Speech of the Acting President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, chairman of the Supreme Soviet Heydar Aliyev at the meeting with the intelligentsia at the Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Azerbaijan - September 21, 1993

Distinguished intelligentsia, dear friends and fellow citizens! I want to express my pleasure that I had an occasion to meet the Azerbaijani intelligentsia after a long break and thank you for attending the meeting and for the warm words about me.

Meeting the intelligentsia always creates a great holiday effect. All my life I have this mood, thought like this. That’s why, perhaps the meeting is important for you too, but it is very valuable for me, because I have been deprived of this opportunity for a long time. However, my heart and soul have always belonged to my homeland, people and progressive group of them, intelligentsia, to their creative work and activities. Now we are side by side, and stand tete-a-tet. It is a big event for me. Thank you.

Today, undoubtedly, the current situation of the Republic of Azerbaijan worries and evokes interest in everyone, including the intelligentsia. It makes each Azerbaijani citizen uneasy; undoubtedly, it causes anxiety among the intelligentsia a lot. It worries both you and me.  Azerbaijan is experiencing the hardest days of its life, and is taking difficult examinations. Although these exams have begun in the beginning of our century, it has become a serious phenomenon at the end of the 20th century. The hardest period of these examinations is the current stage. There are a lot of causes of such a suffering.  It has both objective and subjective reasons.

My purpose is not to analyze these reasons; there is not any opportunity for doing it.  Undoubtedly, we should engage in these tasks together with you. It is very important. However, I need to say something. The first reason, which created hard the condition in our republic, undoubtedly, is the military aggression against Azerbaijan by the armed forces of Armenia for five years and occupation of the Azerbaijani lands, loss of homeland of the Azerbaijani citizens and birth a large number of refugees as a result of this aggression. In these years not only the Azerbaijani lands were occupied, but also cities, villages, settlements, buildings, which were built along centuries and necessary equipments for living of the people have been destroyed and burnt.  A lot of people are suffering from hard life conditions. The Republic of Azerbaijan, the Azerbaijani people do not occupy, do not claim to the lands of anyone, people and state, do not attack, it only defend itself. However, due to some reasons we are defeated. As I said before, we have lost a part of our lands, but today it is clear that the brave sons of Azerbaijan defend the homeland and fall for the right case, sacrifice their lives as the Azerbaijani people did along centuries. In these years thousands of our fellow citizens have perished. Most of them left the world fighting and demonstrating courage, heroism and loyalty to their people, to the land. On the one hand, it is a tragedy for us, on the other hand it is a factor demonstrating the might, steadfastness and courage of the Azerbaijani people. Let’s commemorate the spirit of our martyred citizens, who lost their lives defending the Azerbaijani lands. May God bless them and rest in peace.

Today we are only defending our country, however, the nation do not lose hope. The Azerbaijani people must return their lands and restore the territorial integrity. Our people are able to defend their sovereignty and independence. Unfortunately, the opportunities in the morality of the people have not been used in that period. The leading people, political leaders, statesmen, or the people who called themselves commanders could not use the great power and opportunities of the people. However, all this is temporary. I say again, our people are mighty, have passed a lot of serious examinations during centuries, and they will pass this examination as well, and I have no doubt that Azerbaijan as an independent state will be the owner of its fate, lands and rights and will build its future prosperous life. 

However, it is not an easy task. All should unite, join the power of the Azerbaijani people and all should hit the same mark. Now everyone should pay his debt for the homeland and honor. It is the debt of all. No one can say that he is not obliged. If children of this nation were born in these lands, and if the spirits of our ancestors are with us, then we should fulfill our obligation. Unfortunately, some people think that someone should go and defend the lands, others should be engaged in their own businesses. Someone will fight; others will stand and wait for the result. The most strange event of the recent years is that instead of defending the  lands, honor of the people and history, separate groups and persons have used this opportunity and tried to achieve their personal goals, and desired to occupy high posts. Every day a new politician appeared on the stage, later his real aim was disclosed. What a pity. However, probably, our people must see it. Probably, the real nature of the elements within the society had to be disclosed.

I don’t think that the troubled water covering Azerbaijan has already become transparent, it is still turbid. We are in a troubled lake. Yes, we should avoid this mud, turbid water, and become pure and transparent together. Everyone should demonstrate his morality through obeying the common morality of the people first of all and help people to overcome this situation.

