Speech of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev at the ceremony dedicated to the Day of Victory - May 9, 2001

Dear veterans!

Ladies and gentlemen!

I congratulate you and all the Azerbaijani people cordially on the Day of Victory, on the occasion of the 56th anniversary of the victory over the fascism. I wish you and the Azerbaijani people peace and prosperity.

This victory is very significant for all the countries in the world. Because, on the 9th of May in 1945 a victory was won over the fascism and the mankind was saved from the misfortunes of the fascism. Therefore, the Day of Victory is celebrated in the whole world. The countries which fought against the fascism in the World War II, and even the countries and peoples which didn`t join the battles in the World War II know well that if the Nazi troops had not been forced to sign the act of capitulation in 1945 by Marshal Zhukov, the commander- in -chief of the Soviet army, and his companions in arms, the fascism would have captured the whole world.

Fascism brought so many misfortunes, troubles to the world, and everyone knows it well. The World War II began with the claim of Hitler army to rule the world. As it is known, within a short period of time they occupied many European countries, the peoples underwent tortures. Then they attacked the Soviet Union, the people, the country, which were a serious danger for them not only with its military forces but also with strong patriotic feelings. The war was very severe. The World War II involved not only Europe, but also other continents. As it is known, the Far East country Japan also joined the war. But the peoples` desire for life and their wish to prevent this danger made the victory over the fascism possible, and thus in the 20th century the whole world, mankind could become free from this tragedy.

The Soviet Union had a decisive and leading role in the defeat of the enemy and victory over the fascism. It is known that, the armed forces of Germany suddenly attacked the Soviet Union and advanced very fast, they could occupy the European part of the Soviet Union. Stalingrad was fighting for life and death. The Nazi army approached the Caucasus. It is well known that the occupation of the Caucasus, especially Azerbaijan, Baku, was one of the main goals of Hitler`s strategic plans. But with the joint efforts of the people and coalition countries, the USSR, the USA, Great Britain and also the occupied France the Nazi army was defeated.

Today we can proudly say that the Azerbaijani people, Republic of Azerbaijan have their roles and tribute in this victory. And even a great role. It means about six hundred thousand people from Azerbaijan fought in the Great Patriotic War, they fought heroically, displayed courage and proved that the Azerbaijani people has high morals and physical values, patriotic feelings. Today we remember our compatriots, who performed a feat of valour in that war and who were awarded with the titles of the Hero of the Soviet Union.

Today we have got together by the memorial of twice Hero of the Soviet Union Hazi Aslanov. It is not just a coincidence. Celebrating the 56th anniversary of the Victory in front of the memorial of General Hazi Aslanov, who reached the highest level of heroism, we express our great respect and esteem. We bow to Hazi Aslanov and to all our compatriots who were killed in the battles n the World War II.

The special importance of the victory over the fascism for Azerbaijan is that the citizens of Azerbaijan, brave Azerbaijanis were engaged in the production of oil and oil products. Day and night they were engaged in oil fields. And they continuously used to send these products to the front. Now when I watch some newsreels, on the one hand, I am surprised at this incredible heroism, on the other hand, I take pride both in the heroism of our people in the front and their self-sacrifice in the rear. The World War II wasn`t a war of infantry. It was the war of engines, aircrafts and fighters. If there were not oil products, these machines couldn`t wok and secure the victory. Azerbaijan, Baku accounted for more than 70 percent of the oil produced in the Soviet Union then. Imagine, the Nazi troops almost approached the Caucasus, the borders of Dagestan. They were planning to attack Baku. It is known that some aircrafts of the Nazi army violated the borders of Azerbaijan. It is well known that the map of Azerbaijan, Baku, was on the cake baked for Hitler`s birthday. And it was said then that if they had been able to occupy Baku, they would have ensured the victory. There is a great deal of truth in these words. Because, bloody battles were being fought in Stalingrad. The Northern Caucasus was under occupation. Tanks, aircrafts, weapons were being made in the Urals, central Asia and other places. But all these machines, engines needed oil and oil products. That is why, Hitler was yearning to get Baku. But he couldn`t achieve his goal. Because, our soldiers accomplished a feat and the Nazi troops couldn`t broke into Azerbaijan.

The subsequent period is known. Especially after the USA and Great Britain set up military coalition and the second front was opened in Europe and in the North Africa in 1944, the Soviet army began its serial attacks. The Soviet army drove out the Nazi army not only from the Soviet Union, but also from Europe, especially from the Eastern Europe, and liberated those peoples from occupation.

The history of war is long. Much can be said about it. But I want to mention some points and remind both the present and future generations how terrible and dangerous the World War II was for the mankind. We can say that, because of the damage it did to the mankind and the number of human losses, it is the largest war in the world history. The fascists ravaged everything in the occupied territories. In the Soviet Union alone 27 million people were lost in the occupied territories. Half out of 600,000 men from Azerbaijan didn`t return home. Everyone must learn a lesson from this.

It is true that no large wars have taken place after the World War II. But local wars are taking place in different parts of the world. And it is a great pity that these wars are taking place and those who wage them and provoke conflicts haven`t learned any lessons from the World War II.

