuing complexities. Strong military pressures exerted on Azerbaijan, occupation of the Azerbaijani lands by Armenians, existence of more than 1 million refugees and displaced people in a country of only 8 million people are the grim facts which further exacerbate and complicate the strenuous process of transition in Azerbaijan.
Moreover, the long-established foreign enemies of Azerbaijan are doing their utmost to overturn the state independence of Azerbaijan and prevent the development of the Azerbaijani people. By attempting to avert the natural course of events every now and then through persistent impediments and obstructions, the adversaries of Azerbaijan are actually trying to thwart ascension of the Azerbaijani people to the level of the most developed nations of the world. The fact that Azerbaijan plays the intermediary role of Golden Bridge between Europe and Asia as well as Middle East and Russia is a cause of great perturbation and uneasiness for the enemies of the Azerbaijani people who cannot tolerate the sovereignty and ever-increasing strength of Azerbaijan as an independent and self-determining state. That’s why, as a country possessing rich natural resources and reserves, Azerbaijan inevitably encounters ceaseless political, military, spiritual pressures and immeasurable economic constraints. Due to the strategic importance of Azerbaijan both in terms of its growing geopolitical significance and vast natural resources, such an interference on the part of the intrusive antagonists of the Azerbaijani people will remain as unavoidable and inescapable in future as it has always been during the past years.
The “Armenian Card” which has been deviously manipulated by the insidious opponents of the Azerbaijani people for centuries has never been used as vigorously and maliciously as it is being used by the influential Armenian lobby today. Backed and sponsored by certain involved establishments, the Armenian lobby is active in numerous countries such as Russia, France, and USA. Working at various prestigious international organizations, this time Armenians carry out their malicious plots more purposefully and rigorously in order to put across their unjustified and groundless case. Enjoying enormous financial resources and important political leverage as well as a wide range of effective vehicles for influencing the decisions of the parliaments and political-military governance of the countries they work with and affecting the activities of a number of esteemed international organizations, the Armenian lobby resorts to all possible means to hamper the flourishing relationship between Azerbaijan and the world states by trying to mold the foreign diplomacy line of the dominant states and international organizations.
In essence, the very independence of Azerbaijan meant resurgence of the entire Azerbaijani people and revival of the independent statehood traditions of a great and ancient nation that possessed advanced governance skills and rich cultural-spiritual heritage. Resurrection of the feelings such as rightful entitlement to ownership of the territories severed from the ancestral Azerbaijani lands inch by inch at various times, recommencement of the struggle for restoration of justice, fairness and equality in the country and reinstatement of the national-spiritual unity and cohesion all pointed to the rebirth of renaissance in Azerbaijan. The ever-strengthening independence and sovereignty of Azerbaijan is a strong warrant that firmly stands behind the 60 million Azerbaijani people spread all over the world. It’s precisely these reasons that cause a palpable anxiety and apprehension among the enemies of the Azerbaijani people today.
The fact that Azerbaijan was steered by such a competent politician as Heydar Aliyev was even more disquieting for the insidious adversaries of Azerbaijan. Much to their dismay, the perfidious enemies of Azerbaijan who had drowned the whole country in the agonizing bloodbath of atrocities and perpetrated ruthless massacres against the subjugated people of Azerbaijan had come to realize that Heydar Aliyev was the only personality capable of withstanding and rebuffing their duplicitous games and endless contrivances due to his unique political ingenuity and incomparable foresight.
The deceitful foes of the Azerbaijani people were well aware that the historical circumstances were by no means matching with the fragile environment that prevailed during the years of 1918-1920. They had come to understand that this time the national liberation movement of the Azerbaijani people would come out as undefeated and triumphant and lifelong struggle to create a powerful independent state of Azerbaijan would emerge as victorious since it was ushered by Heydar Aliyev, the judicious statesman who owned the exceptional gift of taking the pulse of time and political milieu.
The distinctive personality of Heydar Aliyev resembles an unexplored world. His unique political ingenuity and infinite wisdom can be measured up to a boundless ocean. His extraordinary ability to surmount the most intricate and tangled obstructions and illimitable talent to overcome even the most convoluted obstacles and hindrances were nothing, but divine endowment of the Almighty God. The most distinguishing facet of Heydar Aliyev’s personality was that everything he undertook and accomplished was invariably and incomparably dedicated to the protection and defense of Azerbaijan.