We must take a lot of measures in this field. There are a lot of duties facing us. However, undoubtedly, only I or few people cannot overcome all this. The people should unite. The  intelligence and knowledge of the people should unite. We should move in the direction escape the state of war. I don’t want to talk about how to escape. We must multiply our political activities and strengthen our defense ability, as well as, we must unite the healthy forces by removing brigands within the army or in separate battalions. However, all of us should know that currently the Republic of Azerbaijan is in the pool of blood. Our republic should do a lot in order to defend its independence. Independence is not only in politics. It is not only the recognition by international organizations. First of all, independence is the return of the occupied lands. That is why, all should unite. All should rise and mobilize.

I always remember the lines of Samad Vurghun, rest him in peace. Then, in 1941-42 he said that “I am an armed soldier from now”. Then we were defending the common soviet homeland. Now, we defend our native land, independent Azerbaijan. Thus, today irrespective of profession and position this sense should be stronger in each citizen. I hope that we can achieve it , byuniting we can overcome this hard situation of war.

Now Azerbaijan is an independent country. Independence is a great historical event for Azerbaijan; it is a great opportunity which destiny has given to our people. Undoubtedly, we should be proud of it. Meanwhile, we should appreciate this historical achievement, and defend it. this independence is the logical result of the ongoing social-political processes since the second half of the century in the former Soviet Union, especially since the 70s-80s.

We have not achieved the independence by using weapons, waging a war or rebel. This independence is a historical process and we got it as a result of ongoing social-political processes. Let nobody say that someone is the leader of this independence as a hero, or a statesman who got the independence. Independence does not belong to anyone or any organization. Independence belongs to the nation. This is a big blessing that history endowed to the nation. We should appreciate it.

However gaining independence does not mean that independence is completed and irreversible from socio-political point of view. It is necessary to strengthen independence, to preserve it and implement it in all the fields. We should do a lot for it. Unfortunately, nothing has been done until now.  People, who are shouting “independence, independence”, think that they are heroes of this independence and the independence has already created all conditions for Azerbaijan. That’s why Azerbaijan faced such a situation. The recent processes in Azerbaijan, unfortunately, have damaged economy, social life, science and culture of the republic.

The speakers here also sounded some ideas. I agree with them. However, this ideas do not completely reflect all the harms of the mentioned processes on the life of the Republic of Azerbaijan. Now using the opportunity of independence and economic, social, intellectual, scientific and cultural potential we should eliminate not only the shortcomings, defects, but also raise it to a higher level. We should create and improve all the fields of our life to meet the demands of our citizen.

Which way will Azerbaijan follow and which economic-political system will it choose hence? Now we face this question. People who do not perceive the ups and downs, difficulties of this way have basically lived with slogans. That’s why, when the necessity of expansion of this way further, in other words, the necessity of diversification of the way of independence and further movement emerge, they begin to accuse others that as if we want to give up our independence and return it.

I have expressed my ideas at the sessions of the Parliament, and it is my debt to say it to you that Azerbaijan should not return from the road of independence. Azerbaijan will not miss this opportunity, which it has gained for the first time; it will preserve its independence at the expense of everything and develop as an independent state.  The natural resources, economic, scientific-cultural, intellectual potential of the Republic of Azerbaijan give a chance for it. however, some of these potentials have exhausted or are stagnant. It is necessary to revive, set them in motion and use them efficiently. Unfortunately, the people who shout “independence” have not seen these natural resources and have not been able to use them or have not wanted to use them.

As I said, it is very important to know which political, social and economic system our republic will choose. Our road is the road of democracy, we cannot divert from the road of democracy.  Our road is the road of political pluralism, we cannot divert from this road. We must create conditions for a multiparty system and society in Azerbaijan. Be sure that I will not change this position. In Azerbaijan all freedoms – human rights, the right of initiative, freedom of religious, freedom of language and entrepreneurship have been ensured. Human rights must be protected. Azerbaijan as an independent state must consider the protection of the rights of its citizens one of its main duties. Azerbaijan must not return to the former economic-political system, former communist regime, and socialist system. I have restarted my activity in Azerbaijan. I occupy this position and hope that my opinion will be accepted. I know that most of the intelligentsia live with these ideas.

However, propagation of the reality of these principles, their implementation in all the fields of our life are not easy. Because sometimes separate forces or persons abuse these principles in order to achieve their own goals. Sometimes, you have witnessed it,  persons or even people in the administration of the country, who perceive democracy as tyranny, lawlessness, and chaos, have led Azerbaijan to this state .

