Speech of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev at the ceremony dedicated to the 50th anniversary of the Victory in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945 - Republican Palace, May 5, 1995

Distinguished veterans and heroes of the Great Patriotic War!

I congratulate you on the 50th anniversary of the Victory in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945, wish you good health, happiness, and successes.

The Second World War was the most horrible war in the history of mankind. It resulted in the death of millions of people, destruction of cities and countries. The Azerbaijani people also contributed to the victory over fascism in the Second World War and the Great Patriotic War. Therefore, we are proud of celebrating the 50th anniversary of the victory as a great holiday for our nation.

The Azerbaijani people fought against fascism since the first days of the war. During the very first days of the war over 40,000 Azerbaijanis were enlisted for going to the front voluntarily. 180,000 people joined the army during that period. In 1941-1945 and before, the Azerbaijanis fought in the battles demonstrating heroism. In general, 700,000 people from Azerbaijan went to the front. 300,000 of them perished there. The Azerbaijanis struggled against the fascism till the end, contributing to the victory. Tens of thousands of people from our republic were awarded with orders and medals for their heroism.

130 people from Azerbaijan were awarded the Hero of the Soviet Union, the highest distinction. There are still a lot of people among us, who bear the wounds of the war. The Azerbaijani people demonstrated heroism in the war against fascism and wrote a significant page in our history.

The contribution of Azerbaijan to achieving successes and the ultimate victory in the war was also related to the work done in the rear. Since the first days of the war, the people in all the towns and villages of Azerbaijan did their best for the victory day and night.

The Azerbaijani oil was one of the most important factors in achieving the victory in the war. 70 per cent of the total oil of the Soviet Union was produced in Azerbaijan then. It was produced thanks to the enormous efforts of the Azerbaijani oilmen. It was impossible to achieve successes and victory in the war. The Azerbaijani oil workers contributed to the victory over fascism, producing, refining and exporting oil day and night. Fuel of high quality was invented by our scientists and produced in Azerbaijan then. The industrial enterprises of Azerbaijan were producing weapons of 130 kinds and sending them to the front. too.

The Azerbaijani people did their best and contributed to the victory in the war both in the battles and in the rear.

Divisions 416, 223 and 77 were organized in Azerbaijan. These divisions consisting of the Azerbaijanis made a long way from the Caucasus to Berlin contributing to the victory. I am proud to say that a monument dedicated to Division 416 named after Taganrog has been erected in Rostov. That monument was erected by the Azerbaijani people in Russia.

Another monument dedicated to Division 77 named after Simferopol has been erected in the Crimea.

Monuments to the people, who perished in the Great Patriotic War, have been erected in different places of Azerbaijan. They are always in our hearts. Today we are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the victory with the people who take an active part in the public life of our country. I am very happy to see that veterans with a lot of orders and medals have assembled in the Republican Palace today. It is a great happiness to be victorious and to celebrate its anniversary 50 years later. You are lucky. I congratulate you.

We can talk a lot about that war. But it is not necessary. Most of the people here have seen that war. Our youth know from books and films how horrible the war is and how people become heroes. Representatives of different nations took part in the war and became friends. This friendship is necessary for our present and future.

The world nations, progressive forces made big contributions to achieving the victory. The role of the Russian people n the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945 was enormous. So was the role of each people of the Soviet Union. Today when celebrating the 50th anniversary of the victory in Baku, Azerbaijan, I am sending the congratulations and regards of the Azerbaijani people to the all peoples of the former Soviet Union.

The victory over fascism was achieved thanks to the joint efforts of the antifascist nations. The leading force was the Great Coalition, which included the Soviet Union, the USA, the UK and France. The resistance movements, people and political forces fighting against fascism contributed to the victory. Today when celebrating the 50th anniversary of the victory, I am sending the congratulations and regards of the Azerbaijani people to the world nations, especially the people of the USA, the UK and France.

Fifty years have passed since the end of the Great Patriotic War and the Second World War. The last 50 years occupy a significant place in the history of Azerbaijan. Remarkable changes have taken place in the life of the Azerbaijani people during the last 50 years.

In general, a lot of changes and processes have taken place during this period. The Azerbaijani people has also made a long way. The economic, scientific, cultural potential and a broad educational system have been established during the recent 50 years in Azerbaijan. Today our republic exists and flourishes due to the achievements of the recent 50 years. After the victory over the fascism the road chosen by Azerbaijan led it to independence. Azerbaijan has gained its independence and held its position in the world community.

Dear veterans, you also contributed to the independence of Azerbaijan. Thanks to your efforts, fascism was defeated, Azerbaijan achieved great economic and intellectual potential, gained its independence and held its position in the world community.

Dear veterans, dear compatriots, I thank you personally and on behalf of our state.

Unfortunately, Azerbaijan has experienced big troubles during the recent years. Armenia has committed aggression against our country. The war continued for seven years and caused many losses. It brought great misfortunes for the Azerbaijani people. 20 per cent of the territories of Azerbaijan have been occupied, over one million people have become refugees. The brave sons of the Azerbaijani people perished demonstrating heroism and protecting our lands. I bow to all the people, who perished in the struggle against the fascism in the Second World War. I bow to our brave soldiers, who perished while protecting the independence and territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. Our current situation, the Armenian aggression against our country make us use the experience of the veterans of the Great Patriotic War for protecting our independence and strengthening our army. Therefore, I think that the recommendations and work of the veterans of the Great Patriotic War to the young generation is of great importance for strengthening our state and protecting our lands. I am sure that our veterans are still ready to protect the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. I appreicate the contribution of the veterans highly and wish them many successes.

We are a peaceful nation. Our people joined the war against fascism in order to keep peace and save the mankind from fascism. The Azerbaijani people still fight for its independence and territorial integrity. We don`t claim to the territories of other countries. But we shall not yield ours either.

We achieved a cease-fire between Armenia and Azerbaijan eleven months ago. We observe the cease-fire regime. I declare once more that Azerbaijan will observe this regime till the peace agreement. We want to end the war and solve the conflict peacefully. We shall pursue this policy.

A big delegation of the CIS Interparliamentary Assembly arrived in Azerbaijan today. We had meetings and negotiations. They are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the victory together with us. I congratulate you on the anniversary on behalf of the Azerbaijani people. I am sure than your activity will help to restore peace and stability in the region, help Azerbaijan to implement its peaceful policy.

We shall observe the cease-fire regime. We want peace. But this peace is needed only with the restoration of the territorial integrity and inviolability of the sovereignty of Azerbaijan. We lead the negotiations on these conditions. I hope that other countries, international organizations involved in the peace process will approach these issues fairly, understand the situation of our republic and know that we try to ensure long-term peace in our region on these principles.

Today I awarded a number of veterans with the medals on the 50th anniversary of the victory. All they wished the same - to celebrate a new victory. I have the same desire. May our territories be liberated from the invaders very soon! May our refugees return home! May our territorial integrity be restored forever! We want to achieve all these peacefully. I am sure that we shall. Very soon we shall celebrate such a holiday.

Dear veterans!

Dear sisters and brothers!

I cordially congratulate all of you. I express my respect to you. I wish you the best. Thank you.