Heydar Aliyev was born to an ordinary and humble Azerbaijani family. As an extremely gifted student pursuing knowledge assiduously, Heydar Aliyev had educated himself excellently on a wide range of subjects as well as acquiring a deep political vision. As a person of broad views, Heydar Aliyev had cultivated an immeasurable love and affection towards his county and nation. And being a firsthand witness of the horrid wiles and harsh stratagems of the enemies of Azerbaijan as a young student, Heydar Aliyev had developed a strong sense of patriotism and devotion to his oppressed country. Possessing a rich governance experience extending over half a century and closely conversant with all the subtlety and nuances of the administration mechanisms of all levels and kinds in the Soviet system, Heydar Aliyev had deservedly risen to the impenetrable leadership of the imperious Soviet Union. After having been deviously distanced from the decision-making circles of the SSSR due to the underhanded ploys and artful schemes of Qorbachov, Heydar Aliyev had managed to make a spirited, incisive comeback to the political arena despite the persistent persecutions and continuous threats of Qorbachov. Heydar Aliyev was a man of iron will and unbreakable determination who played a matchless role in salvaging the people of Azerbaijan from the turbulent whirlpool of disorder and unrest during the era of transition.
During the years of 1982-1987, Heydar Aliyev was working in Moscow as a high-ranking member of Politburo and First Vice-chairman of the Cabinet of Ministries which constituted the central part of leadership in the SSSR. By attaining an enormous success through efficacious management of the most troublesome branches of administration in the vast empire of the Soviet Union which was on the verge of irremediable debilitation and complete disintegration, Heydar Aliyev gained a wide influence all across the SSSR and demonstrated his inexorable aptitude to the discriminatory and bigoted Soviet regime. As the only proficient statesman in Politburo capable of governing the entire Soviet Union on his own and reversing the deteriorating regressive situation of the country, Heydar Aliyev aroused the jealousy and distrust of the chauvinist and incompetent Kremlin leaders. Especially M.Qorbachov regarded Heydar Aliyev as a formidable rival that had to be eliminated immediately. Despite the prejudiced and biased attitude of the Soviet leadership towards Azerbaijan, even under the most complicated circumstances Heydar Aliyev was always pressing the issues related to the growth and development of the Azerbaijani people with emphatic forcefulness. Heydar Aliyev was the main hurdle for the Armenian nationalists who wanted to materialize the much-coveted separation of Nagorno Karabakh from Azerbaijan and annex it to Armenia. This is the reason why M.Qorbachov, the obedient attendant of the Armenian mafia headed by Stavropoulos was used as an instrument to take away this impassable barrier. M.Qorbachov finally achieved his spiteful goal and dismissed Heydar Aliyev from the leadership of the SSSR. The removal of Heydar Aliyev form office was in fact the hardest and heaviest blow dealt to the Azerbaijani people during the Soviet rule. It’s not a mere coincidence that as soon as Heydar Aliyev was ousted from power, the opportunistic Armenian nationalists intensified their propaganda activities in order to usurp power and snatch the region of Nagorno Karabakh from Azerbaijan.
During the years of 1987-1990, the authoritarian Kremlin regime headed by M.Qorbachov carried out innumerable persecutions and repressions against Heydar Aliyev. Nevertheless, Heydar Aliyev displayed an unflagging perseverance and tenacious fortitude in face of all the restrictions and harassments directed against him. On the contrary, despite the imperfect circumstances, with his immense experience and deep prudence, he continued doing his utmost to lead his disoriented nation out of the great turbulence and confusion of 1990s when the Soviet Union was on the threshold of an irrevocable breakdown and complete disintegration.