However for the implementation of these principles the progressive forces of the nation, wise and healthy minded intelligentsia have stepped into political arena and are engaged in political and social activities. Take the recent years, not the rule of the Popular Front, take 90, 89, 88 or the years before them. In these years, in the state of chaos, along with the people and forces fighting for national independence, there were also persons who abused this situation for their personal goals. In some cases they won. I was living in Moscow. Sound of the rallies with the participation of hundreds of people in Azadliq square of Baku in 1988 sometimes even reached there, too…

Later this square attracted our intelligentsia too. However, unfortunately, later these processes were used for different personal interests. That’s why, the nation withdrew from the movement in some degree, lost the interest in it. I do not say that there must always be tension. However, it was a national movement. Enthusiasm, excitement,   anxiety of the Azerbaijani people eager to defend of the lands extinguished, on the one hand, and were kept under the pressure of  other forces,   on the other hand, such people came to the square, they tried to use this movement for abhorrent goalds, and unfortunately, they achieved it.

Our republic and state institutions need intelligentsia in order to establish the principles of democracy and implement them into life.   Here some speakers spoke about the composition of the Azerbaijani parliament. It’s true, as someone said, in the past it was determined – how many collective farmers and workers there would be in the parliament. These are historical facts. Undoubtedly, real democracy cannot be established in this way. However, in future parliament elections ( I remember, then I was in Moscow, later came to Nakhchevan) I read in some newspapers that candidacy of eight persons were proposed. Among them there were both professors and academicians. For example, Academician like Ziya Bunyadov was among them. However, electors voted for persons, who had not made any contribution to the Azerbaijani nation. Undoubtedly, it was not a natural phenomenon. However, someone needed that man, the communist leadership needed him. That is why, they did not allow the election of a scholar, or statesman, craftsman or a lawyer in order to express their opinion. There were elected persons who were not able to represent the socio-political intellectual view and content of Azerbaijan.

That is why ( I talk on behalf of myself), we will open a broad road to democracy. Azerbaijan must establish its state on the basis of democratic principles and the state organs must guarantee the establishment of democratic principles in society. However, our scholars, intelligentsia must not remain outside of this process, they must try, struggle and not be indifferent in these hard days of our life. If their proposal is not accepted now, let them come for the second time,it is not accepted if again, then let them come for the third time. Here Anar complained, I agree with him, because it is true – it is reality. However, it does not mean that he should step aside. We have no right to be offended.

Here one of the speakers has made me understand that I should be offended with someone. You know, nobody can be offended with the nation. You may get offended with individual persons. However, there is no need for continuing the offence, to be rancorous, because in these hard days of the people such feelings must be avoided. There is a feeling of inevitability. This feeling must dominate in the mind of each of us. We must live with such high feelings.

I hope that I could deliver my opinions to you. The Republic of Azerbaijan will be loyal to all the democratic principles, will provide their implementation and all of us together will raise Azerbaijan to the level of democracy of the world as a great democratic republic and make it be recognized by the world community.

In 1918 the first democratic republic was established in Azerbaijan. Of course, it was a historical event. The first Democratic Republic of Azerbaijan is noted as a great achievement  in the recent processes for the independence of Azerbaijan, both in the press and in the socio-political processes, and it is highly appreciated. This is natural,  it is a great and bright page of our history.  We must duly appreciate it and today in front of you I want to emphasize that. Yes, the establishment of the Democratic Republic of Azerbaijan on May 28, 1918, was a great socio-political event in the history of Azerbaijan. The birth of such a democratic state and its certain activities affected had their effect on the present events in Azerbaijan.

It’s true that the republic lived only 23 months, later it surrendered. I will return to it  again. We must analyze our history objectively and deliver it to the present and future generations accurately. Unfortunately, a lot of facts have been distorted in our past history; it is also being distorted now. If it was distorted in one direction in the past, now it is distorted in another direction.

It is the duty of the historians to eliminate this defect. However, we must say that the democratic republic, its leaders Mahammad Emin Resul-zade, Fatali khan Khoyski, Nesib bey Yusifbeyov, Memmedhesen Hajinski and others did a lot. They made Azerbaijan to be recognized as an independent state to a part of the world and took some measures for it. Their failure is not only connected with the fact that Azerbaijan was occupied by the Red Army on April 28, 1920. Even until the occupation the democratic state had reached to its dissolution. Historians know well that the composition of this state changed five times within 23 months, five parties participated in this state and parliament: parties of Musavat, Ittihad, Ahrar, Socialist, even Dashnaksutyun. This parliamentary system did not allow the state continue its life, the internal struggles and conflicts among the separate groups and parties blemished the name of the state. Why do I say it? I say it, because we must derive a lesson from it. If we appreciate that period and activities of this state and if we are proud of the existence of this stage in our history, we must also know the shortcomings of those processes and not repeat them. 

