Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev ordered the year 2018 to be declared the Year of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic (ADR). The first democratic republic in the East was created exactly 100 years ago. In this connection, anniversary events are held in Azerbaijan and other countries. Yesterday the embassy of Azerbaijan in Moscow hosted event, dedicated to the Republic Day. Russian cultural and public figures, senators, as well as ambassadors and representatives of diplomatic missions congratulated Azerbaijanis on this day.
Polad Bulbuloglu, Ambassador of Azerbaijan to Russia, greeted those who attended this event: "Our generation should be happy that we have a wonderful opportunity to celebrate this holiday together with the entire Azerbaijan here, in the capital of the Russian Federation, Moscow. President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev named 2018 the year the Year of the Azerbaijani Democratic Republic.The significance of its creation in 1918 is associated with the fact that it was the first parliamentary republic in the entire Muslim East. It was an embodiment of democratic principles and values, as well as ideals of freedom and democracy. This significant event played an important role in revival and further development of national self-consciousness of Azerbaijanis, turned historical dream of Azerbaijani people into reality, demonstrated their desire for independence and laid foundations of Azerbaijani statehood. During short period of its existence in hardest conditions of that time, young republic set a difficult historical task, took serious steps in construction of democratic state, created first parliament and government, approved state symbols, flag and anthem, declared native language to be state language, created national currency and ensured rule of law, as well as granted equal civil and political rights to all citizens without any discrimination, including gender equality in electoral field, which was unheard of in many European countries, and especially in Muslim East."
Azerbaijani diplomat recalled that the ADR paid a lot of attention to development of education system and culture: "The first Baku university was created at that time, and it still exists. Azerbaijani youth was sent to the best European educational institutions, and state paid for it."
"Peace-loving policy pursued by the state, desire to become a full-fledged member of international community and member of the League of Nations - all of this allowed the ADR to establish diplomatic relations with a number of states, open 16 foreign missions in Baku, get de-facto recognition of its independence at the Paris conference of 1920. After meeting between Azerbaijani delegation and allied states at the Paris Peace Conference, then US President Woodrow Wilson noted that he and representatives of the ADR share similar value. In particular, referring to meeting with head of Azerbaijani delegation, he said: "I spoke with a person who spoke the same language as me, respected ideas, concepts of freedom and concepts of rights and justice."
Meanwhile, according to ambassador, political, economic and social crisis that engulfed the country, territorial claims, aggression, and terrorist acts against peaceful Azerbaijani population led to weakening of the republic: "Due to serious geopolitical events, young democracy existed only for 23 months, but remained in memory of future generations as one of the brightest pages in the history of our nation."
Nevertheless, according to Polad Bulbuloglu, during the Soviet period Azerbaijan became an industrial republic with highly developed industry and diversified agriculture: "An extensive network of educational institutions has been established, the Academy of Sciences has been created, dozens of theaters have opened, cinema and art have developed, a lot of magazines and newspapers were published. After 1969, when national leader Heydar Aliyev became head of the republic, Azerbaijan became leader in many industries in the Soviet Union. Particular attention was paid to development of literature, theater, cinema, music and overall culture of Azerbaijan. As a musician, I would like to especially highlight achievements of Azerbaijani music. Works of Uzeir Hajibekov, Kara Karaev, Fikret Amirov were popular around the world and could be heard on all continents of our planet."
Next stage of historical period of Azerbaijani statehood began after the collapse of the USSR, when the country faced January 1990 tragedy, internal political crisis and occupation of its lands. According to ambassador, during such difficult situation, wise Azerbaijani people appealed to national leader Heydar Aliyev and asked him to lead the republic: "Heydar Aliyev's return to power in 1993 became the point when revival of new Azerbaijani statehood began. Leading the state, he put things in order, strengthened country's independence, making it irreversible, and began full-scale reforms, leading Azerbaijan to international arena. We recently celebrated 95th anniversary since the birth of this brilliant man, who played a unique role in the history of both Soviet and modern Azerbaijan and in the history of the Soviet Union. I would like to highlight initiative of Russian side, which created a remarkable exhibition about Heydar Aliyev's work in Moscow. This exhibition opened with great success in Baku in the Heydar Aliyev Center and our public was very interested in it. Thanks to strong foundation, laid by Heydar Aliyev, our country successfully develops under leadership of President Ilham Aliyev today. Heydar Aliyev raised not just his son, but an outstanding statesman who has been leading Azerbaijan for many years in the stormy ocean of today's political life. Our republic follows the path of democratic, secular state, it has achieved great success in economic development, agriculture, became a center of tolerance."
Polad Bulbuloglu pointed out that Azerbaijan plays an active role in intercultural dialogue and in recent years has become an international platform of dozen events of global scale: "The Heydar Aliyev Foundation, led by First Vice President Mehriban Alieva, is contributing to this process. Interstate policy of my country is aimed at building trustful, friendly, good-neighborly relations and has already proved that our country is a reliable partner of the international community. Azerbaijan really cares about historical, cultural and moral ties with Russia, which formed between our peoples for several centuries. Cooperation of our states has strategic nature, and personal contacts between leaders of our states are of special importance for both countries and peoples."
"Hundred-year period of history of Azerbaijani statehood can't be told in just one speech. This hundred-year path wasn't always easy, sometimes it was tragic, but our country has always dealt with challenges and threats, while demonstrating its commitment to ideals of freedom, peace, democracy," Polad Bulbuloglu concluded.