The years of 1990-1993 have been imprinted in the minds of the Azerbaijani people as fateful times of devastating adversities and heavy calamities. During these years Azerbaijan was face to face with an ominous danger of total annihilation due to the inept governance of the country first by treacherous and obsequious leaders who were given in to abject servitude of the Moscow regime and then by the incompetent rule of Popular Front Party of Azerbaijan. The illuminating guidance of Heydar Aliyev was the only source of hope and relief for the disoriented people of Azerbaijan who were at a complete loss at that time. On 21st of January in 1990, one day after the bloody slaughter committed against the blameless people of Baku, Heydar Alyev visited the headquarters of the permanent representation of Azerbaijan in Moscow and openly conveyed his deep condolences at the expense of putting his life at risk. By fearlessly expressing his outrage at this hideous massacre and urging the due punishment of its perpetrators, Heydar Aliyev actually took the lead of the liberation struggle of his nation and managed to return to Baku on 20th of July in 1990 despite the inescapable persecutions of the Kremlin regime. But, due to the perfidious stance of the subservient Azerbaijani leaders who were controlled by Moscow then, on 22nd of July Heydar Aliyev was forced to leave Baku and take refuge in Nakhichevan. While he was in Nakhichevan, Heydar Aliyev embarked upon a nationwide liberation movement in face of all the difficulties and impediments as Nakhichevan was in a complete isolation because of the military-political and economic blockade set up by the aggressive Armenian armed forces and their Russian supporters. Entrapped by the blockade, all ties of Nakhichevan with the rest of the country were severed both politically and economically. It was not only Nakhichevan in Azerbaijan that was beleaguered with the hostile forces. The entire country was in turmoil. Azerbaijan was on the verge of complete breakdown and disintegration. The long-desired seizure of the territories of Azerbaijan was on the point of being brought to pass by the Armenian aggressors. At a time when Azerbaijan was going through the most turbulent and tumultuous age of its history, Heydar Aliyev rose to deliver the Azerbaijani people from the evil of disarray and confusion. Putting his faith and confidence in the fighting spirit of the strong-willed people of Nakhichevan, Heydar Aliyev displayed an unequalled political ingenuity and indescribable valor and saved the ancient land of Azerbaijan from being occupied by the malicious Armenian forces. Nakhichevan had been besieged by the modern Dashnaks with the help of the Soviet frontier troops just like an encircled ring. Extrication of Nakhichevan from such a menacing danger under extremely tough circumstances was an achievement that would determine the fate of the whole country.
At a time when Azerbaijan was beset by the enemy forces on all sides and regions of the country were being occupied one by one by the Armenian armed units, instead of forging a strong resistance movement on a national level and bringing the competent leaders into the frontline, the only person capable of mobilizing the whole nation for struggle against the occupiers, Heydar Aliyev was denied an access to power. At a time when the Azerbaijani people desperately needed the guidance and leadership of such an experienced and proficient political figure, the disloyal Soviet leaders of Azerbaijan were underhandedly plotting conspiracies to remove Heydar Aliyev from power in Nakhichevan and smother the liberation movement launched by him.
Nonetheless, Heydar Aliyev was taking resolute steps in Nakhichevan which were aimed at strengthening the newly-emerging statehood of Azerbaijan. In order to revivify the national statehood traditions of Azerbaijan, the words of “Soviet” and “Socialist” were taken out of the name of the Autonomous Republic of Nakhichevan and three-colored flag of the People’s Republic of Azerbaijan was hoisted as a state banner of Nakhichevan. The local branches of the Communist Party were immediately shut down and all government bodies were disestablished. Condemnation of the bloody slaughter of 20th January on a political level, total abstention of the people of Nakhichevan from participation in the plebiscite held to ascertain as to whether the Soviet Union should be preserved or dissolved, declaration of 31st of December as a solidarity day of the Azerbaijanis living all across the world and deterrence of the seizure of Nakhichevan by the enemy forces despite the prevalent military-economic blockade were groundbreaking measures taken during the short rule of Heydar Aliyev in Nakhichevan.
When Heydar Aliyev returned to Baku in June of 1993, the country was on the brink of disastrous breakdown. The people were floundering to pull themselves out of the bloody whirlpool of confusion and disorder. Worn out by the incompetent governance of Ayaz Mutallibov during the years of 1991-1992 and Abulfez Elchibey in 1992-1993, the hard-pressed people of Azerbaijan were in a desperate need of strong and assertive leadership. The imminent danger of ethnic clashes and civil war was hanging over the country that was overshadowed by the raging attacks of the Armenian armed forces. The inexperienced leadership of the country possessed neither ability nor the courage to confront and pre-empt the opportunistic enemy forces. The old dream of the Dashnak Armenians devised with the contrivance of their Russian supporters to create the state of “Great Armenia” was about to be materialized through occupation of the Azerbaijani lands and much-desired obliteration of Azerbaijan from the face of this earth as an independent state. Faced with the danger of civil war, the people were in a state of constant despair and nervousness. Azerbaijan had completely lost its already tarnished international image due to the growing internal chaos and upheaval. The people of Azerbaijan had no faith in the future of their country.