In connection with this issue I have something to say about the historians. Our historians probably remember that when I worked in Azerbaijan , in the 70s and at the beginning of the 80s, I repeatedly appealed to them that either our ancient history or the history of the Middle Ages and the recent history, the history of 18th, 19th and 20th century has not been studied on a satisfactory level. The historians remember that several times I met them and each time I expressed my anxiety. Then we were comparing our activities with those of other republics within the Soviet Union. When we got acquainted with the works of the scholars of those countries, our anxiety increased that why they wrote their history better than us. It is true that it had several subjective reasons. For example, some nations had good historians along centuries. They wrote the history and left great historical monuments behind them. We also had those. For example, there are very rich and informative books in the Fund of Manuscripts. However, the issue is not about it. There are very rich manuscripts and historical documents in the biggest libraries and museums of the world on our history. However, our historians cannot benefit from them sufficiently. Perhaps the environment of the Soviet Union did not let them either. However, as you remember that when the building of the Supreme Soviet ( I mean the new building)  was ready, there were different requests to have the building. A ministry wanted us to give it to them as they claimed that the late Haji Zeynalabdin Taghiyev passed it to them as a keepsake. Other organizations needed it as well. We thought over it a lot and finally I decided to give this building to the Fund of Manuscripts of the Academy. Why? I did it, because the Foundation of Manuscripts and those books, which we have acquired along the centuries, are very valuable for us. They were in bad condition in the cellars of this building. We gave this building to the Fund of Manuscripts in order to take the books out and preserve them for beneficial usage and we decided to create a research institution on its basis.  We have created great opportunities for our historians and created conditions for them to use it.

Unfortunately, they have not been used sufficiently. Why do I touch upon this topic today? If we want to make to the world know Azerbaijan as an independent state, let us introduce our ancient history both to our citizens and scholars of the world, to the people, who are interested in our republic. There are a lot of duties facing our historians, they have a great responsibility.

Then, when I worked in Azerbaijan, I also said, and today also insist that I am ready to create all conditions for our historians. I will do it on condition that we can get works, from our historians, which will reflect the history of Azerbaijan very well, for today, for future generations, and for the future as a whole in exchange of this condition. That’s why, we want to touch upon another issue related to it: it is prohibited to misinterpret history. During the 70 years of the  soviet history, world history, in general, as well as the history of Azerbaijan and those of other nations in the territories of the Soviet Union were distorted. Why they did it? They did it, because in those times it was an ordinary case.

When we say it we do not blemish ourselves. It did not depend on us, because there was the ideology of Marxism and Leninism. Each system has its own ideology. For example, in those years when the historians investigated a philosophical outlook of a person and when they wrote a book, they were trying to adjust it to the ideology of Marxism and Leninism. They were trying to find a document for introducing Nizami Ganjavi and as a  Marxist-Leninist. But it is not true. To be honest, for example, if they had found and were able to show that the great philosopher of the world Goethe had explained some of his philosophical ideas on the basis of the philosophical propositions of Nizami Ganjavi , - it is a historical truth,-  if they had proved it, of course, it would have been  objective.  However, our historians did not pay much attention to such things sufficiently. It was not their fault and I do not want to blame anyone.  It was the common misfortune of that system and period.

In order to complete this thought I want to say that in the past 70 years our history has been distorted including the history of the 20th and the 19th centuries, as well as the ancient history Now an inclination to pass from one pole to another seems to be seen in the horizon. What about it? It means that all which existed during these 70 years, were bad and worthless, they were misfortunes for the Azerbaijani nation, and the brightest period of our nation was only between 1918 and 1920. Even the period before 1918 was not taken into account. Of course,  “ A banner risen once, will never fall down” idea is valuable. However, by repeating these words, it is impossible to establish the independence of Azerbaijan. It is impossible to deliver the real history of Azerbaijan to our nation, citizens and people out of the republic, to those who are interested in it.

