BAKU, Azerbaijan, February 6. The Father of modern Azerbaijan, Heydar Aliyev successfully pulled the country out of its ‘nosedive’ and led his native land from its post-Soviet dilapidated and destitute state into the position of one of the most successfully developing former Soviet republics, David Chikvaidze, Chef de Cabinet to the Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG), told Trend.
He was sharing his memories of Heydar Aliyev as part of the joint Trend-NGIC project titled "The lasting legacy of Heydar Aliyev".
"The term Founding Father is usually associated with George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Alexander Hamilton, men who created a Nation that lives, thrives, and reinvents itself with every passing decade. In more recent times, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, Mahatma Gandhi, and Konrad Adenauer stepped up to the historic moment and laid the foundation for their respective great Nations and peoples. With the dissolution of the USSR, and the appearance on the world stage of fifteen new countries, they were all in a position to beget their own Founding Fathers. Azerbaijan was among only a handful of those who proved that a post-Soviet country could have a real Founding Father.
In true Founding Father fashion, Heydar Aliyev ensured that his work and his vision for his country would be firmly grounded in sound management and remain sustainable and successful in the long term," he said.
As Chikvaidze recalled, he first visited Azerbaijan only in December 1994, as part of a United Nations delegation to review the country's humanitarian needs at a difficult time.
"The delegation was received by President Heydar Aliyev, who had recently returned to save and lead his country out of the deep crisis that it had found itself in following the break-up of the USSR. President Aliyev personally greeted each member of the United Nations delegation by name. He gave a deeply knowledgeable overview of the state of affairs in the country and a most profound analysis of the regional and wider implications of the situation as it was evolving in the South Caucasus and in all of Eurasia. We were spellbound and knew that this was no ordinary politician we were witnessing, but a major figure of contemporary history. He was one of the most impressive political leaders I have ever encountered in my career," he said.
Chikvaidze noted that, for his family, as for most Georgians, Heydar Aliyev was a household name since the 1970s.
He considered peace in the Caucasus as his overarching commitment and was never tired of emphasizing this. "Achieving peace will not be easy, but common sense will prevail", he stressed during his state visit to Georgia in 1996. "The Caucasus must be peaceful, the Caucasus must be secure, the Caucasus must be a region of peaceful, good-neighborly, mutually advantageous cooperation", he added.
"The foundations of the young State laid down by the Father of modern Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev continue to be steadily and creatively strengthened, widened and solidified by President Ilham Aliyev. Under his astute leadership, Azerbaijan ‘came of age’, becoming a leading power in the energy, political, and strategic spheres, regained its territorial integrity and is a serious player on the world stage, a flourishing major regional actor that commands worldwide respect and an active and constructive member of the United Nations," Chikvaidze concluded.