Speech of the president of Azerbaijan Republic Heydar Aliyev in the solemn jubilee ceremony dedicated to 80-years anniversary of Azerbaijan National Army - June 25, 1998

scotch egg
scotch egg
scotch egg
scotch egg

Dear soldiers, officers, fighters!

Dear ladies and gentlemen!

I congratulate you sincerely on the occasion of 80-years jubilee of Azerbaijan National Army, the day of armed Forces of Azerbaijan Republic, holiday.

I congratulate sincerely the soldiers, fighters performing their honorable services in Armed Forces of Azerbaijan, standing in trenches, acting in military units, defending our motherland, Azerbaijani lands standing face to face with Armed Forces of Armenia in front.

We declared 26 June holiday. It is completely sound, expedient and natural. Because 80 years ago, just this day one of the first steps of the republic declaring our state independence Azerbaijan Republic, the government acting in Ganja, building independent Azerbaijan was the decision about founding Azerbaijan National Army. As a sign of great respect to that decision, step we declared 26 June the day of Armed Forces of Azerbaijan, Army.

During past 80 years Azerbaijani people passed a complicated, contradiction and at the same time honorable way in the filed of army-building. This 80-years has stages, every stage has particular importance. It is our 80-years history. Passing 80-years way our today`s army, Armed Forces of independent Azerbaijan reached today`s regular army level.

Azerbaijani people have old, rich state system. Army building, forming in order to defend state, country in the history of state system of Azerbaijan, being powerful was always in the focus of attention. In centuries- old Azerbaijani people held many battles, answering foreign attacks or ensuring restoration of its territory fighter much. Brave sons of Azerbaijani people turned out saga, passed from generations to generations, from mouth to mouth. Although the names such as Koroghlu, Babak belong to our past, they are samples of heroism, courage for our people still today, specimen for every Azerbaijan young.

It is true, when our republic was in the composition of tsar Russia Azerbaijanis, Moslems were not involved to the army, and they were free of army. While analyzing history we see how many negative results it had. Our nation, people was deprived from military profession. But at the same time, khan dynasties connected with ruling circles sent their children to military service, and considered it great honor for them. Studying at high level military schools they achieved to get great ranks. All of them served in the army of tsar Russia. Some famous Azerbaijani captains, generals participated in the wars, while Russia conducted in XIX century and displayed heroism. At the same time, the importance of the facts, that l remember, for us is that there show what our people, nation is able.

In this case when Azerbaijanis, Moslems did not serve in the army of tsar Russia, if Azerbaijani sons finished high-level military schools of Russian Army, displayed great professionalism, heroism, got the rank of general, were rewarded with orders, these show what Azerbaijani people, sons are able. These are forgotten pages, facts of our history in the Soviet period. But while restoring our history today we should learn all of these and our people should know it.

Some generals of Nakhchivan khans` dynasty served very successfully: general Ehsan khan, general Kelbeli khan, Huseyn khan, Ismail khan, Jamshid khan Nakhchivanskis. A lot of generals from Bakikhanovs dynasty occupied dynasty occupied distinguished place in the history of Azerbaijan, in the history of army. A lot of generals from Talishkhanovs dynasty occupied their places in the pages of our history. General Ferej bey Aghayev, general Aghalarov, general Arablinski and others- all these are high-rank generals, Azerbaijani sons served in the army in XIX century and at the beginning of XX century.

Semed bey Mehmandarov, Aliagha Shikhlinski gained much respect in the Russian army are more familiar than the generals who I mentioned. They participated in Russian- Japanese war, displayed samples of heroism, then beginning from 1918 they had great services in building Azerbaijan Armed Forces.

Yes, one can note with great pleasure that, while the republic, the first democratic government carried out state building in very complicated and difficult period in 1918, attached special importance to forming Armed Forces and army building and looked after it. While turning over the pages of our two-years- two years were not completely- history of the republic, doing a lot of valuable works in the field of army building really stirred up the sense great respect.

The first military minister of Azerbaijan was the Prime Minister Fatali khan Khoyski. But after some time Semed bey Mehmandarov was appointed military minister, Aliagha Shikhlinski was appointed deputy minister. The chief of head headquarters was Sulkevich from Polish nation. They did much at that time. Young, independent Azerbaijan fought against Armenian aggression diversions that Armenia did in Azerbaijan and it did successful works.

After collapse of the republic Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic had dealt with army building during previous two years. At that time, the Ministry of Military Navigation of Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic was formed in 1920. Azerbaijan was building its Armed Forces and developing it.