That is why, it is needless to idealize any period and personality. Unfortunately, this disease of idealization has penetrated into our minds for 70 years. We must avoid it. If in the past 70 years all our ideological system idealized science and principles of Marxism, Marx and Lenin, now we are idealizing Mahammad Emin Resul-zade. I repeat again: Mahammad Emin Resul-zade and other great personalities of the Republic of Azerbaijan demonstrated courage in the establishment of the Democratic Republic of Azerbaijan at the beginning of the 20th century, in 1918. It is doubtless. However, let’s speak frankly: it means that there had not  anything in our history except the Communist Party and the history of the Soviet government before. Later it is said that there had not been anything except Stalin, later except Lenin. Now, it is discussed here that there had not been anybody except Mahammad Emin Resul-zade. What about Fatali khan Khoyski, Nesib bey Yusifbeyov, Hajinski, Alimardan bey Topchubashov, Behbud bey Shahtakhtinski? I do not intend to count all of them; perhaps, you know more names than me. However, it is needless to idealize anyone.  It is important to give up this illness and to live each period of the history as it is. It is the main duty of our historians. As an independent state Azerbaijan, undoubtedly, is proud of its history, traditions and cultural heritage. Our nation is ancient, and we have a great history and culture. As far as we deliver the culture, its antiquity and popularity to the world, we can raise the feeling of citizenship, real citizenship and Azerbaijanism. It is very important for the defense of our lands and for ensuring the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan in the years of independence.

If we turn the grand pages of our history, the period of Renaissance, if we take Nizami, Khaganii, Feleki,Mehseti in 11th -12th centuries, the creative work of all of them have spread all over the world. However, I would remind a point. The 800th anniversary of Nizami Ganjavi was held in 1948. In 1981 we adopt a decision about the study of the literary heritage of Nizami. When we celebrated the 840th anniversary of Nizami Ganjavi, we were reproached that 840 is not a round number. However, we proved that Nizami Ganjavi is a such personality who left a deep trace in the history and culture, therefore his anniversary can be held each year.

Imagine, had we known Nizami Ganjavi well, or if the scholars, who have investigated his creative work in the libraries and museums of England, had written certain works since 1948 the works of the great poet would have been published on a sufficient level. The works of Nizami Ganjavi were published in Russian in Moscow. However, later we learnt that they were not published in “Khudodzestvennaya literatura” publishing house. I can say as a service to my nation, not as an achievement, that when I worked in Moscow, I controlled the publication of the works of Nizami Ganjavi included to “Khamsa” in  Russian separately.

However I was told in Moscow that the translation of the works by Nizami was not on a due level. Then I appealed to Mirze Ibrahimov and others that I was not already in Azerbaijan, asked them to do something for the retranslation of the works of Nizami Ganjavi into Russian. Some were against it.  But Russian is a great language and Russia is a big country. People read in Russian in other countries out of Russia as well. If pupils are taught French and German, it is a great achievement, and if they are taught Russian as well, it is also a great achievement. We hardly published the works of Nizami in Moscow. Later while I was coming to Baku, I went to Nizami Museum and saw that all the five works of the poet were demonstrated there.

The 850th anniversary of Nizami Ganjavi was celebrated. I cannot say on which level it was held. Not because that this anniversary had to be held as a great holiday. Works of Nizami Ganjavi are matchless not only from the point of view of their literary value, but also from philosophical point of view. However, we did not succeed popularize them sufficiently since 1958, during 50 years. I want to say that our culture and science are very rich.   When we talk about Nizami, Fuzuli, we must not introduce them only as poets, but also as great philosophers and thinkers who contributed to the culture and science of the world. Next year Fuzuli will be 500. We should prepare for this anniversary well. We should introduce Fuzuli to the world not only as the author of “Leyli and Majnun”, but also as a prominent philosopher and great scholar. Not only literary critics or the Union of Writers, but all the scientists should work in this field, too.

I mention again, our history is very rich and we should deliver it to the nation periodically.  Do you remember, when we celebrated the 600th anniversary of Nesimi, it created reverberation in the world and it popularized Azerbaijan greatly. Finally, after 600 years we found his grave in Heleb. Now his grave is a place for the pilgrimage of people who visit Heleb. To introduce a rare personality like Nesimi, who belongs to the Azerbaijani people, to the world community, science and world culture, undoubtedly, means to add to the reputation of our people. I do not want to talk only about the poets. Nesimi also is not only a poet, but also a scholar and philosopher. Meanwhile, I want to mention the names of our great scholars, Behmenyar, Nesireddin Tusi and others.

In order to be an independent state, the nation should have mental level, and for raising the level of mentality of the nation a long time is required. It is the task of several generations and we should engage in it. Regular investigation both of the creative work of  great personalities of our people, for example, of Mirze Feteli Akhundov, and their services to the Azerbaijani nation, undoubtedly, are one of the important duties. Next year it will be the 200th anniversary of Abbasgulu Agha Bakikhanov, this year it will be the 100th anniversary of Abbas Mirze Sharif-zade, the 90th anniversary of Ulvi Rajab, and the 100th anniversary of Alagha Vahid. These are great personalities of Azerbaijan. I have no intention to remember all the great personalities. I want to express my opinion only by mentioning some of them. Each personality has his own place in our history. I want to return to this opinion that there is no need for the distortion of history. The Azerbaijani people have covered a long way from 1920 until gaining independence. Within this period our people have developed, their mental values and educational level have risen. Science and culture have developed in Azerbaijan. Industry and agriculture of the country have developed. Can we erase this period from the history because of the political-economic system and ideology?

