Russia, Astrakhan, Sept. 12 / Trend M. Aliyev /
The ceremony of laying foundation stone to a monument to Prince Vladimir was held in front of the Saint Prince Vladimir Cathedral in Astrakhan On Wednesday, Trend special correspondent reports.
The ceremony was attended by Heydar Aliyev Foundation Vice-President Leyla Aliyeva. The decision to erect a monument to Prince Vladimir was made by President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev. Construction of the monument will be supported by the Heydar Aliyev Foundation.
Commencement of building a monument to one of the outstanding leaders of the Russian state Prince Vladimir is one of the very important activities undertaken by the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, Astrakhan Region Governor Alexander Zhilkin said at the foundation stone laying ceremony.
Zhilkin said the monument will be erected in front of the Saint Prince Vladimir Cathedral, built with donations from representatives of all nationalities and peoples living in Astrakhan. At the beginning of the last century, the Bolsheviks wanted to demolish this temple, but residents of Tatar settlement living there didn't allow that.
Alexander Zhilkin thanked Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev for the proposal to set up "a landmark monument of Slavic Orthodox culture" and noted that the monument will be a symbol of unbreakable eternal friendship between the Azerbaijani and Russian peoples.
Expressing gratitude to Leyla Aliyeva, and the Azerbaijani government, Zhilkin delivered a letter to Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev with a proposal of Astrakhan to build in Azerbaijan a square or park and set there a symbol of friendship between Astrakhan Region and Azerbaijan.
Today it's necessary to think about a feat performed by Prince Vladimir, and his efforts to mobilize the people, Deputy Head of the Russian Presidential Administration Department for Interregional and Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries Sergey Chebotarev said. He noted that he is impressed by the fact that Azerbaijan is financing the project. This monument will be built in Azerbaijan, and it is even more valuable.
Azerbaijani Presidential Administration Social and Political Department Head Ali Hasanov said at foundation stone laying ceremony that activities carried out by the Azerbaijani delegation in Astrakhan are important for deepening Azerbaijan's cooperation with the Astrakhan region and the strengthening cooperation between Azerbaijan and Russia in general.
He said opening of the Azerbaijan-Russia Bridge of Friendship, as well as children's entertainment playground which was donated to Astrakhan residents by the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, are part of these events.
Hasanov said as it was already noted at the opening ceremony of the bridge, strengthening of peace and security, the promotion of humanism and charity, inter-ethnic and interconfessional dialogue are the priorities of the Foundation and its President Mehriban Aliyeva personally.
Over the past eight years numerous projects not only in Azerbaijan, but also far beyond its borders have been implemented on the initiative, with the direct involvement and support of the Foundation, Construction of children's homes and schools, the restoration of cultural and historical monuments, restoration of the Orthodox and Catholic churches serve to strengthening of mutual understanding and trust between peoples, preservation and enrichment of the cultural heritage of mankind. Erection of the monument to Prince Vladimir the Great is one of such projects of the Foundation, Hasanov said.
Azerbaijan treats the ancient history and culture of Russia, the rich literature and traditions of Russian people with great respect. Every nation has great historical figures, these are people whose deeds and actions remain in history, are passed from generation to generation. Among a large number of representatives of the Russian people the great Kiev Prince Vladimir holds a special place. From history we know that he played a major role in strengthening of the Russian state. During his reign, Orthodox Christianity has been chosen as the state religion, Azerbaijani top official said.
He said Prince Vladimir the Great, converted to Christianity, was a great reformer of the spiritual life of the Russian people. It was he who established the first school for literacy. Introduction of Christianity greatly enhanced the prince's power and hastened the process of unification of East Slavic lands in the united Russian state. In Russian history, Prince Vladimir remained not only as a great statesman, but as a person, who defined the future development of the country.
Hasanov said that today's Russia is one of the most powerful nations of the world, and the multinational Russian society is characterized by a high level of culture and education.
He expressed satisfaction with the fact that Azerbaijan by the sea and the land is neighbor of Russia and in the post-Soviet Caucasus Russia and Azerbaijan are sort of islands of stability and tolerance. Since ancient times, dozens of nationalities and ethnic groups have lived in Azerbaijan as one family.
Hasanov said a mosque, a church, a Catholic church and a synagogue, located abreast in Baku, are both a proof and result of the situation of tolerance of Azerbaijani society. It is due to the existence of a favourable environment in recent years that Azerbaijan has become a convenient venue for prestigious international forums on international, intercultural and interfaith dialogue. Initiator and organizer of many events, of course, was the Heydar Aliyev Foundation.
Eight-year activities of the Foundation show that it has always successfully finished the started projects, Ali Hasanov noted.
There is no doubt that the project for the construction of the monument to Prince Vladimir will be completed in a short time and at a high level, Hasanov said, noting that the Azerbaijani delegation will be pleased once again to visit the hospitable land of Astrakhan and attend the opening ceremony of the monument.
After the foundation stone laying a press briefing was held with the participation of Heydar Aliyev Foundation Vice President Leyla Aliyeva and Astrakhan Region Governor Alexander Zhilkin.
During the briefing Zhilkin thanked the Azerbaijani leadership and personally Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Heydar Aliyev Foundation Vice President Leyla Aliyeva. He said the concept of strategic cooperation between Azerbaijan and Russia is implemented through practical actions.
Zhilkin listed humanitarian projects, which the Heydar Aliyev Foundation has implemented in Astrakhan in recent years, including the school named after Heydar Aliyev, Heydar Aliyev park, bridge, children's playground, and an initiative of erecting a monument to St. Prince Vladimir.
"This is a real embodiment of postulates, which are incorporated in the agreements between Russia and Azerbaijan," the governor said.
Leyla Aliyeva said at the briefing that the representation of the Foundation in Russia has been operating for five years. The Foundation has a lot of projects throughout Russia, and a bridge and playground were opened, and the stone of a monument to St. Prince Vladimir was laid in Astrakhan on Wednesday. It is also planned to visit school 11 named after Heydar Aliyev.
She expressed satisfaction with the fact that the Foundation has many projects that unite Azerbaijan and Russia because these countries are tied by long years of friendship and good-neighborliness. She also expressed confidence that relations between the two countries will further develop and strengthen.