It is true, this army immediately passed to the composition of the XI Red Army. But in spite of this, it was own military units of Azerbaijan Republic. As the republic, the government of Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic used existing military specialists of Azerbaijan.

After Semed bey Mehmandarov, Aliagha Shikhlinsky serving in the army of tsar Russia for long time, leading building the army of independent Azerbaijan during the republic the dealt with building army giving Azerbaijanis military education, instructions it is very interesting, particular, but at the same time natural. Because military profession, qualification demand military education, experience, knowledge, military training battle experience first of all. When these are absent, it isn`t possible to build Armed Forces. It these professional servicemen are present, it is possible to use them in army building. Semed bey Mehmandarov and Aliagha Shikhlinski are obvious proof to it.

As I noted, Jamshid Nakhchivanski is one of the generals of Nakhchivan khans` dynasty. He served in the army, of tsar Russia, was the commander of Azerbaijan division during the republic and fought against Armenian saboteurs, aggressors in Garabagh, and then served in the soviet army. He was so great experienced person that he worked in the post of chairman in Moscow Military Academy named after Frunze which was the highest military school of the Soviet Union at that time.

It is true, we should regret that, some of such cadres, maybe most of them were victims of repression of the Soviet power then. Most of them were killed, perished in was victim of repression in 1937.

Saying these words I want to state that, army building, founding Armed Forces demand great competence, experience, know ledge. The leaders of the first Azerbaijan Republic, government know it very well. So, it was used experience, services of military specialists, the generals served post, and officers.

All these are pages belonged to army building in Azerbaijan. Because when we say 80-years jubilee we should not lose anything in the middle. I say again, Azerbaijani people were able to build strong army as in the post when had own army. Even when Azerbaijani people were not independent, in the composition of other state, or when lived in other regime tried to learn military profession and displayed many samples.

During the second world, the Great Patriotic War a new, great corpse of servicemen, officers, generals was formed. In 1941, when the Great Patriotic War began generally 700 thousand citizens of Azerbaijan were sent to the front during the war, 300 thousands of them were perished, did not come back. Most of them were Azerbaijanis and Azerbaijani sons displayed samples of great heroism in the battles against German fascists.

Their names will be in the memory of our people forever. The heroes of the Soviet Union, such as Israfil Mammadov, Gafur Mammadov, Huseynbala Aliyev, Mehdi Huseynzada displayed really great heroism. There were high – level officers and generals among Azerbaijanis in these years. Heroism of Hazi Aslanov is known to the whole world. General Hazi Aslanov, General Akim Abbasov, General Mahmud Abilov and a lot of other generals, officers Azerbaijani generals, and officers grew during the Second World War.

Those years, participation of Azerbaijani people was in the composition of some special Azerbaijani divisions. Beginning from 1941 the division of 402, 369, 223, 416 were formed in Azerbaijan and most of them consisted of Azerbaijanis. They participated in the defense of Caucasus, then pulling German fascist troops from the territory of the Soviet Union, even being banished to Berlin. These were the divisions formed in 1941-1944 on the basis of 77th division formed in 20 years in Azerbaijan. 77th division passed greater battle, heroism way. 416 Taganrog division went to Berlin. 223rd division participated in conquering Belgrade, perishing fascist troops in Romania and other countries. All these show ability of Azerbaijani people learning military profession visually.

Most of men participating in the Second world war, the Great Patriotic War from Azerbaijan displayed high heroism samples and were rewarded with orders, medals. But it is a pity that, the national divisions formed during the war collapsed after the war at the end of 1940, in 1950. So, officer corpse of Azerbaijani nation disintegrated gradually. So, the number of Azerbaijanis serving in the soviet army in the level of high officers, general decreased and disappeared.

Undoubtedly that, we lost in the field of Military professionalism, in the attitude of our people to it. But we tried to liquidate it. Observations at the beginning of 1960-1970 showed that every year 60-70 thousand youths were mobilized to the soviet army from Azerbaijan; they passed military service, two- year`s military service. But there were not either professional servicemen or there were few. Interest of Azerbaijani youths to study at military schools decreased. It is natural. Because it Azerbaijani khans considered great honor for themselves to send their children to serve in the tsar army, to study at high level military schools and this increased their honor, it wasn`t in itself, it was in the result of their activity.