Undoubtedly, there are dark pages of this period as well: 1937-38 beginning of the 20s, 30s, years of repression, lawlessness, breach of human rights, and blows striken on the Azerbaijani people. These are reality. Meanwhile, it is also true that in this period, besides the troubles and difficulties, the Azerbaijani people created their own economy. If there had not been created this economy, which was built during 70 years, could Azerbaijan live as an independent state now?

It is hard to find out an illiterate person in Azerbaijan. Look to the Eastern countries around, how many illiterate people are there! Level of higher education in Azerbaijan is the highest. Our higher schools were not approved until yesterday. It is true that there are a lot of problems in the work of higher schools, especially, cases of bribery and others. It is true. However, along with this said, the establishment and development of universities are very great achievements of today. Now, when you compare ours with the higher schools of other countries, you can see that we had great achievements in the past period. We should not lose them.

We should not lose the personalities as well. Both Mirze Feteli Akhundov, Ahmed bey Aghayev, Mahammad Emin Resul-zade  and Neriman Nerimanov are great personalities for us. However, it is impossible to agree with the claims that of all the political figures, such as Neriman Nerimanov, were hostile to Azerbaijan. Persons, who claim it, need ten years of political activity for rising to the level of Neriman Nerimanov. Neriman Nerimanov is a great personality and political figure who grew up within the environment he lived in. However, we must also be aware that Neriman Nerimanov was one of the people who protected and saved the statesmen of the independent democratic state. He saved Mahammad Emin Resul-zade as well. There were intentions to arrest the famous generals Mehmandarov and Shikhlinski. Then Nerimanov wrote a letter to Lenin that these persons, who served in the army of Tsar before, and in the army of the independent state later, are valuable and they should be used. In connection with these issues I want to state my opinion openly: it is prohibited to distort history. Those, who distort history, they betray and confuse the people.

We should put an end to it. It is impossible to let it in future. We have created the memorial flat museum of Neriman Nerimanov in Baku with great difficulties. I hear that one of the people, who came to a high post recently, stared at this house. It is better to build a house, or find a flat, than to destroy the museum. Which mental values can accept it?  If Neriman Nerimanov is in the history of Azerbaijan as a scientist and a man of culture, if he left a great literary heritage, then is it good to speak about him like that? Undoubtedly, such things are unacceptable.

All the personalities of our history are valuable for us. It is not acceptable to touch any of them. Let’s take the great composer Uzeyir Hajibeyov. He is the founder of the Azerbaijani classical music and opera, he was a member of Musavat Party and author of the anthem of the Democratic Republic of Azerbaijan. He was a person who enriched the Azerbaijani culture in the Soviet period by creating the opera “Koroglu” and other works. Then, will we divide Uzeyir Hajibeyov into two? Should we divide his activity according to the periods of Musavat and Soviet rule? It is impossible! Uzeyir Hajibeyov is a very valuable personality. Will we blame him that he met Stalin proudly in Moscow, in 1938, or Kalinin awarded him with the order of Lenin?

Let’s take Jafar Jabbarli. He was a great writer and playwright, and made great contribution to the Azerbaijani culture. He was also a member of Musavat Party. You know it well. Jafar Jabbarli is a person who wrote the biggest works in the soviet period. Most of our generation have grown up with his works. “Od gelini” ( Bride of Fire), “Yashar”, “Almas”, “ 1905-ci ilde” ( in 1905) , “Oktay Eloghlu” ( country-man Oktay), “Solghun Chichekler” ( Pale Flowers), “Firuze” and etc. are very beautiful works! Later I heard, it was said that it was good for Jafar Jabbarli to die in 1934, otherwise he would be arrested. However, these words do not become us. May be he would be arrested. For example, our great philosopher poet playwright Huseyn Javid was arrested; his works were banned for many years. However, history put everything in own places. The remnant of Huseyn Javid was brought to his motherland from Siberia and he gained his own fame. However, I regret that Azerbaijan in ten years could not realize the decision about the 100th anniversary of Huseyn Javid adopted by the Communist Party in 1981. Then we adopted a decision for the erection of a huge monument of Huseyn Javid in Baku. The famous sculptor Omer Eldarov created this monument, and I saw it in his workshop. However, the monument was left there for many years. It looks like the monument has been erected recently. Unfortunately, I did not have a chance to visit it. Now people need the works of Huseyn Javid as air and water. They are necessary not only from the literary point of view, but also from philosophical and scientific point of view. However, have these works been published on a satisfactory level? Huseyn Javid is called the Shakespeare of the Orient. However, it would be better to compare him with Goethe. Perhaps Huseyn Javid has risen to a higher level than Shakespeare according to his philosophical ideas in his works.  “Iblis” (Satan) by Huseyn Javid does not lag behind the “Faust” of Goethe. However, we cannot appreciate such pearls properly.

