Details added (first version posted at 18:30)
Volgograd, Russia, Dec. 20
By Elchin Huseynov - Trend:
On December 20 the Russian city of Volgograd hosted the ceremony of opening of Volgograd-Baku Friendship Park.
The park, which has been created using an Azerbaijani national motif, occupies over 7 hectares of land, in one third of the existing Central Park of Culture and Recreation.
The solemn groundbreaking ceremony of the park was held on June 5, 2013, on the first day of the fourth Russian-Azerbaijani Inter-regional Forum "Russian-Azerbaijani dialogue 2013".
The event was attended by the Vice President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation Leyla Aliyeva, Head of the Department of Public and Political Issues of Azerbaijani president's administration Ali Hasanov, Governor of the Volgograd region Sergei Bozhenov, mayor of Volgograd city Irina Guseva and other officials.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Leyla Aliyeva thanked those present at the event for their warm welcome in Volgograd.
She noted that it is her first visit to Volgograd and it was very pleasant for her to feel the city's strong aura and energy.
Leyla Aliyeva said that the Heydar Aliyev Foundation has done a great job in Russia since the day of its opening.
Such projects as the construction of a school in Ulyanovsk city and creation of Azerbaijan Cultural Center at the All-Russia State Library of the Foreign Literature named after M.I.Rudomino have been implemented by the foundation.
The Heydar Aliyev Foundation erected a memorial stele at the International Alley of Glory and Soldier's Memorial "Nevsky pyatachok" in Leningrad oblast. The stele is dedicated to Azerbaijani soldiers who died in fights for Leningrad in 1941-1944.
The foundation's vice president noted that the Azerbaijani delegation arrived in Volgograd from Astrakhan, where a park, a bridge, a school and a playground were opened, and it is planned to build a kindergarten there as well. Leyla Aliyeva stressed that the foundation has a lot of interesting projects.
Azerbaijan and Russia are bounded by a long history of friendship and good neighborliness, Leyla Aliyeva said.
"The countries have lived through a lot of hard, tragic moments, but at the same time there were a lot of good and pleasant moments," she added.
Aliyeva went on to note that great Russian literature, culture and history are loved in Azerbaijan.
"Teaching of the Russian language at Azerbaijani schools has been fully preserved and the Russian Drama Theater, Russian Cultural Center, Baku Slavic University, Baku branch of the Moscow State University named after M.V. Lomonosov are operating in the country," Aliyeva said.
She noted that it is always possible to hear Russian speech on the streets of Baku, also expressing confidence that Azerbaijani-Russian relations, based on friendship, trust and understanding, will be strengthened and developed.
Leyla Aliyeva invited those present at the event to visit Baku, walk along the boulevard on the shore of the Caspian Sea and explore the city.
First Deputy Prime Minister of the Volgograd region Roland Kherianov in turn said that Azerbaijani builders created a beautiful park in Volgograd in a short time (from June 2013), for which the Volgograd city expresses its deep gratitude to Heydar Aliyev Foundation.
"This park will be a symbol of strengthening friendship between Russia and Azerbaijan," Kherianov said.
He recalled that there is the Baku Street in Volgograd and that during the Great Patriotic War Azerbaijanis fought heroically for Stalingrad, the present-day Volgograd city.
Head of Planning Department of the Presidential Directorate for Interregional and Cultural Relations with Foreign States, Valery Maksimov, said that the reconstruction of the park will bring lots of positive emotions to citizens.
"Opening of the park shows the aspiration of the two countries' leaders to development of friendly and strategic relations between Azerbaijan and Russia," he said.
Mayor of Volgograd city Irina Guseva said the leadership of the Volgograd region intends to erect a monument to the heroes of the Battle of Stalingrad in Baku.