The speech of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev at the ceremony dedicated to the Day of Victory - May 9, 2002

Dear veterans!

Ladies and gentlemen!

Distinguished ambassadors and friends!

I congratulate you and all war veterans on the occasion of the 57th anniversary of the victory over the fascism with all my heart. I wish you sound health, long life and successes.

World War II, the Great Patriotic War is the most terrible, the most destructive and bloody war in the history of mankind. The peoples of the Soviet Union and anti Hitler coalition - the USSR, the USA, England, and France won a victory over the fascism. This victory is of great importance. Centuries will pass and the future generations will understand the significance of this victory for mankind, for future, for the world more clearly.

The Azerbaijani people took part in the World War II, in the Great Patriotic war as the member of the Soviet Union. About six hundred thousand people from Azerbaijan fought in the Great Patriotic War. They fought heroically and more than half of them didn`t come back, they sacrificed their lives, fell in the battles. The Azerbaijanis who came back home with victory became the symbol of the glorious victory for our people, our nation since May 9, 1945 up to now. Years pass, the younger generations replace the old ones, and today these veterans are living. We all feel pleasure that the Great Patriotic War veterans are with us today, they take part in social and political activities and are devoted to the service of the Azerbaijani people and government.

The Azerbaijani people made its contribution to the victory over the fascism in the rear front as well. It was the war of engines then. It was the war of tanks, aircrafts. All these machines needed fuel in the first place. In those years more than 75 percent of the oil of the Soviet Union was produced, refined in Azerbaijan and sent to the front with great difficulties. Therefore, by celebrating the 57th anniversary of the victory over the fascism we make a special emphasis on the services of the Azerbaijanis in gaining this victory.

The world has greatly changed in the 57 years after the victory. Great processes took place, the empires disintegrated, the Soviet Union collapsed and many peoples gained independence. The Azerbaijani people also gained its national independence and live as an independent state now. It is the greatest achievement gained by the Azerbaijanis at the end of the 20th century. Today we pay attention to every page of our history and express our great respect and esteem. Therefore, the World War II, the Great Patriotic War in the 1941-1945 will always live in the history of the Azerbaijani people.

Dear veterans, we are happy to see you safe and sound here today. You were in heavy battles, performed great services for the happy life of these generations. The world`s salvation from fascism is the most significant event for the mankind. It is you who did it. You have performed your services to our country both in those years and now. I express you my cordial gratitudes. The Azerbaijani people will always be thankful to you. War veterans and the memory of the Azerbaijani sons who sacrificed their lives for the victory over the fascism will always live in our hearts.

Dear veterans, I congratulate you and the Azerbaijani people on the 57th anniversary of the victory over the fascism with all my heart. I wish our people, independent Azerbaijan peace and prosperity. Thank you.