I hope that we will provide all these during the independence of Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan has a huge scientific and cultural potential. Our scholars, poets, writers and composers have left a big heritage. It is the duty of the present generation to improve the science and culture on the basis of it. However, on the one hand, we live proudly by gaining independence, on the other hand, unfortunately, we destroy science and remain indifferent to the culture. Transition into the market economy does not mean that the resources allocated for science and culture should be decreased and these fields should suffer material and financial hardships.

For example, how a person can tolerate that the building of Azerbaijan Drama Theatre has not been repaired for four years? Nevertheless, then within two years, from the beginning of 1971 until the end of 1972 we built a palace – it was then called Lenin Palace- now it is Republican Palace. That palace is the biggest cultural building that has ever been built until now, and thank God, it has been serving the Azerbaijani people, the citizens of Baku over 20 years.  I repeat that we built it within two years. Then, why they cannot repair the DramaTheatre for four years? Is it very difficult?

If within these four years the heads of Azerbaijan had taken care of the culture and repaired the building of the same theatre instead of creating separate armed groups, had it not it been better for the Azerbaijani people?

In 1873 Nejef bey Vezirov and others established the first Azerbaijani theater, the first theatre in the Orient in the time, when the religious pressure was hard on culture. In 1973 we proclaimed the world and celebrated proudly the 100th anniversary of the first Muslim theatre in the Orient. Perhaps you remember how well we celebrated this anniversary. Now they do not remember that theatre. Is it respect to the spirits of Mirze Feteli Akhundov, Necef bey Vezirov, Abbas Mirze Sherif-zade, Ulvi Rejeb, Mirzagha Aliyev, Sidgi Ruhulla, and Alasger Alakbarov? At least, feel your responsibility to their spirits. If Huseyn Arablinsky sacrificed his life on this way by performing as an actor, then why the present men-of-culture do not express anxiety that our culture is destroying?

It is said that,  thanks to so-and-so that they help the culture. However, I cannot accept it in this form. Does it mean that the state is not able to repair a theatre? What does it mean? I have not seen, but it is said that various people build three-storey summer-houses and buildings. I don’t envy. However, the theatre should be built first. You know the importance of theatre for the people in the development of culture. I repeat, if then, at the end of the past century and the beginning of the 20th century there were progressive-minded and poor persons, who took care of the theatre, then why we do not feel care for them now, when the state is in our hands. God bless Haji Zeynalabdin Taghiyev, he left a theatre building after his death. Later this building collapsed. Now again construction is in process, however, when I saw the architecture of the building I felt sad, because Azerbaijan has great architectural and art schools. The Azerbaijani architects created monuments famous in the world 800-900 years ago.

The monuments built by Ejemi Nakhchivani remain not only in Nakhchivan, but also in some of the Eastern countries. The architects that built the Palace of Shirvanshahs approached their job with real national mentality. What about the present architects? I have not seen any pattern of the Azerbaijani architecture in the new theatre building. I did not understand the style of that building. God bless Musa Naghiyev, he left this building. It is very. The Azerbaijani people use it. There is a kind of mixture in it from architectural point of view, I do not want to analyze it. However, there are a lot of architectural and artistic patterns of the Azerbaijani people. If I am not mistaken, this building was constructed in 1913. If Musa Naghiyev took this issue into his consideration while it was built, then why a new building, which is built in 1992-1993, must not demonstrate the national architectural style?

I hope that you will accept my words correctly. Critical opinions were a lot; however, they are not addressed to definite persons.   It concerns you, me and others. Perhaps I can justify myself that I have not been here for more than ten years, but I was here mentally. In one word, our science and culture must live and develop.