There was general mobilization during the Second World War. Azerbaijani sons displayed heroism samples developed during the war, got high ranks of officer, general. If not only Azerbaijani divisions, but also generally national divisions were not ruined, undoubtedly that our professional military cadres would be more.

So, we raised the matter of preparing professional military cadres consisting of Azerbaijanis as one of the main issues of our people at the beginning of 1970. Why?

First, I should say frankly that, it offended us, our people that, there was not Azerbaijani officer, general, or there was few in the army. From the second side, it offended us, because most of the men mobilized were sent to the units of second- third degree, construction battalion. So, they could not get experience of high military professionalism during two-year service. If Azerbaijani khans attached special importance to the preparation of officers in the case when there was limit in serving our people in XIX century, but why should not we prepare generals, officers of high- ranked from Azerbaijanis? So, we dealt with this problem very seriously and secondary military school named after Jamshid Nakhchivanski was formed; now its title is military college. It served our people too much and serves today too. But we were not satisfied only with it.

Two military schools of the Soviet Army were created in Azerbaijan 1939. One of them is General Military Commanders School; the second is the Military Marine School. These schools were created in Azerbaijan since 1939, situated in our republic for decades. But while getting acquaintance with activity of these schools in 1970 I saw that also each school admitted 300 students, only 10-15 Azerbaijanis studied at the General Military Commanders School, but 1-2 Azerbaijanis studied at the Military Marine School. Military schools were situated in Azerbaijan, Baku, but not quite most of them were Azerbaijanis. From one hand, it was the policy of the Soviet power, which was conducted at that time. They did not want to see the men of other nations and especially Azerbaijani nation in high posts in the army at that time. From another hand, there was cold attitude to military profession in Azerbaijan. We took measures in order to liquidate them. Besides, creating military school named after Nakhchivanski, we could manage to admit Azerbaijanis to two higher military schools every year, situated in Azerbaijan, also they were under subordination directly Moscow, the Ministry of Defense of the Soviet Union.

At the same time, this work went on gradually since 1970. At the end of 1970 we sent generally 800- 900 youths from Azerbaijan to more than 45 military schools, situating in different cities of the Soviet Union every year. While doing all these we thought about our people. We thought that our people not to lose military profession, it was said during tsar Russia, that "Moslems could not serve in the army", - our people not to deprive from military profession. At the same time I thought that, we would need it in future.

Now imagine, if we did not imagine it, which officers could we use in army when we got independence? At the same time we were dealing with moving forward Azerbaijanis in the rank of the soviet army. We valued such work as significant event for Azerbaijani people.

For example, since 1940 a great military unit- defense circle from air attack was situated in Baku. Its duty was not only to defense Baku. It was a great military unit in order to defense the whole Caucasus, the territory to Rostov, Volgograd.

But Azerbaijanis did not serve there. At last, it was possible some Azerbaijanis to serve there. The first commander of anti- aircraft- rocket troops was Azerbaijani Huseyn Resulbeyov. He reached the rank of general- lieutenant. It was a great event for our people. At that time I looked for that where was there Azerbaijani in the Soviet army, let help them, move them forward, render assistance in their development. General Barshadli is one of them. While looking for I found in the unit of the Soviet army in Germany. He was commander assistant of army there. I invited him to Azerbaijan and appointed him chief to the School of Military Commanders in Baku. The chief of that school always was Russian; deputies were some Armenians when I worked. But this school was situated in Azerbaijan. It was not an easy matter to appoint general Barshadli chief to that school. I appointed him that to admit a lot of Azerbaijanis there through him, to get accustomed to military profession and to learn this profession, the profession of officer and to operate.

Caspian Military Marine in Baku was founded in 1920; it was since period of tsar Russia. There was not any Azerbaijani. We found and brought admiral Gasimbeyov from Cronshtadt. I appointed admiral Gasimbeyov commander to Caspian Military Marine for the first time.

I remember, general- colonel Aghahuseynov was commander of regiment, officer here at the beginning of 1970. I looked after much, tried to develop him and he developed. Then he was commander of division in Volgograd, commander of corpse in Rostov and at lat he reached the rank of deputy commander of Military circle of Baku Air Attack Defense, general- colonel. There was no Azerbaijani who reached the rank of general- colonel in the soviet army.

As an Azerbaijan it worried me and we achieved it. At that time I tried to move forward cadres of such high ranked officers, generals, to found preparing today`s Military specialists, cadres of officers of Azerbaijan.

Thanks God that, all done works have yielded results. The minister for defense Safar Abiyev today reported that, two military schools act and a military academy is founded on the Because future development of our army is connected with preparation of military cadres and improvement of the level of their professionalism.