Therefore, Heydar Aliyev’s return to power on 15th of June in 1993 carries a special weight in the modern history of Azerbaijan. As soon as assuming power, Heydar Aliyev took action to put a halt to the civil unrest by using several political and tactical maneuvers. Thus, the ethnic encounters were instantaneously thwarted and the overall situation was tranquilized. So, in this way the looming danger of possible civil war was eliminated immediately. The devious designs of the enemies of Azerbaijan machinated to divide the Azerbaijani lands in order to achieve the total destruction of the independent state of Azerbaijan were astutely forestalled by the newly-established firm leadership.
Heydar Aliyev himself had defined the state independence of Azerbaijan as irreversible, indestructible and everlasting. Failure of the insurgency attempts to overthrow the leadership of Heydar Aliyev in October of 1994 and March of 1995 verified Heydar Aliyev’s unshakeable resolve and willpower once again. Heydar Aliyev’s sacrificial devotion and unflinching loyalty to his nation inspirited the whole country. Invigorated by the steadfast dedication of their undeviating leader, the people of Azerbaijan regained their faith in future of Azerbaijan. Thanks to the strenuous efforts of Heydar Aliyev, the blustery situation of the country was stabilized, law and order was restored. Establishment of stability and political tranquility at such a tempestuous time was an inconceivable achievement on Heydar Aliyev’s part.
Acting judiciously on the issue of war as well, Heydar Aliyev took a pragmatic stance and evaluated the situation realistically. Being well aware of the insidious plans of the cunning enemies of Azerbaijan and well cognizant of their military supremacy backed and reinforced by their powerful supporters, Heydar Aliyev saw the enforcement of ceasefire as the only way of deliverance of the Azerbaijani people from the bloodbath of atrocities. Along with this Heydar Aliyev also prevented the national-spiritual breakdown of the country by reversing the ill-advised decisions of the previous leaderships adopted unrealistically and rather emotionally.
Today the independent state of Azerbaijan is enjoying a growing influence and weight in the international arena. Azerbaijan is widely recognized as a democratic, legal and secular state. The constitution of Azerbaijan wholly embodies all the democratic rights and civil liberties that have also been enshrined in the constitutions of the most developed nations of the world. Together with the continuous reforms carried out on the order of Heydar Aliyev, the enduring stability prevailing in the country creates an auspicious environment for the establishment and expansion of bilateral ties with the foreign countries based on the principle of equal and mutual partnership.
One of the major undertakings of the foreign policy set by Heydar Aliyev was to end seclusion from contact with the Turkish-speaking nations and integrate Azerbaijan into the Turkish world by restoring the relations especially with the newly independent states of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan. It’s noteworthy that Azerbaijan is gaining a wide influence among Islamic nations of the world as well.
To tackle the “Armenian card” used for centuries against the Azerbaijani people, Heydar Aliyev worked out an immaculately sound investment strategy for oil. The successful oil policy laid down by Heydar Aliyev assured the whole world of the possibility of solving the problems of Caucasus through effective means rather than occupation and exploitation. Heydar Aliyev adroitly used the idea of Great Silk Way to release Azerbaijan from the economic blockade imposed by the Northern and Southern neighbors who were working dexterously to extinguish the existence of Azerbaijan by cutting off its most basic relations with its customary collaborators and partners. In view of that the international conference held in Baku on 7-8th of September in 1998 with the participation of 32 states and 13 international organizations was a huge event in the history of Azerbaijan. Reinstallation of the Great Silk Way meant not only revival of the economic-spiritual potential of the Azerbaijani people, but also cultural revitalization and unification of the entire Turkish world.
Today Azerbaijan acts as the main guarantor of peace and stability in the region of South Caucasus. The strained relations with Russia have been normalized due to the farsighted foreign policy carried out by Heydar Aliyev. The perspicacious and prudent strategy of Heydar Aliyev has rendered the littoral states of the Caspian Sea a peaceful, serene atmosphere of cooperation and collaboration. Azerbaijan is a strong ally of the worldwide antiterrorism campaign. And most importantly, as a result of Heydar Aliyev’s arduous efforts, the world has come to accept the existence and weight of Azerbaijan.
Author: Yagub Mahmudlu
Source: AZERBAIJAN: SHORT HISTORY OF STATEHOOD
Translated by: Nigar Madatli
Edited by: Dr. Eynulla Madatli