I hear that some people intend to destroy the Academy of Sciences and its institutions, there is an indifference to research centers. We will put an end to all of them. Not depending on the expense, we will stop it. Science must develop irrespective of economy. The Academy of Sciences is a historical achievement of the Azerbaijani people. Great scholars of Azerbaijan, who established this academy in 1945, demonstrated great courage. In the last epoch the Azerbaijani science has developed within the framework of This Academy. It is possible to criticize the activity of the Academy, there are shortcomings in its activity. However, in general, undoubtedly, we should highly appreciate the road of science, preserve it and should not loose. It is easy to destroy, but difficult to establish and create. Was it easy to establish the Academy of Sciences in 1945, later to improve it and create new institutions? Of course, no.

Those, who have made statements in the last two years about the Academy, are the people who worked in the Academy before. Two days ago I had a talk with Ziya Bunyadov. I said to him that it was his fault, because, whoever we talk about, he says that he was his postgraduate or laboratory assistant. I said to him that if he taught those people like this form? (Laugher in the hall) He finds a sole consolation: Ebulfez Elchibey has said,  not to touch Ziya Bunyadov, he was his teacher. (Laugher in the hall)

Again I repeat that it is easy to destroy, but difficult to create. History and people always appreciate the creators and founders. Those, who are destroying have always been erased from history or entered into history as negative people. You can be sure that the Academy of Sciences and its institutions will function and we will create opportunities for them. The Azerbaijani science should develop. Universities, higher schools must also improve. But there should be order and law. If we want to improve the mental values of the people, first of all, our intelligentsia must have high morality and they must serve examples to other strata of people. We will render all necessary assistance to this field and culture, science, education, as well as, higher education and other directions of the social field to improve. Undoubtedly, we will face difficulties in transition into the market economy. However, I hope that we can overcome them.

Today I came here only to have a meeting with you. However, I understood that you have gathered here in connection with the presidential elections. I want to say to you openly that believe it, I repeated it,  I  did not desire to occupy a high post in Azerbaijan again. You know that I left Azerbaijan on December, 1982. In the end of October, 1987, I was fired from all the posts- member of the Political Bureau, first deputy of the chairman of the Soviet of the Minister of USSR- that I occupied. The following years were hard days for me. However, I tolerated these difficult days and examination, and did not give up my faith.

When the calumniation campaign started against me few people joined it, but the majority appreciated my activities when I worked in Azerbaijan. That’s why, I am grateful to the Azerbaijani people. It is true that sometimes such representatives of the people were silent, some time they were prevented. However, I deeply felt it. The Azerbaijani people brought me up, created conditions for me in order to engage in socio-political activities and entrusted me for long years. Although I was far away, I always felt the positive attitude, respect of the Azerbaijani people to me during the hard days of my life. These ties have never been broken and rescued me from hardships, when I was subject to severe examinations, sufferings and even persecutions.

I had not the mind to restart my political career, I just found shelter and lived in my motherland, Nakhchivan due to lack of condition for living in Moscow and Baku. I did not have another claim. I am satisfied with the period I spent there. Although life conditions were difficult, social and moral environment was very good for me, because I was living among the ordinary and poor people.  If I do not take into consideration my youth, which I spent in the same conditions, probably this was the richest period of my life from spiritual point of view. That’s why, I did not have the desire and intention to occupy any state post in Azerbaijan again. However, fate brought me to Baku again. When I felt that the people needed me, I did not refuse. I struggled neither for occupying a post, nor for being the president of Azerbaijan. However, if the Azerbaijani people and the republic need me, I cannot step aside, although now the republic is in destruction. Imagine that the waves have thrown a ship, to the shore destroyed by the hurricane. It needs reconstruction in order to be able to sail again. Perhaps I am mistaken; however, Azerbaijan now experiences the same. Arrival and taking up all the responsibility in such a condition, of course, are wrong from personal point of view.

However, I did not refuse to occypy the post of the chairman of the Supreme Soviet taking into consideration the interest of the whole people and republic. Now, I have not objected against being proposed as a candidate to the post of the president. However, I do not fight for this post. I was told that according to the rule, there should be representatives of the candidates for the presidency. I said that I did not need it. I think that if my people need me, then my representative is the people. If they do not need me, it is meaningless to have 15-20 persons to say that Heydar Aliyev is a good person, he will do such works and so on. I do not need it.

I say you frankly. I do not want to promise anyone. When I was elected chairman of the Supreme Soviet, I was asked about my promises. I answered that I am not a prophet. I cannot say how Azerbaijan will overcome this situation. However, if I take this responsibility, then I can search for the ways to save the people from this situation (of course, with the people and their inteigentsia). Now I repeat that I do not promise anything. I can promise only one thing: I have always been loyal to the Azerbaijani people, to the country, and I will be loyal to them forever. I will serve my people till the last minute of my life and give remaining years of my life to my people as a gift. I finish my speech with these words.

Thank you.