I want to mention and at the same time to note these historical cases, it is a pity that in the case when Azerbaijan underwent aggression by Armenia especially when Azerbaijan gained its state independence it could not use these professional military cadres, maybe, it was one of the reasons of our defeat.

It we take two centuries XIX XX centuries Azerbaijan people were people who learned this military qualification. Azerbaijani people revealed famous military specialists, officers, generals in different stages. In this case at the beginning of 1990 when Azerbaijan under event aggression by Armenia it was necessary to gather all of these cadres and to use them. But the last stage of army building of our country is the stage from Azerbaijan gaining state independence up today. This stage has been very difficult and hard. Because when Azerbaijan gained state independence that period was hard, difficult from top to toe. When Azerbaijan defended its lands against aggression of Armenia it gained state independence. But at the same time social-political situation within Azerbaijan was unstable very strained. All these did not offer facility to build normal army in Azerbaijan; same even did not want to build it. But the works, done during last five years show forming regular army in Azerbaijan.

Today I want to note with great pleasure that, now Azerbaijan has regular army able to meet modern demands. There is necessary discipline, rule in the army and today`s army of Azerbaijan; Armed Forces are able to defend Azerbaijani lands reliably.

Passing difficult ways we achieved it. But the achievement we got should not calmed us. Development of army its strengthening is the main duty of our people and state in Azerbaijan. Being always unanimous we stated that, state independence of Azerbaijan is eternal and unbreakable. We should care of the army specially strengthen and develop it in order to realize always this statement, to carry put these opinions practically.

Azerbaijan is a peaceful state. We never want war. Because Azerbaijan as independent state should solve the problems that before it. After the solution of them there is no need for Azerbaijan to wage war with some body. Our policy is known; to live with all neighbors in the condition of peace, kindness and mutual understanding, we want to create peace and tranquility in the region where we live. Just for this purpose we want to solve Armenian- Azerbaijani conflict, problem of Daghlig Garabagh in peace way. That`s why we signed an agreement about ceasefire in May of 1994 and we protect ceasefire regime.

Today I want to note that protecting ceasefire regime is the result of principal, peace- loving policy, from one hand. From other hand realization of this policy is the result of services of Azerbaijan Armed Forces, our army.

It is a case, which has not analogue that, Armed Forces Armenia and Azerbaijan, which are in the condition of war, stand vis-à-vis at a short distance, we have been protecting the ceasefire for four years without participation of separator, outside force. Thus we prove our peacefulness, devotion to ceasefire. The truth is that, it is necessary to value efforts of Armenian side too. During this period they also tried to keep ceasefire. If it was not so, one side could never keep ceasefire. But the difference is that, some parties of Azerbaijani lands have been occupied. More than one million of our citizens have been derived from these lands forcibly. Our property in occupied territories have been ransacked, ruined, our places of residence have been devastated. We had serious losses. In spite of all these, we pursue peace loving policy, followed ceasefire regime and follow.

Today there some difficulties in the field of settling Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict in peace way. The process of peace negotiations has been broken. It is not our fault. We want to speed up this process. We expressed our opinions about it to the co-chairmen of Minsk group repeatedly. Today again I state that, we were supporters of the matter to settle in peace way on the basis of the classifications given by the representatives of Russia, the United States of America, France, which are co- chairmen of Minsk group in September of last year and we support it today too. We want to speed up solution of the problem in this way. I suppose that, co- chairmen of Minsk group will increase their efforts in this field and the process of negotiations will speed up. But in spite of these, I state today again that, Azerbaijan is faithful to ceasefire regime, will keep this regime till the problem is settled in peace way.

Stating again these ideas I want to say that developing and strengthening our army, we don`t want to wage war.

We don`t want to wage war; simply we want to possess some-level Armed Forces in order to defend the territory of our country, reliably as an independent state. From this point of view, there are very great duties before our army, Armed Forces, all of us. We should increase care to the army, Armed Forces. Each problem of it should be under the patronage of the state and government; it should be looked through and solved in time.

As a head of state and Supreme Commander-in-chief I state that, I will try to perform this duty after this.

There are great duties on our people, society. It consists of that, our army, considered inseparable part of the people should be under the care of people and citizens. People should always love the army and help it. If people want to live freely, wish inviolability of the lands of his country, he should care of the army first of all. It is necessary to increase respect of the army. Military profession should be one of the most respected professions in Azerbaijan. Every citizen should display respect, esteem and care to Azerbaijan soldier, officer. I suppose that, patriotism sense in our people is strong. When the sense of patriotism is strong care and attitude to the army will increase day-by-day.