There are military conflicts in different regions of the world at the moment. One of them is in the Southern Caucasus. Especially Armenian`s aggression against Azerbaijan, occupation of 20 percent of the Azerbaijani lands. Like Hitler, Armenians have ravaged everything in the occupied territories. The cities, villages founded by hard labour and great efforts of the people for many centuries have been ravaged. The Armenian aggressors don`t differ from the Nazi army, fascists. Therefore, I say that some countries, states, peoples must learn from the lessons of the World War II.

The occupied regions of Azerbaijan will be liberated and the territorial integrity will be restored. Our compatriots driven out of their native country will return home. But it is only the first part of the problem. Then we restore the life and make necessary living conditions. The fate of Azerbaijan was very hard at the end of the 20th century and is still hard at present. In spite of this, we are optimistic about the future.

Hitler and his army declared the war at the World War II with the greatest military strength, and as a result it was defeated. The fascism will live in peoples` memories as a tragedy, as plague. But mankind will never let the fascism revive again. I also want to say about those aggressors, who wage wars in different parts of the world, especially about those who broke into Azerbaijan, they must know that, they will never be justified. Let them not celebrate the invasion of Shusha and not consider it o be theirs forever. It won`t be so! Centuries-old history represents these events in the books. The aggressor is always punished- it is a proven fact. The aggressors must get what they deserve. Those who kill people savagely, devastate hospitals, schools, burn down houses must be punished and will be punished.

Today a group of our veterans is here. They are the most respected people in our society. They sacrificed their lives, went through fires, and got wounds, suffered a lot. How fortunate it is that

they are alive and are here with us today. I pray for them to live long. Therefore, both the war veterans and veterans of labour of the World War II must be taken care, must be respected and their services in the victory over the fascism must never be forgotten.

During our meeting with the veterans some of them tell me that I have returned their holiday. I am really proud of it. Because, in 1992-1993 the Day of Victory and its celebrations were prohibited in Azerbaijan. I remember, when I worked in Nakhichevan, we always celebrated Day of Victory, met veterans. There are many people there who fought, displayed heroism in the war. We used to meet. But unfortunately the members of the Popular Front, who declared themselves "great democrats", treated the veterans as enemies.

I remember, when I worked in Nakhichevan, I appointed one of the members of the Popular Front prime minister of Nakhichevan Autonomous Republic. When the veterans addressed him with requests he ignored them. And he used to say that he hated the veterans like the snake hates the mint. You see how repulsive and immoral they were. Calling themselves "democrats" they do not know or do not want to know that all these facts have been written in the books on history. The Azerbaijani people had very hard times in 1941-1945. I have lived through all these. Nowadays it has become very popular to hold "mass meetings", if there is no gas, electricity and if they are any other problem in some regions.

But I have seen both the people and the life. We got neither gas nor electricity then. I remember, we used to get white bread by cards. I just talk about the rear. Workers were given 600 grams of bread but non-working people 400 grams per capita in the family. We got nothing else. People used to live on this. I have lived through all these myself.

The fathers and grandfathers of these "democrats" (of course they will never become democrats), saw these difficulties, defended our motherland and deprived themselves of pleasure, turned Azerbaijan into such a beautiful country. How it is possible that they do not only respect them but also hate. It means that they treat their fathers, mothers in the same way.

I remember, some veterans here got information that we were going to celebrate Day of Victory in Nakhichevan. As they didn`t have opportunity to celebrate this holiday here they came to Nakhichevan. They came to Nakhichevan by plane with great difficultiy. Why? -To celebrate this day. The Day of Victory is dear for all of us and we should bring up the young so that it would be dear for them too.

I remember, we were going to celebrate the Day of Victory on the 9th of May in 1993. We did some work in the city, went to the Martyrs` Avenue. And when we came to the meeting hall I saw some veterans led by the Hero of the Soviet Union late Ziya Bunyadov. They came here to spend the Day of Victory with us. I was very glad. And how glad were they! I witnessed this.

Unfortunately we went through these periods. What a pity! But it didn't last long.. It can`t be everlasting. People can`t tolerate it. We mustn`t forget any page of our history. We have tragic pages in our history. Our people were opressed, repressed. Innocent people were exiled from Azerbaijan and killed, families ruined. We mustn`t forget this either. We must never forget the World War II and the people who took part in the victory over the fascism. As long as we live, you will live, dear veterans, you will be taken care, and you will be respected. You are the most esteemed people of Azerbaijan. But today few of you are here. It is said that the others have got together in other regions.

Dear veterans!

I congratulate you once more, I wish you good health. Inspite of so many difficulties our veterans are strong in will. I see some of them even don`t grow old. Just now I have met Zoya khanum, by the way her real name is Durra, just we called her Zoya then. I saw her 30 years ago, she is the same. She is the same as she was then. I know the reason. Because, these people went through a hard trial. The man, who goes through a hard period, becomes stronger, more resolute. They prevent the disease themselves. I wish you live and take part in the life of independent Azerbaijan. You should know that our people, nation and government will never forget you and those who have passed away. I congratulate you once more, I wish you good health. Thank you.