The Azerbaijani-Russian historical documentary exhibition "Heydar Aliyev: Person, Mission, Heritage", dedicated to the 95th anniversary of birth of the national leader of Azerbaijani people Heydar Aliyev, officially opened in the Heydar Aliyev Center in Baku today. Deputy chairman of the Federation Council of Russia Ilyas Umakhanov discussed role of Heydar Aliyev played in the Russian-Azerbaijani relations in an interview with Vestnik Kavkaza.
- How important was Heydar Aliyev's role in establishment and strengthening of ties between Russia and Azerbaijan after the collapse of the USSR?
- I would say that Heydar Aliyev was absolutely logical, legitimate guarantor of development of the Russian-Azerbaijani bilateral relations in various fields - politics, economy and interregional cooperation. Creation of independent Azerbaijani Republic and strengthening of bilateral ties, good-neighborliness, friendship and mutual support between modern Russia and modern Azerbaijan are all associated with his name.
That's why there's so much interest in this exhibition in the Heydar Aliyev Center, in that rich exposition. I think that researchers, experts and scientists who organized this exhibition did a great job. It's a great example not only for Azerbaijan, but also for other post-Soviet states, that shows how to honour our history and how to remember our leaders.
- Grigory Karasin said during the opening ceremony that if Heydar Aliyev was a head of the USSR government, perhaps the fate of the Soviet Union would be completely different. Do you agree with that?
- This point of view has been voiced several times, and it's especially interesting that today it was expressed by official representative of the Russian Federation, deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin. I think it's a justifiable position.
- What trends will determine the Russian-Azerbaijani relations in the near future?
- Security and stability not only in the Caspian region, but also in the Greater Caucasus depend on Russia and Azerbaijan. I think that two Presidents, who have just been elected - Vladimir Putin and Ilham Aliyev - will pay a lot of attention to this during their talks. Another important trend is development of our bilateral economic relations. We often say that there are no political problems between Russia and Azerbaijan, but potential of economic cooperation between our countries is extremely high. I think that when Vladimir Putin talks about breakthrough in different areas, we can also expect one of such breakthroughs in economic cooperation with Azerbaijan.