Every Azerbaijani citizen, every young man should consider his honorable duty to serve in the army. It is citizenship duty. I mention that, while being in the composition of the Soviet Union every year 60, even 70 thousand youths were mobilized to the rank of the Soviet army. Now our army doesn`t need so many youths in a year. But if as many as is needed, so should be. Every Azerbaijani youth should know that, who does not serve in the army, he cannot win respect in the society. On the contrary, good attitude, special respect should be to the men served in the army in the society. Those should be differed from those who did not serve; I address to the youths of Azerbaijan and state that, they should perform citizenship duties honorably. If our youths can achieve this honor how much, as much as respect they`ll gain in our society.

At the same, time I address to the parents of the youth. Parents want to divert their children from serving in the army in vain. You don`t help your child. Because every man serving in the army becomes firm, strengthens. Those, who passed difficult way as serving in the army, are able to manage the difficulties in their future life. Dear parents, so if you want your children to be successful in the life, get success in life, first of all send them to military service. Let them go and be soldier. The title of soldier should be the most honorable title in Azerbaijan. One, who was soldier he must be considered respected. But one, who was not soldier let understand himself. To cut long story short, care, attitude, of people, citizens, society should be realized in different ways. I stated some of them.

At last, about the duty before the army. The army, the Ministry of Defense, commanders of Armed Forces, all Armed Forces should serve light due to the care of the state, the government, the people to them. We try to improve material position of those who served in the army, increasing assistance of different organizations to the army and well do it after it.

We take care of the army within our existing opportunities. As an answer to care our army, military units, Armed Forces, soldiers our and officers should serve faithfully from one side. From second side they should create high sense of patriotism, loyalty, morality in the military units, passes these qualities. Yes, the army should not get mixed up in the policy. Who wants to get mixed up the army in the policy, he breaks the Constitution of Azerbaijan and well not allow it, well prevent such cases. But each soldier, officer, general serving in the army should. Know that he serves to the independent Azerbaijan state, state system. Defense of Azerbaijan state, state system, territory, protecting constitutional basis of our country is a duty of every soldier officer, tighter. Officers increasing then professionalism, improving system of education in higher military schools, creating healthy moral all foreign inclinations are holy duties of our commanders, officers, leaders of Armed Forces. Every body should perform these duties.

I mentioned history of 80-years army building in Azerbaijan Today participants of the Second World War live in Azerbaijan. Probably some of them have been invited to this hall. We should always respect and take care of them. They are respected men of our society.

Every Azerbaijani, possessing high morality should display respect and esteem to the veterans of the Second World War. At the same time it is necessary to use their experience, to expend their relations with military units. They are men, who passed great battles, seen rich experience of life.

Since beginning aggression of Armenia against Azerbaijan up today our people gave lasses, martyrs. Besides different negative incidents, acts in our military units in those years, most of Azerbaijani sons fought heroically, shed blood, were killed for a righteous cause, and became disabled. Father of martyr Rasim made an excited speech here. It is impossible to listen his words without anxiety, he lost his only son, young mayor son. Such martyr youths as Rasim are pride of Azerbaijani people. We should keep their memory in our heats, use samples of heroism in the bringing-up of youths, rouse interest in military profession.

Memory of Azerbaijani sons, sacrificing their life for the defense of Azerbaijani lands is dear for us. I ask you recall their memory for a minute silence in this day of holiday.

Allah rehmet elesin.

Bowing before the memory of martyrs today I state that, the army of Azerbaijan will try selflessly in the defense of our state system, territorial integrity. Internal and foreign policy that we conduct increases power of our country day-by-day. Our peace laving policy ensures solution of Armenian- Azerbaijan conflict in peace way. Armed Forces army of our country is a guarantee of reliable defense of Azerbaijan.

I wish new successes to our Armed Forces Azerbaijani soldier to perform all duties standing before them.

For the first time we celebrate the day of Armed Forces of Azerbaijani in high level. So, a new tradition is forming. I consider that the day of Armed Forces of Azerbaijan will enter to the life of our people; it will demonstrate unity of people with Army, care of our state and people to the army. I wish to all Azerbaijani people peace, tranquility. Our hero soldiers stand on guard of our tranquility and peace.

Long live Azerbaijani soldier!