Azerbaijan, Baku /corr. Trend S.Ilhamgizi / Today, 18 October, is the sixteenth anniversary of Azerbaijan's regaining its independence. The Supreme Council (Parliament) of Azerbaijan adopted the Constitutional Independence Act on 18 October 1991.
The first independent republic, Azerbaijan Democratic Republic, was established in the East on 28 May 1918. However, it came into existence for only two years. In the night from 27 to 28 April 1920, the legal Azerbaijani government was dissolved after attacks by the XI Red Army. The country joined the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR).
The Chairman of the Deputies' Commission devising the Independence Act, and key author of the first Constitutional Act, Hajibaba Azimov, said in his interview with Trend that the independence of Azerbaijan was regained as a result of a tense struggle and resistance against the Communist Bloc in the Supreme Council.
According to Azimov, already in 1990 a Deputies' Bloc of Independent Azerbaijan was established to achieve the independence of Azerbaijan. Initially the bloc included fifteen deputies and later their number increased up to twenty-five.
"From 5 February 1991 the Supreme Council began meetings and from the first day, we demanded announcing our independence. The majority of the Supreme Court of a combined 350 people threatened us. However, a fighter for our country's independence, Tofig Gasimov, said that we were prepared to give ourselves as victims if it meant achieving the independence of Azerbaijan," Azimov said.
On 8 March 1991 the Supreme Court discussed the issue of holding a referendum on maintaining the USSR as a unified state.
Despite the protest of the Deputies' Bloc of Independent Azerbaijan and another eighteen deputies, the Supreme Council decided to hold a referendum. The Supreme Council of Nakchivan Autonomous Republic headed by Heydar Aliyev at that time refused the decision and Nakchivan did not participate in the referendum.
"We held rallies near the Supreme Council. Different sections of the population joined us. At last the Supreme Council's leadership passed a declaration on restoration of our country's independence on 30 August. However, the document was a declarative one and did not create any real conditions for independence," Azimov said.
According to Azimov, MPs supporting the restoration of independence demanded the development of a broader document. Then the leadership of the Supreme Council submitted the project of the Constitutional Statement on State Independence. However, there were no main articles providing for independence within the document. The Supreme Council had to form the new MP commission after the latest demonstration by the MPs.
"The commission headed by Azimov developed the Constitutional Statement consisting of thirty-two articles and submitted them during meetings for consideration held on 17 and 18 October. The unity was achieved in the Supreme Council. Each article of the document was separately submitted for vote. MPs voted to pass the statement," he said.
According to Azimov, more than 250 MPs out of 350 attended at the meeting. Some MPs attempted to avoid voting which would be a violation of the quorum. 'The MP bloc of Independent Azerbaijan' achieved a roll-call vote. Then independence opponents had to vote for the Constitutional Statement to avoid their names being included into the 'black list'.
"Some MPs who did not vote for the independence of Azerbaijan now have quite responsible posts. They caused damage then and may cause damage for the population today," Azimov said.